Desert View offers unique perspective from Grand Canyon South Rim

Like an oasis for travelers, the Desert View Visitor Center awaits people arriving at the Grand Canyon’s south rim from the Flagstaff and Four Corners regions.

Since Desert View is the first place to get a view of the canyon inside this section of the park after considerable time in the vehicle, it’s a great spot to stretch the legs, use the facilities and grab a refreshment or two.

Desert View highlights:

  • Grand Canyon National Park entrance post
  • Historic watchtower, viewing platform and walking trail
  • Grocery, souvenirs, and snack shops
  • Spacious parking for cars, buses and RVs
  • Clean, modern restrooms, seasonal campground and RV dump station


Desert View Watchtower
Historic watchtower designed by Mary Jan Colter was completed in 1932
Man on Grand Canyon Desert View lookout point
Stunning views of the Grand Canyon and points beyond

Make no mistake, Desert View is not just a rest stop. It’s actually one of the best vantage points for non-hikers to see the Colorado River as it winds through the canyon. Desert View is uniquely situated high above an elbow in the river, offering visitors spectacular views of the river as it gushes in from the north, before redirecting a virtual right angle to the west.

From the historic watchtower you can see cliffs known as Palisades of the Desert, which form the southeastern wall of Grand Canyon. If you follow those cliffs north to a significant rock outcropping, you’re looking at Comanche Point. Beyond Comanche Point, you can see the gorge carved by the Little Colorado River on clear days if you look closely. The flat, mesa-like hill to the east is Cedar Mountain.

Desert View Visitor Center Trail is a 0.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Ready to go? Here’s how to get there:


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