As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is an extremely popular destination for locals and tourists from around the world to visit. This magnanimous destination is so rich in beauty and history that it’s almost difficult to know where to begin when planning your visit. The Grand Canyon offers exceptional hiking, horseback riding and camping; but one of the most incredible ways to experience the Grand Canyon is to catch a sunrise or sunset with a hike to one of the many overlooks.
Imagine seeing the sun tip toe in from behind the mountains, gradually illuminating the huge canyon in a breathtaking display that comes to life more and more every minute – or watching the sun slowly rest its head while coloring the sky with shades of orange, pink, and purple allowing the extreme contours of the canyon to catch the final remaining rays of light. While there are numerous overlooks to experience the Grand Canyon from, there are three unique vantage points we highly recommend including in your visit.
First on our list is on Shoshone Point, which is possibly the best kept secret at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Shoshone Point has simply jaw-dropping views and provides a good amount of solitude without the crowds and without requiring a deep hike into the canyon. This overlook offers spectacular views and the hike is .5 to 2 miles in length with less than 200ft elevation gain. Other than the occasional wedding, this area is the least travelled area of the entire South Rim, which makes your visit so much more private. A small parking lot is visible beside the access road (trailhead start), which is gated to prevent vehicle entry. The parking lot is located on the north (left) side of the road, between mile markers 244 and 245 along East Rim Drive. During the winter months when snow is prevalent you can ski the trail to Shoshone Point. However, as you begin to reach the rim, remove your skis to prevent accidents at the canyon’s edge. Camping is not permitted and the hike back to your vehicle should begin before dark. Make sure you pack your camera so you can capture the stunning 180 degree views offering from this overlook point.
Next on our list is Lipan Point, which is one of the few places where you can see the Grand Canyon Supergroup of sedimentary rock formations. Lipan Point is located at the end of a short spur road north of Desert View Scenic Drive about 6 miles from the Desert View East Entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is located about 20 miles east of Grand Canyon Village. Lipan Point is just west of Navajo Point and the Watchtower at Desert View Overlook. Lipan Point also features the widest views of the canyon and the longest stretches of views of the Colorado River versus any other point at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The spacious panorama features many spires, buttes and temple formations that resemble ancient pyramids. Similar to Shoshone Point, Lipan Point is also less crowded versus other lookout points and offers the feeling of serenity and solitude with nature, and a must see when visiting the Grand Canyon.
The final overlook on our list is the fantastic Hopi Point located along Hermit Drive. This overlook skirts the Grand Canyon rim west of Grand Canyon Village. You can walk to Hopi Point along the Rim Trail, it’s about a two-mile walk from the start of Hermit Drive, and as a bonus you will pass several good viewpoints along the way. Hopi Point is located on the northernmost spot on this part of the south rim, and the first point where much more of the western Grand Canyon comes into full perspective Because of the wide-ranging, unobstructed views, Hopi Point is one of the most popular viewpoints for watching the sunset and sunrise because of its wide vistas. In addition to the stunning views from this overlook, you will also be able to catch a glance of the Colorado River to top off your Grand Canyon experience.