One of the first thing we did in Grand Canyon National Park was the lookouts and activities along the Desert View Drive. This road has 6 official lookouts, a bunch of other pull outs for spectacular views, the Tusayan Ruins and museum, and at the end is the Desert View Watchtower. We explored everything the road has to offer in just over half a day.
The road is 100% accessible with your own vehicle which allowed us to have our ice chest and lunch at some pretty awesome lookouts. In addition to the pullouts and other sites, there are some picnic spots to stop at too.
Pullouts and Lookouts
The six official vistas and points are:
- Desert View
- Pipe Creek Vista
At the beginning of the Rim Trail that follows the Desert View Drive and Hermit’s Rest Trail, is Mather Point. It’s super close to the visitor’s center and offers fantastic views as well.
Desert View Watchtower
The Desert View Watchtower National Landmark is at the end of the 25 mile drive from the main visitor’s center. The views from the base, lookout deck, and the top are amazing and you can see panoramic views of the canyon and the Colorado River. The watchtower is seven stories tall with 85 steps to the top and along the way are painted wall murals you can follow all the way up the tower.
This area also has a gift shop, mini cafe, a small visitor’s center at the bottom, and bathrooms. It’s also a great spot for breakfast, lunch, and the sunset.
Tusayan Ruins and Museum
The ruins definitely aren’t much, but the coolest thing is that they’re about 800 year old ORIGINAL ruins. There is a super short trail to follow that takes you around the different sites along with a few signs to see along the path.
The museum is small but it shows you some old and awesome artifacts from the ancient Puebloan times.
The Desert View Drive was an awesome thing to do on our first day at Grand Canyon National Park. Check out my video below to see the highlights at the points, watchtower, and ruins: