Have you seen any photographic sunsets lately? You probably haven’t seen a sunset at the Grand Canyon. Many of them are quite remarkable, unforgettable sunsets. The Grand Canyon has an incredible stage for setting the sunset scene. Here are ten great places to view the sunset on the Grand Canyon South Rim:
1. Hopi Point. Hopi Point is my first choice for viewing amazing sunsets at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Hopi Point gives one of the best panoramic views of the area, allowing you to see the sunset from the most angles. Hopi Point can only be reached by bus or by walking, as cars are not allowed on Hermit Road. How do you find Hopi Point? Go to the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim and take a shuttle bus on the Hermit’s Rest route. They generally go every twenty minutes or so or more often, so they’re easy to catch. Last one generally stops shortly after sunset. Hopi Point is west of the Grand Canyon village for those who choose to walk.
2. Mohave Point. Mohave Point is where I caught my most recent sunset while at the Grand Canyon South Rim this past year in 2013. What’s nice about Mohave Point is that you can walk along the rim and see the sunset from different points. The other advantage is that the bus goes directly back to the area of the Grand Canyon Village (whereas with Hopi, you have to go west first and then head back east). This is useful for those staying at the Bright Angel Lodge or El Tovar Hotel.
3. Desert View. Desert view is near the East entrance to the park, but is still considered part of the South Rim. If you were to look at the Grand Canyon National Park, it would be the eastern most point of the park that still is on the south side of the Canyon, that has road access. You can access this sunset viewing point by car or bus. If you take the car option, you can enter the park at the East Entrance or at the South Entrance and then head east onto Desert View Drive. It takes a little over a half an hour to reach Desert View from Grand Canyon Village. This is also one of my favorites because there is a gift shop, a grocery type market, a snack bar which serves hot soup and sandwiches, and a monument that you can go inside and see views of the sunset from the top. The best part of this viewing location is that you get a decent view of the Colorado River from this point at the same time.
4. Hermit’s Rest. Hermit’s rest is the western most stop inside the Grand Canyon National park that can be reached by bus. Although car access is restricted other than in December through February, you can always get here by bus. Just make sure to catch the last one of the day back to civilization, or you’ll have a long walk ahead! It takes about a half an hour to reach this destination from the Grand Canyon Village area on public transportation or by car. The nice thing about this sunset destination is that there is a gift shop with food served. I like to choose this sunset spot as my last stop so I can grab something to eat and head out to the gorgeous sunset view.
5. Grand Canyon Village, where you can also find El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge and the other hotels for the Grand Canyon South Rim. This sunset spot is easy to access, because there is plenty of parking nearby. Car access is generally always available, so you don’t have to rely on the buses. You’ll find plenty of dining spots that don’t close 9 pm, so you can have dinner after the sun goes down in the fall, spring or winter. There are also a couple of places that serve alcohol and bar food after 9 pm, such as Bright Angel Lodge’s bar.
6. Trail View Overlook. Here, you can get a nice view of the South Rim hotels. You will be looking somewhat southward, but you can also see behind you for a view of the west. This is a great place to get a shot of the hotels in your sunset picture. Enjoy this spot with a nice walk of about 20 minutes from the Bright Angel Lodge and other South Rim hotels in that area. Trail View Overlook is a little over a mile from Bright Angel Lodge.
7. Monument Creek Vista. This viewing point is more South than many of the others, so that you can panoramically see two other points to the east and west-Pima Point and Mohave Point. This way, you get a panorama of the southern rim of the canyon.
8. Yaki Point. Yaki Point sunsets offer a view westward because Yaki point is on the western tip of one of the ridges that jut out from the South Rim. Perhaps you’ll see a deer or other wildlife while catching a photographic moment.
Enjoying the sunsets on the South Rim can be spectacular. You never know what you’ll see next. Your pictures will include incredible scenery with the varied colors of the setting sun. You might be lucky enough to catch a storm filled sunset, where you’ll often find colorful cloud formations in the sun. Or, on a clear day you might see quite far into the distance. On the rare occasion, you might even see a rainbow on the edge of the North Rim as the rain clears from a storm and the sun shines through. Whatever the case, many sunsets at the Grand Canyon South Rim are unforgettable.