Visit the Desert View Watchtower

Added by Edward Webb

Visit the Desert View Watchtower see a design from the Ancestral Puebloans. Don't forget to catch the view of the Grand Canyon at the top of the 70-foot structure.

While not a replica of any known watchtower along the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Watchtower is an art installation to honor the Hopi Native Americans. The watchtower was designed by Mary Colter, the same woman responsible for the Bright Angel Lodge renovations in 1935. Much of the painting within the tower was done by Fred Kabotie, a Hopi from second Mesa with the ceiling images done by Fred Geary.

Going up into the Desert View Watchtower is completely free. In the tower you will be able to see the unique combination of Native American and Euro-American symbolism which serves as an example of how cultural groups have interacted in areas such as the Grand Canyon. 

The tower also boasts some amazing views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. The panoramic views atop the 70-foot structure are worth the trip to the top, even on a busy day.

Don't forget to stay and photograph a sunset while you're here!

A more detailed history of the Watchtower can be found here thanks to the National Park Service.

Friendly reminder: the road to the Desert View Watchtower is open year round, but the park sometimes closes the road due to snow. 

Read More


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 


🥇Top Contributor

5 months ago

Art and history mixed together

A cool part of the park that has a significant architectural building perched at the rim. Can get crowded.

🥈 Contributor

over 1 year ago

Amazing views of the Grand Canyon

This was the first stop we made upon arriving to the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. The views from here are absolutely amazing, the edge is safeguarded and friendly for all ages, wheelchair accessible and there are food and souvenir options. This stop does get crowded - the watchtower gets backed up with people going up the stairs to the various lookouts. I recommend you check out another viewpoint if this one is backed up.

Stay Nearby

Grand Canyon Village, Arizona

Mather Campground

Overview Mather Campground is located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. Grand Canyon is one of the most inspiring landscapes on Earth and draws over five million v...

North Rim, Arizona

North Rim Campground

Overview The North Rim Campground is located on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. The canyon's rustic and less populated North Rim is home to abundant wildlife, hikin...

Grand Canyon Village, Arizona

Ten X Campground

Overview Perhaps the biggest draw to Ten-X Campground in northern Arizona is its proximity to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Located just 4 miles south of the park entrance in beautif...

Grand Canyon Village, Arizona

Hull Cabin

Overview Located just steps away from the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park, Hull Cabin is the oldest historic structure in the area. It provides a variety of amenities, as well as access to ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Photograph a Grand Canyon Sunset at the Desert View Watchtower

    25 miles east of the Grand Canyon Visitor's Center is Desert View, here you will find the Desert View Watchtower and plenty of space to set up a tripod to photograph the sunset. Make sure to arrive early to get a good spot, even though this locati...

  • Camp at Desert View Campground

    There are three campgrounds on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Two, Mather Campground and Desert View Campground are run by the National Park Service. Trailer Village is a privately-run RV park located in Grand Canyon Village. If you ...

  • Photograph Desert View Watchtower

    Desert View Watchtower is a 70-foot high stone tower located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Once you cross into the park through the east entrance look for the sign for Desert View, it's the first real lookout point in the park and there is...

  • Capturing the Monsoons in Grand Canyon NP

    Being in the right place at the right time is the biggest challenge when attempting to photograph the monsoons at the Grand Canyon. Paying careful attention to the weather patterns throughout the day can help, but your best bet is to watch the clo...