Scenic Drives

Scenic Grand Canyon Drives

Here are some fantastic scenic drives right inside Grand Canyon national park, whether you're in a private vehicle or a shuttle bus.

Desert View: East Rim (along the South Rim)

Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National Park
Sunset at Desert View Point in Grand Canyon National ParkDeposit Photos

The Desert View Drive (otherwise known as the East Rim Drive) leaves Grand Canyon Village and follows the canyon rim east for 26 miles to Desert View. The views are breathtaking, making this one of the most scenic driving opportunities inside Grand Canyon National Park. Here visitors will enjoy outstanding views of most of the Grand Canyon’s central region.

We recommend you stop and stretch your legs while getting your breath taken away at various overlooks along this scenic drive, including Grandview Point, Yaki Point, Moran Point and Lipan Point. 

The end of this scenic drive is marked by Desert Watchtower, a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower that was constructed in 1932. The 70-foot-high tower is the highest point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and as a result, commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon, including the Painted Desert to the east and the San Francisco Peaks to the south. And if that’s not enough to intrigue you, the interior walls of the tower feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.

Hermit’s Road: West Rim (along the South Rim)

Biking on Hermit Road. Photo by Elisabeth Kwak
Elisabeth Kwak

From March through November, this road is closed to private vehicles, but shuttle buses service the area, so hop on a shuttle. It’s worth the time to tour and experience Hermit’s Road! (Private vehicles are allowed along this route from Dec. 1-Feb. 28.) With nine scenic overlooks providing stunning Grand Canyon and Colorado River views, Hermit’s Road is a scenic drive to include on your travel itinerary. 

This scenic drive, which was constructed in1912 by the Santa Fe Company as a scenic tour route, starts at Grand Canyon Village and continues west for eight miles before arriving at Hermit’s Rest. A little over halfway into the drive, be sure to stop at The Abyss, a 3,000-foot dramatic drop to the Tonto Platform.

Kaibab Plateau: North Rim

The North Rim of Grand Canyon is situated 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim, at 8,000 feet. As a result, it’s open and accessible only part of the year, from mid-May through mid-October. The Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway, which links Jacob Lake, AZ, to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim is a fairly scenic route. Visitors will travel through pine, fir, and aspen trees of the Kaibab National Forest as your curiosity piques in anticipation of the large natural abyss that awaits you on the North Rim.