We spent the day at Sedona and took the two-hour drive down to the South Rim. The drive was stunning in itself but also offers many sightseeing spots en route. But the real wonder comes when you enter the gates and witness the majesty of the canyons. There is nothing more surreal and breathtaking than your first time looking out at the Grand Canyon
We first stopped @ Mather Point. Here, I was in complete awe of the constantly changing colors and the breathtaking rugged landscapes. Standing at the edge of the south rim and looking out at the intense intimidating depth, I felt an electric pull to its vastness.
From Mather Point, we made our way to the South Kaibab trailhead. From here, we planned to hike about a mile of the trail to Ooh Aah Point and then turn around. Even at just a few feet below the canyon walls, the view was amazing. As we kept descending, I was completely baffled as the walls began to tower around us. And before we realized, we reached the ooh-aah point.
We took the Hermit Road drive shuttle next. This route offers the best views of Grand Canyon’s most famous scenic vistas including Hopi Point, Pima Point, and Hermits Rest. Hermit’s road connects with the relatively flat Rim Trail giving you the option to wander along the rim at your own pace and get back on the bus when you’re ready.
Hermits Rest built in 1914 and designed by architect Mary Colter, Hermit’s Rest was originally built as a rest area for tourists on coaches operated by the Fred Harvey Company who were traveling to the now-vanished Hermit Camp. Located at the western end of Hermit Road, the structure was built to resemble an old miner’s cabin or hermit’s hideaway.
Pima Point overlooks 40 miles of rugged canyonlands, from Bright Angel Canyon to the east to Powell Plateau and the Great Scenic Divide to the west. The scenic overlook is one of the best places to see and sometimes hear the Colorado River. The splash and grind of Granite Rapids below can be heard echoing up the canyon walls on quiet days.
At the small Monument Creek Vista, you can look over the edge of the canyon and see the Monument Creek joining the Colorado River to create some pretty violent rapids. Monument Creek Vista also marks the start of the Greenway Trail.
Unlike other scenic viewpoints along Hermit Road, The Abyss doesn’t protrude out into the canyon. It is a steep hollow indented in the canyon walls that drops vertically almost 3,000 feet into the Grand Canyon to the Redwall Formation.
Mohave Point boasts several small overlooks clustered together and wondrous views of sandstone mesas, the Colorado River, and the nearly 3,000-foot tall vertical cliffs that make up The Abyss between Mohave Point and Pima Point.
Hopi Point is the point along Hermit Road. It sticks out farther north into the canyon than any other scenic viewpoint on the Grand Canyon and offers the most amazing views on the South Rim. From Hopi Point, you can see Dana Butte 2000 feet below the overlook, the Shiva Temple, and Zoroaster Temple formations, as well as Isis Temple, Horus Temple, and Osiris Temple on the North Rim.
Powell Point off Hermit Road features spectacular and colorful panoramic canyon views. You can also see the Powell Memorial here, which honors the pioneering Grand Canyon explorer John Wesley Powell, who led the first recorded journey down the Colorado River in 1869, and again in 1871-1872.
At Maricopa Point, the edge of the canyon sticks out about 100 feet to form a narrow promontory that offers breathtaking 180-degree panoramic views of the Grand Canyon. From this viewpoint, you can see the majestic Battleship formation, a portion of the Tonto Trail snaking around Horn Creek and Dana Butte, and parts of the Bright Angel Trail at Garden Creek.
With multiple sets of stairs leading to two large observation platforms, The Trailview Overlook offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon Village, the Bright Angel Trail, and the canyon below. From the overlook, you can see the Bright Angel Trail switchbacking down the canyon and tiny specs that are the hikers making their way up or down the trail.
The last stop on the route is at Desert View Watchtower. Climb the steps up the Desert WatchTower and you’ll get a very visual reminder that you’re standing firmly on volcanic terrain. On a clear day, you could see well over 100 miles out into the canyon
My heart and memories are forever marked with this place and the desire to go back. The Grand Canyon was definitely one of the highlights and most enjoyable stops of our Phoenix to Vegas road trip!