Grand Canyon - West Rim Drive to Hermit's Rest - Vol.2
West Rim Drive to Hermit's Rest
You may want to read my introdution to the area first: Photographing the Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim)
This area is closed to personal vehicles for most of the year. You either need to hop on a shuttle bus (Red Line) at the west end of the Grand Canyon Village area (free), ride a bicycle or walk. These shuttles start well before sunrise and end just after sunset. Don't worry, after sunset, they will keep sending buses until everyone is accommodated.
Parking opportunities near the Hermit's Rest shuttle (Red Route) transit station is very limited. If you are there for the pre-dawn shuttle, you will probably be able to park on Village Loop Drive, just before you get to the Shuttle Transfer station, which is next to the Bright Angel Trailhead. In summer, you will likely find parking at the Maswik Lodge (drive beyond the Transfer Station) if you are there by 9AM. You can walk back to the station. At other times, take the Village Route (Blue Line) that makes a stop next to the Hermit's Rest Terminal. While you can catch the Blue Line at the Visitor Center, in summer, that parking area fills up early. My Insider Tip: Even though I was at the Mather Campground (it's a huge campground), which has a shuttle stop too, it was quicker to park in the lesser used, Shrine of the Ages parking lot and catch the bus there. It is only 3 stops from your destination, and It has the advantage of being the only location on the Village shuttle (Blue route) where the bus stops both inbound and outbound, saving you about 10 minutes on your return trip. On a few occasions, in the middle of the day, the first bus that came along was full and I had to wait for the next one.
Many of the viewpoints are not very far apart. There is a trail that links all of them and it often runs close to the canyon edge and affords great, ever changing, persepctives of the canyon.
Photo Locations (going from east to west)
* Worth the visit
** Among the Best
*** Not to be missed
* Trailview Overook and Maricopa Point are the first and second stops on the Hermit's Rest shuttle (Red Route). If the shuttle has a line, you may just want to walk to these. It's a 10 minute walk up a moderate uphill paved trail. The Trailview Overlook, as its name implies gives a wonderful view of the Bright Angel Trail descending into the canyon. Maricopa Point have expansive views and is an excellent sunrise location.
** Powell Point has some great locations to shoot from and is excellent for sunrise. Sunset is good too, but the sun will set behind Hopi Point (the next overlook to the west). Maricopa and Hopi are close enough to either side that you can see your fellow tourists.
*** Hopi Point sticks out a little further north than the other ridges and has the best views to the west. The Colorao River is also visible to the west. It is the best location to see the setting sun, in this part of the canyon. In summer its good for sunrise too. An additional bonus, this stop also has restrooms.
** Mohave Point is on of my favourite overlooks. It has a view of the river and can be a great location at sunrise or sunset. I have taken the 5AM shuttle out here in summer, to photograph the sunrise, and have not been disapointed. If you come for sunrise, even at the height of the tourist season, you will likely have the place to yourself. You can see some rapids on the river
* Pima Point, like Moahve, has views of the river and good sunrise and sunset possibilities. Pima Point is one of the best places on the rim to see and maybe even hear the river. Hermit's Rest, the last stop on the shuttle is a good place for a snack and the bathroom, but not for taking images.
Check out our other Grand Cayon National Park (South Rim) Guides