From the early morning hours till mid afternoon, the highest percentage of Grand Canyon tourists tend to congregate at the visitor center or Grand Canyon Village. The parking lots in this area are always full and it can seemingly take forever to gain access to the panoramic views along the Rim Trail. An alternative to playing the waiting game is to head elsewhere in this National Park to places where the big crowds have not made their way to as of yet. Desert View Drive offers 25 miles of picturesque Grand Canyon overlooks to choose from and during the peak tourism hours, this section of the National Park is rarely crowded. Best of all, the Desert View Watchtower is located at the end of the line next to the Grand Canyon National Park East Gate, so beating the traffic on the way out of the park is also easy to do too.
The Desert View Watchtower complex has a visitor center and a native cultural exhibit area, so plenty of browsing can be done in this place. The Desert View Watchtower was designed as a concession stand structure in the 1930s that offered premium views of the Grand Canyon. The architecture incorporates the ancient stone tower designs that the Pueblo People mastered long before the Europeans made their way out west. This stone and mortar tower definitely fits in with the Grand Canyon preservation theme and it certainly is an easy to recognize landmark.
Murals and Native American artifacts adorn the interior of the Desert View Watchtower, so a tour will definitely be an educational experience. Plenty of good information about the local tribes and the Grand Canyon environment can be found in this historic site. The Park Rangers host organized events at the Desert View Watchtower that are interesting to attend and the venue is listed at the park website. Native artisans, tribal dancers and western landscape painters are featured each week, so visitors can meet some of the famous local artists.
The grounds surrounding the Desert View Watchtower have been redesigned many times through the years in an effort to better accommodate visitors and campers looking to stock up on goods. A general store and trading post are located here, so shopping for unique Navajo, Zuni and Hopi works of art or jewelry to take home is easy to do. Many unique Southwestern food products can also be found on the store shelves, which includes a full line of Prickly Pear Cactus candies, syrups and jams.
The panoramic views of the Grand Canyon from the Desert View Watchtower are nothing less than spectacular! This area is where the Colorado River meets the Little Colorado River and this particular confluence is highly revered as a protected spiritual place. One look at this amazing landscape where the high desert plateau meets the deep canyon is literally enough to take the breath away!
What few visitors expect is to see is large wild animals while visiting the Grand Canyon, because they mistakenly picture this National Park as being a tame safe place. Mother Nature does have a way of throwing in an occasional surprise just to remind visitors about just how truly wild this vast wilderness really is. While exiting through the East Grand Canyon Gates, a few young Bull Elk decided to mosey along on the road. Needless to say, every car came to a complete stop and the cameras were all hanging out the windows. Capturing a good image of a wild Bull Elk after a great day in the Grand Canyon National Park is like the icing on the cake!
When touring the Grand Canyon National Park, the Desert View Watchtower simply is a must to experience! This old historic tower overlooks some of the most picturesque terrain in the entire west and this is also a great place to view a spectacular sunset. Great food and hospitality awaits just down the road at the Cameron Trading Post inside the Navajo Nation and the views are thrilling in the Little Colorado Gorge region too. The peaceful setting of the Desert View Watchtower certainly is like a sigh of relief when trying to escape from the big crowds and the views will inspire pleasant memories that last a lifetime!
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