We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
14 posts
1 review
Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

Need advice on the following for our stay 17 Sep - 18 Sep:

1. Will only reach GCNP at approx. 5pm, are we able to catch sunset.

2. Is it the best time to catch milkyway and where is the best location

3. As we have limited time to tour GCNP as we will need to reach Page before sunset. Need advice on the trials or things to do before we head to Page. Understand that its a scenic drive from GC village to dessert view. Need advice on that too.

5 replies to this topic
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
1,203 posts
37 reviews
1. Re: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

Sunset in mid September is around 6.30, so you might just make it. It is not the sky that you are watching, but how the changing light plays on the canyon walls. Thus, you want to start watching sunset for about an hour or so before the actual sunset time. After the sun dips below the horizon the sky may produce a display or not, but it is frequently anti-climactic. Similar at sunrise: the sky may light up, but the real sight to see is the half hour to hour after sunrise as the sun dips into the canyon and lights up some walls while others around it are still in darkness. FWIW, I prefer sunrise to sunset.

It is about 25 miles along Desert View Drive from the Village/Hotel zone to the East Gates. Allow about 2 to 3 hours for this. Along Desert View Drive Grandview Point offers great views east to west, including several bends of the Colorado. Moran Point offers a distinct view of different rock layers and also prominently features the Colorado. Tusayan Ruins are the remains of a small Ancestral Puebloan village. Navajo Point offers a great view of the watchtower as it is perched on the edge of the canyon, as well as panoramic vistas of the Colorado. Hance Rapids, one of the many powerful whitewater rapids along the Colorado, can be seen from Lipan Point. Finally, Desert View Watchtower--climb the stairs to the top of the watchtower, and you'll be at the highest overlook on the South Rim with views of the Colorado making a big bend to the west. Fantastic views of the canyon to the west and Painted Desert to the east. Once you've exited, it is about another 2.5 hours to Page.

https:/…sr-pocket-map.pdf

North Carolina
Level Contributor
1,803 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

jez,

I hope you did not plan this trip to see the Milky Way at the Grand Canyon. For the nights of your stay the moon will be illuminated at 60 to 70% and remain near the central core of the Milky Way washing out viewing as long as the central core is above the horizon. You can see the outer arm (not the Sagittarius arm). the less dense Perseus Arm but it is not that spectacular. You want to see the Sagittarius arm - see here as it rises over a lighthouse in my home state of NC:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/152544914@N02/40996999744/

or even at the Grand Canyon out at the Mather Point overlook on a moonless night:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/152544914@N02/34005755180/

There are still 2 night sky features you can see during your trip to the Grand Canyon:

1) Following sunset - go to the Mather Point Overlook for Sunset - and look for the planets Mars (red), (Moon - not a planet), Saturn, Jupiter and Venus to align along the Ecliptic plane.

2) There will be a nice flyover of the International Space Station (ISS) on the morning of September 18. Look to the constellation Orion - the hunter - @ 4:40:19 and the ISS will just "appear" in the sky and move towards the star Rigel @ 4:44:58 and disappear soon thereafter.

Clear sky!

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
14 posts
1 review
3. Re: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

Thank you @jane s and @SwimFan2012

Will plan accordingly to what was suggested. As we are really tight on schedule and we are unable to do much in GCNP which is a waste.

Will it be possible to do some trails within 4 hours in south rim and head off to Desert View Drive then to Page?

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
66,607 posts
249 reviews
4. Re: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

Allow 3-4 hours to get from the GC hotel zone to Desert View and then about 3 hours more to Page. Most travelers break it up with a stop at Cameron Trading Post for food, fuel and restrooms, and usually some shopping.

You’ll know when sunset is, so work your time backwards and you’ll know how much time you have to wander along the rim path before departing for DV.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
1,203 posts
37 reviews
5. Re: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep

You can walk the Rim Trail for as long or as little as you like between Mather Point and say Bright Angel Lodge. https:/…RimTrail.pdf

If you want to go below rim, and are physically up for it, you may want to consider a sunrise hike to Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail. Sunrise is just after 6 am. You would have to catch the (orange) shuttle from the Visitor Centre to the trailhead and perhaps the blue shuttle from your lodging to the Visitor Centre. Although, if you're pressed for time, I would check out of your lodging early and re-position the car at the Visitor Centre. It'll save you a bit of time after your hike. The hike to Ooh Aah Point is about 1.8 miles return. A good rule of thumb is that it takes about twice as long to come back up as it does to go down. https:/…SouthKaibabTrail.pdf

Make sure you have water while hiking. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect against the sun.

Reply to: Advice on trails, sunrise and sunset in GCNP on 17 - 18 Sep
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted