This 70 feet tower perched on the South Rim was designed by Mary Colter in 1932. Colter was an American designer and an architect. The plan was to mimic the Anasazi watchtower which she used as an inspiration. She borrowed items from ruins to help build the tower. She had artists add old looking marks and murals on it.


  • The round observation room at the bottom of the tower.
    The round observation room at the bottom of the tower.
  • Fred Kabotie explaining the mural.
    Fred Kabotie explaining the mural.
  • The interior murals.
    The interior murals.
  • The tower gives amazing views of the Grand Canyon.
    The tower gives amazing views of the Grand Canyon.

Mary Colter was always interested in the Native American cultures that she began investigating ancient Puebloan ruins, and even dabbled in learning about the Hopi culture. Colter had spent six months doing research on archaeological prototypes as well as construction techniques before she built a model of the site. She used clay as a part of studying the design of the tower.

It is said that the Watchtower had a luxurious ceremony when it opened in May 1933. The observation room on the bottom level, provides the widest and most gorgeous view of the Grand Canyon. The interior of the tower consists of many circular balconies that are gained entry by stairways. The tower has several interior murals that were painted by Fred Kabotie. There is also an outdoor observation deck that is directly upstairs from the observation room.

This amazing tower is a tourist destination and also consists of a gift shop that can be visited on the bottom floor. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark and was also designated as the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. There is a market, gas station, and campground all within the area. All hours are based upon the season. Please check the National Park Service website for updates.

http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimviewpoints_desertviewwatchtower.html http://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/photosmultimedia/colter_wt_photos.htm http://scienceviews.com/parks/watchtower.html Photo Credits: http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_rimviewpoints_desertviewwatchtower.html https://rhcl.wordpress.com/tag/desert-view-watch-tower/ https://roadtrippers.com/places/555193/photos/0?lat=40.80972&lng=-96.67528&z=5