As one might imagine, watching the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, a United Nations-dubbed World Heritage Site, is nothing short of amazing. Coming in at about 2,000 square miles, the Grand Canyon is truly massive. It’s so big, in fact, that watching the sunrise in one section of the canyon is oftentimes a completely different experience than watching it from another area. Why? The Grand Canyon has a huge variety of terrains and biomes. You can find desert, forest, plateaus, plains, lava flows, cinder cones, waterfalls, streams, and white-water rivers. Oftentimes, the question that people find themselves asking are: “To which area of the canyon should I explore first?”
Naturally, each individual might offer a different spot depending on their taste. But for pragmatic reasons, most people find themselves at the South Rim for their first sunrise at the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is easily accessible and open all year round. On the other hand, the North Rim is only open seasonally. And the West Rim is essentially a tourist trap where you find activities like the Skywalk (i.e. a glass bridge), boat tours, wagon and helicopter rides, a Native American village replica with live performances, etc. The West Rim is fun, but if you want to see the Grand Canyon in all of its natural glory, the South Rim is the place to go.
“Where is the most beautiful place to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon?”
The top 5 best places to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon are the following (from west to east):
- Lipan Point.
Yavapai is fantastic because you can watch the sunrise from a big natural ledge. It has no guard rail, which allows you to take superior pictures. But don’t worry—there are many safe places to stand or sit to enjoy the beauty!
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t quite like to sit for too long, well, then, hands down the best place to wander while watching the sunrise is along the Rim Trail. For this venture, park your car at Yavapai point. Then slowly make your way eastward along the Rim Trail for about one mile towards Mather Point. (You’ll want to go to Mather Point anyway—it’s another excellent lookout spot.) It’s not called the “Rim Trail” for nothing. Most of it is literally along the edge of the canyon. Fear not. It’s a smooth walkway and has a protective guard rail. Even people who have been known to be afraid of heights didn’t feel discomfort along this trail. Although, if you’re afraid of heights, possibly avoid the ledge at Yavapai as the view can be scarier.
Start Your Grand Canyon Exploration at Lipan or Moran Point
If you are closer to the east entrance of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, start at Lipan Point (i.e. the point closest to you) or Moran Point. If you have binoculars, be sure to bring those, too! At Lipan, you can see an awesome view of the Colorado River running through the canyon. Watching the sun rise there over the river is breathtaking! Moran is a smaller version that has fewer parking spaces.
Whichever point you choose, it is strongly recommended to arrive at that point a full 30 minutes before the sunrise because that’s when the beautiful spectacle in the sky begins. As the sun comes up, you’ll witness a full spectrum of color in the sky just above where the sun meets the canyon. Soon afterwards, you’ll see beautiful colors and shadows throughout!
Eventually Venture Over to Grandview Point!
The only point which hasn’t yet been mentioned is the one that’s in the dead center of the South Rim: Grandview Point! Over one hundred years ago, this was the first point in the park that was open to the public. An entrepreneur built a hotel there (which is unfortunately long gone now) and brought tourists by carriage all the way from Flagstaff, Arizona. One can imagine just how treacherous that ride would have been! But despite the hazard and trouble, I guarantee that upon watching the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, the site’s first visitors uttered the same thing that everyone else does to this day: “Worth it.”
Looking for a 2 Day Grand Canyon Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon? MaxTour is a great option based in Las Vegas. They also have Mandarin speaking tour guides for those visiting from Chinese speaking countries! Read more on my other post here.