15 Best Places to Watch The Grand Canyon Sunset

15 Best Places to Watch The Grand Canyon Sunset

Anyone will agree that no matter where you may be, sunset and sunrise are the two most romantic moments of the day. It is the moment when the Grand Canyon stratosphere practically bursts with beautiful hues of red, orange, and pink, adding more glamour to the view.

And there's no better place to watch them than at the Grand Canyon National Park.

Jaw-dropping and epic are not enough to describe the wonderful sunrise and sunset here, which you get to watch standing on the edge of the mighty Grand Canyon. And while the best cameras can capture the view pretty well, no camera can capture the view as perfectly as watching it personally across the Canyon.

It's no wonder a visit to the majestic canyon just to watch its fantastic sunrise and sunset is on most people's bucket lists.

However, while both the North and South Rim are accessible from opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, most tourists opt to visit the South Rim to experience this wonderful view. It's because, unlike the North Rim that closes in winter, the South and West Rim are open all year round.

Besides, they are accessible from the many popular tourist destinations like Phoenix, Williams, and Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, there are many vantage points to choose from to watch the sun setting and rising that it's impractical to write about all of them here. It's why we have compiled a list of the 15 best places to watch the Grand Canyon sunset to help make it easier for you to plan your trip.

Best places to see the Grand Canyon Sunrise / Sunset

Best places to see the Grand Canyon Sunrise and Sunset

Sunset is that time of the day when the sun brings the Grand Canyon to life with its vivid color, unique shadows, and dancing light. The Canyon takes only a few minutes to transform from a bright hue of orange to a somber pink color and then a striking purple. It happens as the setting sun casts its colors and shade across the canyon's many peaks, crevasses, and valleys.

Most people end up either snapping pictures as quickly as their shutter-speed permits or just standing still with their jaws open, watching the unfolding of Nature's overwhelming magnificence. However, the show is only for a few minutes, ending when the sun disappears behind the plateau and makes the Grand Canyon National Park dark again.

So you must reach your chosen lookout point on time so that you don't miss seeing the sunset. The good news is that there are multiple viewpoints to consider for watching the sun setting like Desert View Drive, Navajo point, Mather Point, and Yaki Point.

Here is a bit of each vantage point, including which spots are the most crowded, how and when you can avoid the crowd, and how you can reach them.

1. Mather Point in South Rim

Mather Point

This is undoubtedly 'the place' to visit to watch the sunset at Grand Canyon South Rim. Mather Point Overlook offers multiple significant viewing points on a peninsula that juts into the Canyon.

The only drawback of this Grand Canyon South Rim viewpoint is that it is so famous that it is always packed with tourists. So if you prefer enjoying the sunset in solitude, or are a professional photographer vying to capture iconic photographs without human interference, then this may not be your preferred spot.

However, if you have no qualms about the crowds, this is the best place to view the beautiful sunset.

2. Rim East of Mather Point

If you seek some privacy to enjoy the sunset, we suggest turning right when you reach the Rim. You will find multiple small openings and rocky paths leading to small outcrops. Most secluded spots will be free if you arrive early enough. If not, go walking towards the sun, and you will find a free place.

3. Yavapai Point

Yavapai Point

Yavapai Point is one of those multiple points that burst into the Canyon with a fenced-off area. But as a fenced-off spur point, there aren't many secluded areas available. So we recommend early arrival to ensure you get a prime spot. The landscape here is no doubt stunning and fantastic and worth the effort.

4. Yaki Point

Yaki Point

Yaki Point is another fantastic sunset viewpoint boasting spectacular views and jaw-dropping canyon formations below. You can also see the famous South Kaibab trail below with the sun rising over to your right.

Yaki Point is a comparatively quieter viewpoint but needs a much earlier start. Besides, the road to Yaki Point is closed to vehicles, except the regular park shuttle.

5. Hopi Point

Hopi Point offers the perfect view of the sun going down behind the canyon edges. It provides the ideal angle to capture photos of the sun setting and the Canyon transforming into a cooling darkening chasm.

