21/02/2024 8:29 AM

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14 Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints – North & South Rim

14 Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints - North & South Rim

See the Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints, hike to the most spellbinding vistas, and witness sunrise or sunset over one of the most dramatic natural locations on Earth. Here is our guide to the best viewpoints of the Grand Canyon.  

Cut by the mighty Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is one of the most remarkable landscapes in the world.  

Intricately sculpted into peaks, buttes, gorges, and ravines; horizontal layers of rich red and brown rock rise and fall like waves on an ocean. 

Stretching along a 278-mile section of the Colorado River and extending up to 18 miles wide at its maximum width, even the best Grand Canyon viewpoints capture only a slither of this colossal act of nature.

While all the Grand Canyon overlooks put on a stunning show, many are similar. So, it makes sense to pick ones that offer something different and see views of the canyon in all its different forms.

Our list of the best Grand Canyon’s viewpoints not only includes all the iconic lookouts on the north and south rim, but also the best sights from day walks into the canyon.

Booking your trip via the links on this page (or on our book page) will earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support – Paul & Mark.

best grand canyon overlooks and viewpoints

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

BEST VIEWPOINTS AT THE GRAND CANYON

This guide to the best Grand Canyon viewpoints is split into the different viewing areas on both the north and the south rim.

We’ve included the best scenic overlooks plus well-positioned lodges and great views from great hikes.

Use the navigation or scroll down to read all about the best Grand Canyon lookouts

BEST GRAND CANYON VIEWPOINTS MAP

We have split the Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints into five sections. The first four are all at Grand Canyon South Rim, the last is at Grand Canyon North Rim.

Grand Canyon South Rim Viewpoints

  • Hermits Rest Route – Marked in red and usually only accessible by bus or bike
  • Grand Canyon Village – Marked in blue and dotted about the village
  • Kaibab Rim Route – Marked in orange and near the Visitor Centre
  • Desert View Road – Marked in purple and accessible by self-drive

Grand Canyon North Rim Viewpoints – Marked in brown

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


HERMITS ROAD SCENIC OVERLOOKS

Just west of Grand Canyon Village on the south rim, Hermit’s Road has three of the best viewpoints overlooking the Grand Canyon.

1 – PIMA POINT

Pima Point is a wonderful viewpoint on a promontory overlooking the canyon. A stretch of the Colorado River is visible amongst the deep gash of the canyon and on quiet days, the Granite Rapids can be heard echoing around the canyon walls.

2 – MOHAVE POINT

Mohave Point provides a great view of the Colorado River as it cuts through the canyon deep below. The buttes and mesas are striking, and if you look carefully, you can see the white water as it surges over Salt Creek, Granite, and Hermit rapids.

Sunset – Mohave Point is one of the best spots on the Grand Canyon for sunset.

3 – HOPI POINT & POWELL POINT

Hopi Point and Powell Point are close together with similar views. Only a smaller section of river is visible, but with a superb location on the end of a promontory, both overlooks provide excellent views in all directions.

At Powell Point check out the memorial that commemorates Major John Wesley Powell’s first exploratory trips down the Grand Canyon.

Sunrise & Sunset – Hopi Point and Powell Point are both excellent locations for sunrise and sunset.

HOW TO VISIT THE HERMAN’S REST VIEWPOINTS?

BY CAR

Hermit Road is only open to private vehicles during December, January, and February when the shuttle bus is not running. Outside of these months, the viewpoints can only be accessed by the free shuttle bus, or by walking or taking a bike.

HERMIT’S ROAD BUS (RED LINE)

A free bus – Hermits Rest Route Bus (red line) – runs from Grand Canyon Village along the route and back again.

To see these three best lookouts, we recommend taking the bus to Powell Point, then walking on to Hopi Point and Mohave Point (1.3 miles | 30 minutes).

At Mohave Point get back on the bus to Pima Point, take in the views, and then get the bus back to Grand Canyon Village.

Total time – Allow 3-4 hours.

Other Hermit’s Road viewpoints – There are a few more lookouts along the road: Hermits Rest, The Abyss, Maricopa Point, and Trailview Overlook

hopi point south rim grand canyon
Hopi Point, South Rim

GRAND CANYON VILLAGE VIEWPOINTS

Grand Canyon Village is tucked back on the south rim and so the views over the canyon are less expansive, but there are two good reasons to take in the views here.

Firstly, there are some superb old buildings perched on the canyon rim and, secondly, the views from top of the Bright Angel Trail, which leaves from the village, are excellent.

4 – GRAND CANYON VILLAGE

Stroll along the Grand Canyon South Rim trail in Grand Canyon Village and you’ll pass some wonderful old buildings perched on the edge of the canyon.

Kolb Art Gallery is a wooden building that appears to literally hang over the canyon and Mary Colters Lookout Studio or “The Lookout” is constructed in beautiful stonework that blends into the canyon.

lookout studio grand canyon village
Lookout Studio, Grand Canyon Village

5 – TOP OF THE BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL

The Bright Angel Trail descends over 4,000 feet from Grand Canyon Village to Phantom Ranch on the edge of the Colorado River.

Standing at the trailhead you see the little dirt track disappear in front of you. It makes for a mesmerizing sight and one of the best Grand Canyon viewpoints.

TIP | BRIGHT ANGEL VIEWS


Walk down the Bright Angel Trail for 10-15 minutes passing through a small tunnel. From here you can get a great view of the switchbacks on the trail as it descends the canyon.

6 – PLATEAU POINT

With the Colorado River cutting its way through a wild desert landscape thousands of feet below the rim it is not easy to get close-up views.

The best way is to hike the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point where a wonderful lookout peers over the river about 1,300 feet below and the canyon walls rise all around you. The walk can be completed in a day, but it’s a long one.

