Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park
Moran Point is a popular viewpoint in the Grand Canyon National Park that is known for its fantastic photos of the canyon during both sunrise and sunset. It is located on the canyon’s South Rim and only a few miles east of Grand Canyon Village. This particular viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Canyon and is one of the most visited views on the South Rim of the canyon.
This particular viewpoint is named after Thomas Moran, who was a 19th century artist that painted many famous landscapes of the American West, including many of the Grand Canyon.
Getting to Moran Point
The main entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is the South Entrance, along Route 64, which runs north from the towns of Williams and Tusayan. Here, you enter the park in the area known as the Grand Canyon Village.
Entrance to the park is not free. There are currently no timed reservations like at some other popular National Parks, but at the time of this writing, there is a $35 fee for a 7-day vehicle entrance pass.
The Grand Canyon Village is the main hub of the park, and where Bright Angel and El Tavar Hotels sit, as well as the main visitor center and walkway that stretches along the canyon’s edge. From this entrance, Moran Point is about 18 miles (29 km) east along Route 64, which is also known as Desert View Road or East Rim Drive.
The GPS Coordinates of Moran Point: 36.003988, -111.924084 (Google Maps Link)
Moran Point Parking
Moran Point has a parking lot for visitors. The lot is paved and has a few dozen parking slots for cars and a few more for buses. The parking area can fill up quickly during peak tourist season between June-September, so beware if you aren’t showing up either early or late in the day. Most crowds are out between 10am and 6pm. The parking lot is located just east of the viewpoint, and it’s a very short and paved walk to the viewpoint overlooking the canyon. The parking lot is open 24/7, and it’s free of charge.
Other Nearby Viewpoints
You will pass plenty of other view points along the East Rim Drive on your way to Moran Point and beyond. These viewpoints are (in order of the drive west to east):
- Mather Point
- Yaki Point
- Shoshone Point
- Grandview Point (next lookout to the west of Moran Point)
- Moran Point
- Zuni Point (next lookout to the east of Moran Point)
- Papago Point
- Pinal Point
- Lipan Point
- Navajo Point
- Desert View
The Views at Moran Point
Three of the Grand Canyon’s main rock groups are visible at Moran Point: the layered Paleozoic Rocks, the Grand Canyon Supergroup, and the Vishnu Schist Basement Rocks. The Vishnu Schist is a dark, metamorphic rock that forms the basement rock of the Grand Canyon. These vishnu basement rocks are estimated to be 1.8 billion years old!
There are no actual trails that stem from Moran Point, but you can take a short hike along the rim off the paved path to get better (or different!) views of the canyon.
Moran Point is a paved lookout with both metal railings and a rock wall along the rim’s edge. The lookout is quite large, so while it may get crowded, you shouldn’t feel unsafe in any way due to overcrowding.
Directly below the viewpoint is the Red Canyon, which is easy to pick out due to its bright red rock canyon walls split by a small tributary to the Colorado River. You also get outstanding views of the north rim is off in the distance.
Here is the view looking back west towards Grand Canyon Village. You cannot see the village from this viewpoint.
And here is the view looking east towards the Desert View Watchtower, which is mostly out of view from this lookout area.