When it comes to Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim, it’s hard to pick just a few must-see sights.
The entire canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder that can leave visitors feeling forever changed.
However, we’ve done our best to narrow down the absolute best views for you to experience during your visit.
From panoramic vistas to iconic viewpoints, the South Rim offers an array of stunning sights.
Whether you’re a hiker looking to explore the park’s trails or prefer to take in the views from the shuttle bus, there’s something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the best things to do, where to stay, and the top sights to see during your visit to Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim.
Viewpoints Along Desert View Drive
This scenic route stretches for 26 miles along the canyon’s rim, starting from Grand Canyon Village and ending at Desert View.
Along the way, you’ll come across several viewpoints that offer stunning panoramic views of the canyon.
Mather Point is one of the most popular viewpoints in the Grand Canyon National Park.
It is named after Stephen Mather, the park’s first superintendent.
The point is situated at an elevation of over 7,000 feet and offers a spectacular view of Phantom Ranch, located at the canyon’s base.
This viewpoint is perfect for first-time visitors to the park.
Yavapai Point is another popular viewpoint along Desert View Drive. It offers panoramic views of Havasupai Point to the west and Desert View to the east.
The Yavapai Observation Station provides visitors with a better understanding of the geologic story of the Grand Canyon.
The station has three-dimensional geological displays, interpretive panels, and photographs.
Yaki Point offers yet another spectacular view of the Grand Canyon from the south rim.
During peak tourism season, the Yaki Point Road and Kaibab Trail Parking Lot are closed to private vehicle traffic, and access is only by shuttle bus.
As the name suggests, Grandview Point offers a grand view of the Grand Canyon.
Situated at just below 7,500 feet, this viewpoint provides a stunning panoramic view of the canyon.
Visitors can see prominent buttes such as Rama Shrine, Krishna Shine, Vishnu Shrine, and Shiva Temple, as well as a tiny stretch of the Colorado River far below.
Visitors can enjoy views of the canyon directly south of Cape Royal, situated on the North Rim.
Lipan Point is accessed by taking a short spur road about a mile north of the main scenic drive along the South Rim.
This viewpoint offers a nearly 360-degree panorama of the Grand Canyon.
Desert View Watchtower
Constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower, the Desert View Watchtower commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east, and the San Francisco Peaks to the south.
Mary Colter, the architect, aimed to build a tower that would provide the widest possible view of the Grand Canyon while keeping harmony with its natural surroundings.
The tower is made of stone, and the interior walls feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.
Driving along Desert View Drive and stopping at these viewpoints is an unforgettable experience.
Each viewpoint offers a unique and breathtaking perspective of the Grand Canyon.
Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the beauty of this natural wonder.
Viewpoints in Grand Canyon Village
Here are some viewpoints to check out while you’re there:
- Mather Point: This popular viewpoint offers panoramic views of the canyon and is a great spot for sunrise or sunset photography.
- Yavapai Point: Yavapai Point is a great spot for stargazing at night. During the day, visitors can take advantage of the Yavapai Geology Museum to learn more about the canyon’s formation.
- Ooh Aah Point: This viewpoint is located along the South Kaibab Trail and offers a stunning view of the canyon. The trail is steep and challenging, but the view is worth it.
- Rim Trail: The Rim Trail is a flat, easy walk that stretches for 13 miles along the South Rim. It’s a great way to see multiple viewpoints and take in the beauty of the canyon.
- Lookout Studio: This small stone structure offers a unique perspective on the canyon. The balcony provides a stunning view of the Bright Angel Trailhead and Plateau Point.
- Geology Museum: Located at Yavapai Point, the Geology Museum offers interactive exhibits and displays about the canyon’s geology and history.
- El Tovar Hotel: This historic hotel offers stunning views of the canyon and is a great place to stay for those looking for a luxurious experience. The hotel features a fine dining room, lounge, and curio shop.
- Indian Garden: Located on the Bright Angel Trail, Indian Garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the canyon. It’s a great spot to rest and take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Viewpoints Along Hermit’s Road
The road was designed in 1934-35 by the Bureau of Public Roads and the National Park Service, and it is of significant historic importance.
From March through November, visitors can access this road by shuttle bus only.
While enjoying the shuttle ride, you can easily take in the stunning vistas that Hermit’s Road affords access to.
Some of the exceptional sights to include during your visit are Hopi, Maricopa, and Pima points.
One of the highlights of your trip will be taking in The Abyss, which drops some 3,000 feet.
From this vantage point, you can see the Tonto Plateau as well as the Colorado River far below. The name “The Abyss” truly does justice to the breathtaking view that awaits you.
As you continue your journey along Hermit’s Road, be sure to also visit other notable viewpoints such as Mohave Point, Shoshone Point, Monument Creek Vista, and Hermit’s Rest.
Each of these viewpoints offers its own unique perspective of the Grand Canyon and is definitely worth a stop.