However, we must warn you that this view makes it the most crowded place at sunset. So we recommend you leave well in advance if you plan to watch the evening there, especially during the summer.

6. Mohave Point and Pima Point

The view from Mohave and Pima Points is much better than Hopi Point because you even get a clear view of the majestic Colorado River flowing down below you. Besides, a drive along Desert View Drive offers expansive views like Navajo and Desert View. We recommend taking a jeep tour to ensure you don't miss the sunset.

7. Hermit Road Drive

The Hermit Road Drive is the most popular route in the park spanning seven miles along the canyon rim, offering numerous viewpoints. You can take your own vehicle if visiting between December and the end of February.

However, you must use the park shuttle busses if you visit between March 1st to November 30th. These shuttle services operate every 10 to 15 minutes, with stops at nine overlooks offering great vantage canyon points. You get some of the best views from Maricopa Point, Hopi Point, Pima Point, and the Abyss.

8. Lipan Point

Lipan Point offers spectacular views of Colorado and is a popular spot with birders. It provides the most direct route across the Canyon for migrating birds for its narrow section on their flight path. The site of hawks, falcons, eagles and the occasional California Condor flying past the canyon is a sight to behold to any ardent bird enthusiast.

9. Grandview Point

Grandview Point

Grandview Point is one of the highest Grand Canyon South Rim lookouts, with a hiking trail leading down a steep descent. It's a tenuous hike with a practically vertical drop on an unmaintained trail we recommend only for severe hikers.

10. Moran Point

Moran Point is a highlight from other viewpoints, thanks to the beautiful view over the Colorado River. We especially enjoy this viewpoint because of the myriad of colors you get to see spread across the canyon walls.

11. Pima Point

Pima Point is the perfect sunset location for those to watch the Canyon in full view, who want to watch the sunset without the crowds of Hopi Point.

12. Desert View

Many know that the 22-mile Desert View Drive is as beautiful as the Hermit Road drive. It's mainly because the industry brings an exciting view of the Colorado River, which you can admire through multiple stops in the journey. You even get to view the whitewater rapids and the river flowing through the Canyon from Desert View Point.

13. Grand Canyon North Rim and West Rim

It's not just the South Rim that offers a spectacular view of the sunrise at Grand Canyon National Park. Even the North and West Rim both provide some awe-inspiring views.

However, the only problem is that it's not open in winter, which means you need a car to reach the North Rim as there is no car service. While there are multiple spots to watch the sun rising along the north-western coastal route, Cape Royal is undoubtedly the best spot.

14. Bright Angel Hiking Trail

Bright Angel Hiking Trail

The Bright Angel trail is the most popular of the many hiking trails in the Canyon. It departs from the village and si a long 19-mile hike that many need two days to complete. However, the incredible views you get to experience make the hike well worth it.

15. Lookout Studio and the Kolb Gallery

The Lookout Studio and Kolb Gallery are perched along the Grand Canyon Village Historic District canyon wall. The traditionally stone-designed Mary Jane Colter Buildings resemble a ruin and houses the Lookout Studio. The Studio is famous for its souvenirs and trinkets and the two outdoor viewing decks looking over the Grand Canyon that offer a spectacular view.

The Kolb Gallery is a dark brown, historic Victorian home just a short walk and a short distance from the Studio. It was built in 1905 by the Kolb brothers, the park's famous early adventurers.

Grand Canyon: Sunrise or Sunset? Which offers a Better Experience?


This is a commonly asked question by most people visiting the Canyon. However, there is no clear or straightforward answer as each person has their own opinion as both are amazing spectacles with their authentic and vibrant colors.

We suggest making an overnight stay in the Canyon by setting up camp at the Bright Angel campground to get a better perspective of the sunrise and sunset. So you can watch while the sun rises and sets to decide which is the better of the two.

Many factors impact your decision, like the ease of access, the reason for your visit, the timings, logistics, and if you want an early start or late finish to your day.

