SJ's Hike of the Week: Desert View Drive


Distance: 23 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes! Dogs are allowed on paved trails and viewpoints on the rim, just don't attempt to take them on trails leading down into the canyon.

Permit/Pass Required: It's $35 per car for a week. You can purchase in advance here.

Getting There: See Map

Tips: Go early. Not only will this ensure you beat the heat but the crowds. My pup and I went on a Monday morning at 7am and literally had the park to ourselves. I truly believe this is the best way to experience the grandeur of the canyon. Pack a lunch and wear comfortable footwear with good tread so you can wander along the rim at the viewpoints. Please stay on designated trails and don't get too close to the edge as the loose rock can be very slippery.

COVID-19 Info: The East Entrance was not open when we visited due to restrictions on tribal land. This means if you drive the 23 miles to the end, you must drive the 23 miles back rather than exiting through Cameron. The Desert Watchtower and Tusayan Ruins were also not open during our visit.

About the Drive: While hiking is a great way to see the Grand Canyon, not everyone wants to break out the hiking shoes and break a sweat on a hot Arizona summer day while traversing a canyon. Desert View Drive is a great way for the whole family (and the family dog) to see the Grand Canyon in all of its wonder in just a few hours - and avoid the crowds.

The scenic drive takes you along SR 64 from the Grand Canyon Village. Along the way you will find six scenic viewpoints to stop, stretch your legs, wander along the rim and take in the wondrous views of our Arizona's notoriety. Keep your eyes peeled for the four picnic areas to stop and eat lunch as well as five somewhat hidden pullouts that will give you a more natural view of the Canyon's depth (these are also the spots you won't find many humans who will ultimately end up photo-bombing your family pictures).

As the sun rises and sets in the sky, the canyon will change in front of you. Shadows cast new colors and create new views with every hour that passes. Take time to stop and read about the history and geology of the Grand Canyon's story. But most importantly, put the phone and the camera away for at least a little while, find a spot in solitude and take it all in. A place this big has a way of putting things into perspective...

Learn more about the viewpoints and drive HERE.