The Best Ways to See the Grand Canyon

There is no single “Best View of Grand Canyon” award when there are so many great places to observe this American landmark. Whether you visit the South Rim, North Rim or Grand Canyon West, there are easily accessible Grand Canyon viewpoints at each location. However, some spectacular views can only be seen by hiking into the Canyon or rafting along the Colorado River.

One of the best ways to see every great Grand Canyon viewpoint is to go on a tour. Bus and Jeep tours journey to all of the best spots, while helicopter and airplane tours provide dazzling birds-eye views. Keep reading to find out which viewing spots to add to your travel itinerary, and learn where you can enjoy Grand Canyon views right from your hotel room.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon Skywalk at Grand Canyon West is one of the most exciting ways to catch unparalleled canyon views. Located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, visitors can “walk the sky” 4,000 feet above the canyon floor on the famed glass-bottom bridge.

Grand Canyon Skywalk price points vary according to the package amenities you add, such as a meal, ziplining, aerial or river tours. Prices start at $69 per person for a Skywalk ticket/Hualapai legacy day combination pass. Grand Canyon West is open every day of the year from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from November to March, and the last ticket of the day is sold at 4:30 p.m.

Grand Canyon Skywalk tickets should be purchased online ahead of time to guarantee availability. Note that the Hualapai Indian Reservation does not participate in Daylight Savings Time. Make sure to leave early enough to be on time for your scheduled tours. Note that there is no Grand Canyon Skywalk address to enter into your GPS. Directions are available on the Grand Canyon West website or by calling (888) 868-WEST or (928) 769-2636.

South Rim Viewpoints

The South Rim has 20 viewpoint areas, and many are good places to watch the colorful canyon sunrises and sunsets. When planning what to see in the Grand Canyon, try to include as many of the following popular South Rim viewpoints as possible.

Mather Point

Mather Point, a short walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, is usually the first place where visitors gaze over the rim into the Canyon. This Grand Canyon lookout is a great place to return in the evening to view the sunset. After enjoying a daytime view from Mather Point, head east to Yaki Point or follow the Rim Trail west to connect to Yavapai Point. Yavapai provides the best way to see deep inside the Canyon without venturing down into it.

Desert View

Desert View at Grand Canyon offers unique views that include the flat plains of the Painted Desert to the east. If you climb the 85 steps to the top of the Desert View watchtower, you can see a full 360-degree view of the Canyon. Early morning photography is particularly beautiful at Desert View due to the way the soft morning light casts shadows on the rock formations.

If you are up for a long, moderately difficult hike, make your next Grand Canyon sightseeing stop Comanche Point. It offers good views in all directions, including clear views of a nine-mile stretch of the Colorado River.

Moran Point

Located along East Rim Drive, Moran Point allows you to see the white water breaking at Hakatai Rapids. It also offers clear views of the Red Canyon. It is a famous point for sunset viewing due to a sinking ship illusion that occurs on the rock formations as the sun goes down.

North Rim Viewpoints

North Rim Grand Canyon sites for viewing include ten named points. However, the two most popular are Bright Angel Point and Cape Royal.

Bright Angel is the easiest overlook to reach, but it requires walking up a somewhat steep 0.4 mile path to the viewing area. Cape Royal is the southernmost of the North Rim Grand Canyon viewpoints and offers the widest panorama of any canyon overlook. Angels Window natural arch is best viewed here.

Grand Canyon Views from the Air and Water

There is nothing quite like a Grand Canyon aerial view from a helicopter or plane. Airplane, helicopter and river tours are available at each rim and Grand Canyon West. Tours are offered by independent companies and prices will vary according to the length of the tour, points covered and amenities received.

Views that Require a Hike

When exploring the Grand Canyon on foot, include as many views as you have time to see. In addition to Comanche Point, the following Grand Canyon viewpoints require you to follow a trail to get there. There are dozens of other hiking trails not listed, but rest assured that every trail has its own stunning canyon and river views.

  • Yuma Point: This secluded location can be reached via day hike, but only by expert-level hikers.
  • Zuni Point: No signs point the way to Zuni point, but its Red Canyon views are stunning. It is easily reachable via a half-mile walk through the woods between mile posts 257 and 258.
  • Grandview Point: The narrow trail is steep at times and starts along Desert View Drive. The reward is a fantastic view of Horseshoe Mesa.

Grand Canyon Hotels with a View

Grand Canyon hotels with a view exist, but you must stay inside Grand Canyon National Park to get the best hotel room views. Bright Angel Lodge and its nearby Lookout Studio are situated to provide panoramic canyon views, while Phantom Ranch Dorms and Cabins are located at the bottom of the Canyon and are only accessible by hikers or mule riders.

Reservations for canyon view accommodations fill up quickly, so try to reserve your room as soon as possible. The following Grand Canyon National Park lodges are either within the canyon or just a few steps from its edge:

  • Bright Angel Lodge and Cabins
  • Phantom Ranch Dorms and Cabins
  • Maswik Lodge
  • Thunderbird Lodge
  • Kachina Lodge
  • El Tovar Hotel