DETAILS | PLATEAU POINT HIKE


distance – 12.2-mile round trip

elevation – 3,195 feet

difficulty – strenuous

duration – allow 7 – 9 hours

KAIBAB SOUTH RIM VIEWPOINTS

The Grand Canyon Visitors Centre, just east of Grand Canyon Village, has 2 excellent viewpoints nearby that are well worth checking out.

7 – MATHER POINT

Mather Point faces northeast making it a great spot for sunrise photography. You can take photos towards the sun before dawn, and then towards the canyon behind you when the sun has cleared the horizon.

Look carefully and you can see Old Phantom Ranch set by the river at the bottom of the canyon.

How to get there? – Mather Point is a 10-minute walk from the large car park next to the Grand Canyon Visitors center.

8 – YAKI POINT & OOH AAH POINT

Just east of the visitor centre, Yaki Point is another fine viewpoint perched over the Grand Canyon. No private cars are allowed here so it is often quieter than other viewpoints.

After soaking up the views at Yaki Point, we highly recommend trying one of the best hikes in the Grand Canyon, the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. If you only do one (shortish) walk into the canyon, make it this one.

South Kaibab Trailhead – The hike leaves from just south of the Yaki Lookout. (10-minute walk)

Route Description – A series of steep switchbacks drops to a very easy-to-follow trail that traverses under the canyon wall to Ooh Aah Point. The views from here are sensational. Not only can you see the trail continuing over red rock into the canyon, but you also have the experience of being surrounded by the canyon walls.  

Duration – The return hike takes about 90 minutes to 2 hours and the last uphill section is a slog, but it’s well worth the effort.

Total Descent – The trail descends 600 feet from the trailhead down to Ooh Aah Point, so save the energy for the hike back up.

Distance – 1.6-mile round trip.

Getting to the South Kaibab trailhead by bus – Take the Kaibab South Rim bus (orange line) that runs between Mather Point, the Visitors Centre, and Yaki Point.

South Kaibab by car – Private vehicles cannot be driven to Yaki Point or the South Kaibab Trailhead, but you can park on the road at Pine Creek Vista and walk to the trailhead (0.9 miles | 20 minutes).

DESERT VIEW ROAD SOUTH RIM

The Desert View Road heads along the south rim east of Grand Canyon Village.

The road is open to private vehicles and driving yourself and stopping at each of the parking lots and pull-outs is the best way to see all the viewpoints.  

The total drive is 22 miles and takes about 30 minutes each way but allow 3 hours with all the stops. 

9 – SHOSHONE POINT

Shoshone Point is hands down our favorite Grand Canyon Viewpoint. Not advertised by the authorities and often missing on maps, it is a peaceful and serene location with views in all directions.

Due to its stunning location, Shoshone Point is becoming a hot destination for weddings. On our visit, one couple were taking their vows, and another were back to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.  

It’s a 20-minute walk from the parking lot through the Kaibab Forest to the lookout. Keep your eyes out for elk.

10 – LIPAN POINT

With some of the widest and most expansive views of the Grand Canyon from the south rim, Lipan Point is well worth a stop. To the west, the Colorado River can be seen cutting a swathe in the rock as it heads into the inner gorge, to the east, it looks gentler as it makes a big loop in a wide valley.

Lipan Point is another great spot for sunrise and sunset.

lipan point grand canyon south rim
Lipan Point

11 – DESERT VIEW

What makes Desert View one of the best views in the Grand Canyon is the stone watchtower that stands guard on its edge. Also known as the Indian Watchtower, this 70-foot circular turret contrast with the jagged buttes and gorges of the canyon below.

Facilities – Desert view has a café so you can grab a coffee and an ice cream to soak up the superb views.  

Other Desert View Road Viewpoints – There are several other viewpoints along the Desert View Road: Grandview Point, Moran Point, and Navajo Point

GRAND CANYON NORTH RIM VIEWPOINTS

It’s a 4-hour drive between the Grand Canyon North Rim and South Rim viewpoints.

For your first time visiting the Grand Canyon, we’d suggest sticking to the South Rim – there are more facilities and more viewpoints. 

But if you have a bit more time the North Rim is well worth a visit.  

12 – BRIGHT ANGEL POINT

Bright Angel Point is at the end of a narrow spit of rock that juts out into the canyon. Walking there, as the canyon drops precipitously on either side, feels like an adventure. The views are great too and it’s only a five-minute walk from Grand Canyon Lodge.

bright angel point lookout grand canyon north rim
Bright Angel Point, North Rim

13 – GRAND CANYON LODGE

The Grand Canyon Lodge sits right on the canyon rim. The old institution has excellent viewpoints from the outdoor balcony and from the indoor dining room with huge windows overlooking the Grand Canyon. Nowhere else can you sit in such relaxed splendour and absorb some of the best Grand Canyon views.  

Main Dining Room – With these views, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a long lunch. Bookings in advance are recommended – book here.  

Grand Canyon Lodge Balcony – The views from the balcony are sensational, only made better by supping on a pint from the Roughrider Saloon.

TIP | STAR GAZING AT THE GRAND CANYON


Making efforts to minimize light pollution, Grand Canyon Lodge has dark nights to enjoy starry skies. After sunrise, stay out to witness one of the greatest shows over the Grand Canyon.

14 – CAPE ROYAL POINT

The best Grand Canyon Viewpoint on the North Rim is Cape Royal Point. The overlook sits above a great natural arch called Angel’s Window and has far-reaching views over the northern part of the canyon.

Other North Rim Viewpoints

There are several other viewpoints near the Grand Canyon Lodge on the north rim: Imperial Point, Walhalla Overlook, & Roosevelt Point

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