Desert View Drive
Day tours departing from Flagstaff, Sedona, and Las Vegas often incorporate multiple canyon activities—including a trip along Desert View Drive—into their itinerary. As well as making photo stops at Desert View Drive’s roadside canyon overlooks, some tours venture to other attractions in the region too. Choose a tour that incorporates a screening at the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater, or one that includes visits to nearby beauty spots and historical attractions, such as the hollowed-out Sunset Crater and the Hopi and Zuni ruins of Wupatki National Monument.
Things to know before you go
- Desert View Drive is ideal for time-tight travelers and those looking to avoid busier parts of the park.
- Gas stations can be found at Desert View and in Tusayan, about 6.5 miles (10.5 kilometers) south of Grand Canyon Village.
- Though you could drive from one end of Desert View Drive to the other in a little over an hour, you’ll want to allow at least a half-day so you can pull up, picnic, and sightsee at your leisure.
- Restrooms and vault toilets can be found at several locations along the route, including Desert View parking lot, Tusayan Ruins and Museum, Grandview Point, and Buggelyn picnic area.
How to get there
Desert View Drives begins east of Grand Canyon Village and ends near the Grand Canyon National Park’s east entrance. The route is part of Highway 64. Shuttle buses do not run along most of Desert View Drive, so you’ll need to drive or go as part of an organized tour.
When to get there
The South Rim is usually open year-round, though there may be occasional road closures in winter. Though Desert View Drive is less crowded than Grand Canyon Village, it can still be busy during the summer, spring break, and vacation periods. Plan your trip so that you arrive in Grand Canal Village later in the afternoon (after 4pm) to beat the big crowds.
Highlights of Desert View Drive
Highlights include Grandview Point—which offers a seemingly endless panorama of red-rock buttes, ravines, peaks, and escarpments—as well as being an access point to Grandview Trail, which drops sharply down into the canyon. Other common stop-off points include the Tusayan Ruins, which hold the partially excavated ruins of an Ancestral Puebloan village; and the 1932-built Desert View Watchtower—with narrow slat windows that frame views of the canyon, the Colorado River, Navajo Nation, and San Francisco Peaks.