Our family found the Yavapai Observation Station to be one of the Grand Canyon south rim’s best vantage points with a wonderful geology museum – and the air conditioning was nice, too!.
Reachable by the Grand canyon Orange line, you can walk along the rim trail from here to Mather Point (another family favorite).
The museum had a lot of hands-on displays that explained the colorful layers of the canyon and the prehistoric era that many of them represent. Along with the 3D models, many photographs and other visual displays made this a nice place to stop with school-age children. They even had a topographic table-top map that showed incredible detail of the Grand Canyon. This was especially neat to observe, as you can easily lose your perspective and bearing when gazing over the rim.
The kid’s probably enjoyed the Yavapai Observation Station look-out area the most. Nothing more than large pane glass windows on the rim’s precipice with binoculars on the sill – this area was a hit! You could see rafts on the Colorado River, hikers in the distance, and many more details laid out in the miles before you.
Yavapai Point’s namesake are the bands of American Indians, indigenous to Arizona, Yavapai Early American settlers mistakenly referred to these natives as Mohave-Apaches or Tonto-Apaches. The Yavapai were primarily a hunter-gather tribe in the Colorado River basin area and known for their plantings of maize (corn), squash, and beans.
As you get ready to walk out, there was quote etched on the glass that struck me (of course, it was hard to capture on the picture (below). It reads:
What a great quote! By a great American hero that I continue to gain respect, admiration, and gratitude for more and more with each National Park visit our family takes.
Add Yavapai Observation Station on your list of Grand Canyon must-see attractions. Many cynics will tell you that “it’s all the same view”, but I would say that there’s so much to see that it’s hard to take it all in, but it’s sure fun to try. In addition to the museum and observation station, Yavapai was one of those vantage points that was fun to just relax and gaze.