South Rim: Desert View Drive in the Grand Canyon
Spectacular views on this scenic road will have you stopping often for photos.
Hugging the South Rim for 25-miles, Desert View connects a half dozen scenic overlooks en route to the park’s east entrance. Private vehicles are allowed year-round; public park shuttle only goes as far a Yaki Point.
Yavapai Geology Museum
Located at Yavapai point, this observation station offers educational information about the canyon’s geologic story. Facility includes a Grand Canyon Association bookstore, restrooms and drinking water. Open daily 8 a.m. to sunset.
Extending along the South Rim from Grand Canyon Village, this paved path is one mile between Yavapai Point and Grand Canyon Visitor Center (closed to bicycles). The 2.2-mile paved path running east of the Visitor Center to South Kaibab Trail is open to bicycles.
From Grand Canyon Village Market Plaza, this multi-use paved path leads to Grand Canyon Visitor Center (one mile) or to Yavapai Point (.5 mile).
From Grandview Point, the Grandview Trail drops 2,600 feet in elevation as it descends to Horseshoe Mesa– a steep 3 mile trip (one way) and an excellent day hike (no water).
New Hance Trailhead
This unsigned trailhead is located about one mile west of Moran Point (park at the point) and marked by a no parking sign along the north side of the road. This 6.5-mile trail is a difficult rim to river route with no water until it reaches the mouth of Red Canyon and Hance Rapid on the Colorado River.
Tusayan Ruins and Museum
Learn about the Grand Canyon’s ancient human history by touring the remains of a pueblo community dating back to 1100 A.D. Adjoining the site is a museum with more archaeological displays and artifacts found in Grand Canyon including split twig figures that are 4,000 years old. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Starting on the road east of Lipan Point (park at the point), this 9-mile unmaintained rim to river trail offers challenge and solitude for experienced backpackers. There is no water except at the river where hikers can camp next to the roar of Tanner Rapid.
Located on the Rim Trail next to Yavapai Geology Museum, this vantage point offers views down into Bright Angel Canyon; those with sharp vision can see Phantom Ranch at canyon bottom.
Located next to Grand Canyon Visitor Center, this is a good place for day visitors to park their vehicle, get oriented and hop a shuttle or walk/bike the Rim Trail to other locations.
Looking out onto a spectacular view, this open-air facility at Grand Canyon Visitor Center is the site of ranger talks and other seasonal programs.
Pipe Creek Vista
Escape the crowds at Mather Point by walking 1.3 miles along the Rim Trail to this vantage point and shuttle stop.
Closed to private vehicles, Yaki Point is a quiet promontory with sweeping vistas. Restrooms and picnic tables are available. The South Kaibab Trailhead is located on the road to Yaki Point, which is also the eastern terminus of the Rim Trail. Accessible year-round by park shuttle including a direct Hiker’s Express.
Located 1.2 miles east of Yaki Point at an unsigned parking lot on the north side of Desert View Drive, this quiet vista is reached with a one mile hike down a gated dirt road.
Location of the Grandview Trailhead, this overlook was the site of a hotel in the late 1800s that boasted the best views of the canyon.
Buggeln Picnic Area
Restrooms make this a good pit stop along Desert View Drive but it is exposed to traffic. For a quiet picnic choose Yaki or Shoshone points instead.
Named after famous landscape artist Thomas Moran who spent every winter in the Grand Canyon from 1899 to 1920.
An excellent sunset vantage point, from here you can watch the changing colors of Palisades of the Desert cliffs and see the Colorado River far below.
Enjoy more views of the Colorado River from here.
Desert View Watchtower
Built in 1932, this 70-foot tall tower is the highest vantage point on the South Rim.Open daily 8 a.m. – 30 minutes before sunset.
Desert View Marketplace
This East Entrance shopping hub includes a convenience-store grocery selection, gas station, snack bar and gift shop. Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. summer; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. winter.
Desert View Campground
Desert View Campground offers camping that feels more remote than the Mather Campground, which is located in the heart of the South Rim.
You will get a park map when you enter the park at one of the entrance stations. But if you want to get a lay of the land of the east side of the park, Trails Illustrated makes a map of the east side that you can purchase at REI.com.