Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
Yes
Guided tours
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Even though it’s one of many viewpoints on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Watchtower is worth checking out if traveling in from the east because of the history and amenities.

Built in 1932, the red rocks of the tower stand in stark contrast to the blue sky, but they blend in with the surrounding materials of the canyon. The style of the watchtower is based on the ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau and was designed by master architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. Colter designed many of the other buildings in the park, such as the Hopi House and Phantom Ranch, which is still in use today. She drew inspiration from the landscape, and it shines through her work.

The tower is open to the public year round. On the ground level is a bookstore and an information desk staffed by a park ranger. Visitors can climb the 85 steps to the top for a panoramic view of the canyon and surrounding environment. The reflectoscopes provide a unique perspective of the landscape. The inside is covered with paintings and artwork telling stories of the area. It’s a great place to get out of the elements without losing the views. Check the National Park Service for current hours of operation and tour offerings.

Desert View is located about 25 miles east of the main Grand Canyon Village, close to the east entrance of the park. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, large parking areas for cars and RVs, a gas station, a market, a snack bar, and a few gift shops. There is also a seasonal campground nearby.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Pros

Amazing views. Easy access. Open year round.

Cons

Crowded.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

ADA accessible
Covered picnic areas
Historically significant
Family friendly
Geologically significant
Guided tours
Native artifacts
Big vistas
Picnic tables
Flushing toilets

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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