Our last day in Grand Canyon National Park was beautiful. After clouds, snow, and hail, we had bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies for our morning hike on the South Kaibab Trail and our mid-day cruise on Desert View Drive.
The East Entrance to the park is closed right now so this ended up being an out-and-back drive from Yaki Point Road to Desert View Watchtower so we could then exit the park via the South Entrance.
As we often like to do, we decided to drive straight to our turnaround point at the tower and then pull over at the six viewpoints on our more leisurely drive back. This worked well because unlike Hermit Road, you really can’t see much of the canyon from Desert View Drive.
We put on some tunes, and cruised down the road, and arrived at Desert View in the late morning. There were a surprising number of cars in the parking lot given that many of the services are closed due to COVID-19, including the tower, which you can usually climb.
We walked by all of the closed facilities, admiring a few of the murals along the way, until we came to the overlook area next to the tower.
I highly recommend checking out this spot for panoramic views of the canyon. It was unlike anything we had seen during our hikes and drive along the south rim – truly almost brought me to tears. In addition to an amazing palette of colors, this section of the canyon offers views of longer stretches of the Colorado River.
A very nice woman offered to take our picture so after we were safely distanced, we removed our masks and got an actual full-body shot of us on this trip!
I won’t recount our activities at every viewpoint along the road, but I do want to mention a few highlights:
- Navajo Point is the highest overlook on the South Rim and has views of the watchtower we had just visited! We pulled in here to have a picnic in our car as we looked out over the canyon = lovely.
- We only stopped for a moment at Lipan Point but did notice some whitewater on the Colorado River from this angle that we hadn’t seen before. I later learned that what we saw was Hance Rapid.
- At Grandview Point it was really busy – some jeep tours and lots of other people who were just kicking off their drive. We were able to overhear one of the guides talking about the very steep Grandview Trailhead, which used to be a mining route, and pointing out where one of the first hotels was located along the rim.
As we concluded our drive and headed out the South Entrance, we couldn’t believe the line of cars trying to enter the park for the afternoon. They went on for miles and miles. Go early, especially if it’s a beautiful day, and consider taking the time to trek out along Desert View Drive!
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