Saturday, March 14, 2009

Exploring Desert View & The Watchtower, Grand Canyon, Arizona

About a 30 minute drive east from centrally-located Grand Canyon Village is the area knows as Desert View, which is where not only can you see the spectacular “beginning” views of the eastern side of the Grand Canyon, you can also see the Painted Desert as well as the famous Watchtower.

After enjoying and appreciating the different views the east side has to offer, we entered the Watchtower, which was designed by architect Mary Colter (who also designed Hopi House, Phantom Ranch, Hermit's Rest, to name a few). The outside structure of the Watchtower is stone, and meant to mimic the Pre-historic Puebloian people’s towers (formerly know as Anastazi, as we learned at a Ranger talk) and is five stories tall.

Once inside the tower (which you can get to via the NPS gift store), there are stairs (thus not wheelchair accessible) to the very top. As we climbed the stairs, the tower slowly got a bit smaller in circumference. Each level was open in the center, thus allowing a view of the colorful ceiling - the walls were adorned with reproductions of petroglyphs and pictographs – and windows on every level allowed for magnificent views.

Also at Desert View you’ll find a bookstore, information center, restrooms, a small dining/grocery area, a gas station and a seasonal (mid-May opening) campground.

This is a great way to spend a few hours, even if you aren’t able to climb in the Watchtower, since the views are different than what you can see from the Village, and to see the level land of the Painted Desert just “drop-off” and see the edge of the Grand Canyon – that in itself was fascinating.

1 comment:

Jerry and Suzy said...

On one of our recent trips to the Grand Canyon we visited Desert View and the Watchtower. Suzy patrolled the grounds while I climbed the tower. We found some beautiful jackets for sale in the gift shop; every time we wear them we get appreciative comments from friends and strangers alike.

Thanks for reminding us of the Watchtower!

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