Desert View Drive offers stunning views of the Grand Canyon

Located in Coconino County, in the north-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona, Desert View Drive is a highly scenic road that leads into the central part of the Grand Canyon.

Desert View Drive

How long is Desert View Drive?

Desert View Drive (part of Arizona State Route 64) is fully paved, spanning 23 miles (37 km) from one mile east of Grand Canyon Village to the Desert View Services Area and the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Despite its misleading name, this scenic drive offers unparalleled views of the Grand Canyon rather than generic desert views.

Is Desert View Drive open?

The road tops out at 2,289m (7,509ft) above sea level but is usually open year-round. It weaves through ponderosa pine forests with stunning peek-a-boo views along the way. The best views, however, are at the signed overlooks, which require you to turn off the main road and park along the canyon’s rim. Built in 1931 to appeal to an increasing number of visitors arriving by car, this route is a visual delight, showcasing the beauty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Hugging the rim of one of America’s most epic natural wonders, the road leads to several scenic pullouts and viewpoints.

Is Desert View worth it?

Located in Grand Canyon National Park, the road is extremely scenic, passing by many points of interest and trails. It leads into the central part of the Grand Canyon, running right next to the eastern part of the Grand Canyon, and offers several spots for you to stop and get spectacular views of the canyon. It features marvelous panoramic views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. There is parking at every viewpoint. Be sure to bring enough food and water for everyone in your group. Desert View Drive hugs the South Rim and boasts some of the most spectacular clifftop scenes in the region. Most of them have available parking right next to the scenic overlooks, making this a great option for families and folks who don’t want to do much hiking.

How long does it take to do Desert View Drive?

To complete the drive without stops will take about 25-30 minutes, but plan about 3-4 hours if you stop along the way to take in the sights. The drive features six developed canyon viewpoints, four picnic areas, and five unmarked pullouts. Keep in mind that Grand Canyon shuttle buses do not travel on Desert View Drive, so you will have to drive yourself. Over 5 million tourists visit the Grand Canyon every year, and most pack the Grand Canyon Village at the Canyon's west end.