The Watchtower

Grand Canyon Watchtower view

The Watchtower has an internal steel framework designed by the bridge builders of the Santa Fe Railway

When I first saw the Grand Canyon Watchtower I thought it to be an ancient structure that had been restored. But no, the Watchtower was constructed in 1932 and opened in May 1933. Architect Mary Colter designed the tower and took care of every detail, even down to the placement of most of the stones, leaving weathered faces untouched to add to the ancient appearance of the tower. She said:

“First and most important, was to design a building that would become part of its surroundings; one that would create no discordant note against the time eroded walls of this promontory.”

The 70-foot Watchtower, a National Historic Landmark, is located at Desert View, the eastern-most developed area on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The design takes its influences from the architecture of the ancestral Puebloan people. There is a gift store, with the upper floors utilized as observation decks for views of the canyon and the Painted Desert.

Grand Canyon Watchtower trees

The top floor of the tower is without decoration which might detract from the beautiful panoramic views of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Watchtower and Colorado River

From the Watchtower is a magnificent view of the Colorado River

Desert View, named after the views to the east of the Painted Desert, has a grand view of the Colorado River, the North Rim can been seen more than 10 miles away, and a on a clear day a panoramic view is visible for over 100 miles.
Grand Canyon Watchtower mural

The first gallery, on the first landing, was done by Fred Kabotie, a Hopi from second Mesa

Grand Canyon Watchtower paintingGrand Canyon Watchtower artGrand Canyon Watchtower

Watchtower Family Photographs

Click on the links to view the family pictures shot at the Watchtower.

  • Jake on the top floor
  • Paul outside the Watchtower
  • Jill on the deck of the Watchtower


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