Any view of The Grand will be a spectacular view, but most visitors want to be sure their itinerary includes all of the best stops. Use this guide to see the best Grand Canyon overlooks.
What is the best viewpoint of the Grand Canyon?
This is the million dollar question of any trip to an awe-inspiring place. Our family definitely wants to know we have seen the very best parts of our destination, and certainly this is true at the Grand Canyon.
Mather Point is the best Grand Canyon overlook, particularly at sunrise. You may find more unique or specialized views than Mather Point, but the beautiful scene together with its accessibility for all ages puts this viewpoint at the top of the list.
Is North or South Rim Grand Canyon better?
The answer to this question depends on several variables, such as travel personalities, hiking experience, and time available. Some visitors prefer to arrive easily to an area and have access to beautiful views and plenty of restaurants, hotels, and activities right away. If that is your travel personality, you might prefer to stick to the South Rim. Others enjoy the challenge of getting to hard to reach spaces and the quiet of less tourism. If that is you, perhaps you should plan to visit the North Rim. Experienced hikers are more likely to head to the North Rim, as the views require more hiking. Some hikers prefer to hike TO the North Rim, rather than drive. Other visitors may opt for the South Rim, where hikes are less demanding and views are more accessible. Due to this accessibility, the South Rim is popular for folks who want to see the Grand Canyon but have a time limitation or simply don’t want to spend the extra time getting to the North Rim.
What Are the Best Grand Canyon Overlooks?
I am listing here the best Grand Canyon overlooks and experiences, particularly for first-time visitors. On your first visit, make your own list of spots you want to return to in the future and new places you want to explore.
Located on the South Rim, Yavapai Point, together with Mather Point, mentioned above as the very best, are the most accessible and popular Grand Canyon overlooks. Yavapai Point has a great geology museum and gift shop, and is close to places to eat and stay. This is a wonderfully accessible spot to watch the sunset.
Desert View Watchtower
Desert View Watchtower, also located on the South Rim, offers a uniquely wide and panoramic view of The Grand Canyon. A spectacular view of the bend in the Colorado River is available from the top. This tower, made of stone and featuring murals on the inside, is 70 feet tall, making it the highest point on the South Rim.
Shoshone Point is a quieter, lesser known spot, making it one of the best Grand Canyon overlooks if you’re looking to avoid the crowd a bit. The trailhead is less than a ten minute drive from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim, and then it’s an easy hike to Shoshone Point. While the hike is easy, there are no railings, so it is dangerous for children.
On the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Guano Point, located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, boasts perhaps the most dramatic view of the Grand Canyon. The trail to get there, Highpoint Hike, has no railings, so take precautions. While at the West Rim, you can also walk the glass Skywalk, visit the gift shops, and learn the history of this particular area of the Grand Canyon.
If you’re looking for a day hike, take the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point. It begins just west of Bright Angel Lodge. There are great views all along the trail, so you don’t have to hike all the way to Plateau Point to make it worth your while. This trail is not for everyone, though. Take water, and plan for the hike up to take twice as long as the hike down.
At the North Rim, Cape Royal boasts a spectacular view and is close to a road as well. It’s the widest panoramic view anywhere at the Grand Canyon. If you don’t mind a walk through the forest, check out Honan Point on the North Rim, which boasts incredible views of much of the South Rim.
Before you finish planning your trip be sure to check out our list of mistakes at the south rim.