Points to Ponder – Top Ten Lookout Points Of the Grand Canyon
Updated Feb 24, 2020
A room with a view. A view to die for. A bird’s eye view. Different point-of-view. For your viewing pleasure – That’s a lot of views up there. But which one is the best? How about combining them all into one? The Grand Canyon is choc-a-bloc with lookout points that let you gaze upon its magnificence. But which are the ones the leave you filled with an omnipresent sense of awe; of childlike wonder and a sense that the world is so much bigger than our own little bubbles? Which are the lookout points that truly make you ponder? Let us help you on your quest, for here are a few Grand Canyon Attractions that will create “quite the scene”, if you can pardon our pun.
Standing tall at 7,400 feet (2250 meters), Grandview Point is one of the highest points on the South Rim. This is a lookout point for the adventurous, for the narrow trails leading up to the summit can be quite treacherous especially when there is precipitation. But on account of its elevation, there are some truly magnificent views of the Canyon, overlooking dense forests and the Horeshoe Mesa.
Head east to the Yaki Point, the first marked view point on the East Rim. Get an unobstructed glimpse the east side of Grand Canyon. If you are looking to experience the full splendor of Yaki Point, venture out on the South Kaibab Trail which descends to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. Encounter the “Ooh-Aah Point”, a location that is sure to elicit a few exclamations from the most discerning of hikers. Get a gander at Wotan’s Throne and Vishnu Temple, both popular Grand Canyon Sights.
For heart-hy and rustic views, head to the lookout studio. Perched at the Canyon’s edge near Bright Angel Lodge in the South Rim, The lookout Studio provides plenty of photo opportunities of the endless photo ops of the panoramic vistas which lie ahead. The Mary Coulter designed natural building now operations as an observation point which doubles up as a gift shop.
From the South Rim, look down onto to the serpentine Colorado River and spot the Phantom Ranch. This popular lookout point offers views of the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails as well. For a closer look into the canyons various Geological delights, there is an array of observation scopes places along the rim. What’s more, the Yavapai Observation Station is loaded with informative tidbits and has a well-stocked bookstore to boot. Some of the best vistas of the inner canyon, the Colorado River, and Bright Angel Canyon are viewed from here. Yavapai Point is definitely one of the top things to do in Grand Canyon.
Along the South Rim is a point where you can get unobstructed views of two prominent pinnacles – Vishnu Temple and Temple of Zoroaster. Excellent for viewing sunsets, this lookout points affords a view of almost quarter of the entire Grand Canyon.
Moran Point gives you fantastic views of the Red Canyon. Further along, you can glimpse on the swirling waters of the Hakatai Rapids, a famous stretch of white water. Make sure you lookout for the Sinking Ship, a fascinating geological formation which appears to do just that when silhouetted against the setting sun.
The Desert View and Watchtower are structures built by Mary Colter way back in 1932, which almost seem to blend into the landscape. With its natural architecture, the tower blends in beautifully with the backdrop and provides fantastic views of the River, The San Francisco Peaks and the Painted Desert. Catch the river bend on itself as it turns west from the southern-oriented Marble Canyon section.
Vermilion Cliffs – Marble Canyon:
Further across the Desert View point is Marble Canyon, part of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Watch swirling ripples of dynamic color transform the thousand foot cliffs, daubing brush strokes of orange, vermillion, red and purple as the sun sets.
Looking to catch the first rays of the sun as it illuminates the vermillion landscape of the canyon? Then head to Point Imperial, named so for the almost regal views that it provides. Overlooking the eastern Grand Canyon and Painted Desert, this viewpoint is the highest on the North Rim overlooks Point Imperial and is a great spot for the shutterbugs as well as zealous hikers to capture the sun as it awakes.
What’s great about this point is its amazing package deal – View a spectacular sunset, a winding Colorado River, the inner Gorge with its interesting geological layers, and the Grand Canyon Supergroup – a collection of mesmerizing sedimentary rock formations. It can’t get better than this.
In case you’re ever visiting the Grand Canyon and want to capture a great sunrise, check out a couple of these articles for some guidance.
Photos from the NPS. Used under the Creative Commons.