Arizona,  Northern Arizona

Desert View Drive: The Grand Canyon Watchtower

For a little less congestion drive east on Desert View Drive for the next 23-miles. The free shuttle buses do not come this way, so if you want to see the east side of the canyon you’ll need a car. This side of the canyon, in my opinion, is better because there are less people.

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Desert View Drive Sights on the way to the Grand Canyon Watchtower

  • Yaki Point
  • Grandview Point
  • Moran Point
  • Tusayan Ruin and Museum
  • Lipan Point
  • Navajo Point
  • Desert View Point & Desert View Watchtower

Yaki Point

The one and only point on Desert View Drive that can be accessed via the Grand Canyon shuttle. For all of the other points on this road you will need a vehicle.

Yaki Point Grand Canyon
Yaki Point

Tusayan Ruin

The Tusayan Ruin and Museum offers you a glimpse of how the Pueblo Indians lived some 800 years ago. It is on the National Historic Registry.

tusayan ruins grand canyon

Lipan Point

Driving further east from the Tusayan the next stop is Lipan Point. We had a great view of the Colorado River from this point.

Navajo Point

Just before you reach the Watchtower stop at Navajo Point to get a view of the tower you won’t see up close.

Navajo Point grand canyon watchtower

Desert View Point and Grand Canyon Watchtower

The Grand Canyon Watchtower is found at Desert View Point and is a pretty cool building to explore. You enter through a gift shop and make your way up four flights of stairs to the top. Each floor is circular with petroglyph drawings on the walls and windows to view the canyon.

When visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona be sure to take the drive and tour the watch tower. Mary Colter designed the watch tower to offer visitors “the widest possible view of the Grand Canyon.” It was built by Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe Railroad and opened to the public in 1933.

Exploring the Watchtower at the Grand Canyon

grand canyon watchtower
The Watchtower

The Watch Tower is at Desert View Point on the east side of the Grand Canyon. If you are already in the area, don’t miss touring this neat historical tower.

The paths are wide leading to the watch tower and you have wonderful views from both inside and outside of the Grand Canyon. You will make your way past the bathrooms and general store to your right.

The Watch Tower is attached to a gift shop. Walk into the gift shop and up the stairs to view the inside of the watch tower. Inside the tower you’ll find four sets of winding stairs that each lead to a circular room with views of the canyon. A short climb up 85 stairs you’ll find yourself on the observation deck with 365 degree views of the Grand Canyon.

grand canyon watchtower stairs

Views From the Tower

If you veer to the left off the first flight of stairs you will come to a rooftop with a great view of the canyon.

In the middle of each floor is a cutout circle, so you can view all of the floors from above. The sides of this circle shows petroglyphs. Each floor has different paintings on the wall. At 7,522 feet, the elevation from the fourth floor of the Watch Tower is the highest on the South Rim.

grand canyon watchtower

There are however several high power binoculars and huge window glass to take in the view. It is overlooking Desert View Point. If you choose to continue walking down the pathway instead of entering the watch tower, you will have a fantastic views from Desert View Point. For those who say the Colorado River is always muddy, this photo shows it is really blue sometimes. This photo was taken in the month of May.

Desert View vantage point gives visitors an expansive view of the landscape. You can easily see the Colorado River  from this vantage point. From this vantage point you will have a fantastic view of Cedar Point Mesa and of the Painted Desert

Cedar Point