Few things, however, aren't within your control but will affect both the sunset and sunrise like:

  • The position and angle of the sun at sunrise and sunset
  • What time of the day and year do you make your visit
  • The canyon temperatures
  • Quality of air in the Canyon like if it's cloudy, hazy, or misty

The nights are usually cooler, so you will end up with pictures that look less vivid. However, it can also get rather windy at night, making it pretty cold to watch the sunset over the Canyon.

Reaching the Best Vantage Points from Grand Canyon Village

Here's how you can easily access most of the sunset viewpoints from Grand Canyon Village. While you generally need a car to reach most spots, there are free shuttle bus services to some areas. We generally recommend using the shuttle services in summer to get to your viewpoints.

They anyway function from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset.

The added benefit is that you don't have to worry about looking for parking spaces with a shuttle service. We remind you that there are limited parking spaces in all these viewpoints. And while it's relatively easier to find a spot at dawn, it's not so easy when the sunsets.

  • You can reach Kaibab Rim near the South Kaibab Trailhead using public transportation, like the Orange Route from the visitor center. The orange line has stops at Yaki Point, Mather Point, and Pipe Creek Vista.
  • The Red Line shuttle service has nine viewpoint stops where the main ones are Pima, Powell, Mohave, Maricopa, and Hopi Points. However, this bus only plies on the routes from March 1st to November 30th. So unless snow blocks the roads, you can travel to these viewpoints by car without shuttle service.
  • Driving the entire Desert View Drive stretch lets you reach some of the most spectacular viewpoints of the Canyon like Grandview Point, Desert View Watchtower, and Duck on a Rock VIewpoint. There, however, are no shuttle services exclusively to Desert View Drive. You will have to take your car or rent one to reach it.

How to plan for your Grand Canyon sunrise and sunset road trip

Sunset planning

It is easier to prepare for a sunset trip than a sunrise trip because it's easier to include a sunset in a Grand Canyon day trip itinerary. All you have to do is go hiking in the morning to the center/east of the Grand Canyon national park and head to the Western part of the South Rim to see the sunset.

While you can drive your vehicle to reach the sunset viewpoints along Hermit Road in the winter months, you can go to the viewpoints only through shuttle for the rest of the year.

We recommend taking the Red Route or Hermit Road shuttle to reach Hopi, Mohave, or Lipan points. It's better to arrive early at the shuttle stop so that you get the first few buses and will reach the vantage point on time to watch the sunset.

After waiting so long to watch this spectacular sunset, the last thing you want to happen is to end up with your camera blocked by people sitting right in front of you, on the cliff edge.

Here's a pro tip we have to offer:

Everyone will practically go rushing for the bus once the sun sets and disappears. However, we recommend you stay a bit longer and don't be in a rush. You will get to watch the amazing colors in the sky. besides, get a bit of space to relax. It's just a quick drive from Las Vegas to see it in all these places.

Sunrise planning at the Grand Canyon National Park

It isn't easy planning a sunrise trip.

You not only have to wake up early and on time, but you need to make appropriate accommodation bookings. It's because if you don't stay in the campground or a nearby hotel, you may end up staying someplace that's a thirty-minute to one-hour drive from the lookout. So you will have to get up even earlier to ensure you reach the lookout point on time to watch the sunrise.

Alternatively, you can drive down and park at the main visitor center parking lot, close to most central sunrise locations. While you can also park on Desert View Drive and walk to Yaki Point, it's a 1-mile hike. So you will have to be ready, and give yourself an extra half hour to reach on time to watch the sun rising.


Now that you know about the top places to visit to get an excellent view of the spectacular Grand Canyon sunset, it's time for you to plan your trip. This is where we at Advantage Grand Canyon can help.

We can help create the perfect itinerary for your trip, right from flying into Las Vegas to trying out the multiple activities the canyon has to offer and your hotel stay.

Contact Advantage Grand Canyon for all your Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trips. Search all top 15 outfitters right here!


Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions