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Map of the Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon

Map of the Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon

Map of the Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

NUMBER 1

Mather Point - Most Popular Photography Location in Grand Canyon

Map of Mather Point in Grand Canyon

Map of Mather Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Mather Point is the most popular photography location in Grand Canyon National Park.

It is one of Grand Canyon best photo spots to photograph Grand Canyon sunrise or sunset. Or, to photograph the Grand Canyon at any time of the day.

Mather Point offers one of the best views in Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park at Sunset

Grand Canyon National Park at sunset

Grand Canyon National Park

Need to know

What you need to know is that Mather Point is one of the busiest viewpoints in the Grand Canyon South Rim! It gets very crowded especially at sunrise and even more at sunset. So, if you are looking for solitude or space to set up your tripod, it might be tough especially at Grand Canyon sunset or sunrise.

However, hands down, Mather Point is one of the park’s most spectacular vantage points. The Colorado River is practically below your feet. To the west is Bright Angel Trail, to the east is the South Kaibab Trail, and straight ahead is the North Rim.

So, make sure to arrive early at Mather Point to secure your spot for the best sunrise or sunset photography location in Grand Canyon National Park.

How to Get to Mather Point in Grand Canyon

Mather Point is located a walking distance from Grand Canyon Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Village. 

There are several parking lots in Grand Canyon Village. However, all the parking lots fill up pretty fast especially during summertime. Actually, do not be surprised if you cannot find any parking places by 11 am.

If you are visiting during summer months, then my recommendation is to arrive as early as possible (before 9 am) to be able to find a good parking spot. Here is information about additional parking lots in the village.

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Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations
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NUMBER 2

Yaki Point - Grand Canyon Best Photo Spot in Grand Canyon at Sunrise

Yaki Point - Map

Map of Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Yaki Point is my favorite sunrise photography location in Grand Canyon National Park!

But, it is not just great at sunrise. In my opinion, Yaki Point is one of the best photo spots in Grand Canyon South Rim, where you can get an awesome three-dimensional photos.

Here’s the deal

There is no doubt that Mather Point is Grand Canyon best photography location and also, the most popular photography location in Grand Canyon.

However, my recommendation is to walk past Mather Point and head east towards the South Kaibab Trailhead until you reach Yaki Point.

First of all, you will get an awesome three-dimensional photo with the foreground, middleground and background. Your foreground will be Mather Point with all the tourists gathered on the viewing platform. Then, your middle ground will be the Grand Canyon, and the background will be the most spectacular sky.

Second, you will achieve a photo with a nice perspective with the people on the viewing platform that will show off the grandiosity of the Grand Canyon.

So, do not skip Yaki Point! You will be amazed by this awesome Grand Canyon sunrise view point!

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon

The view of Mather Point from Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park 

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Get to Yaki Point in Grand Canyon

Yaki Point is located no more than 2.3 miles east from Mather Point and about 4.1 miles east of Grand Canyon Village. The easiest way to get to Yaki Point from the Grand Canyon Village is to take the Orange Route/Kaibab Rim Route Grand Canyon Shuttle and get off at Yaki Point.

My recommendation is to take a leisurely walk from Mather Point to Yaki Point along the rim. The distance is about 2.3 miles, and it should take you no more than 50 min to reach Yaki Point.

Or, if you are starting your walk from the Grand Canyon Village, then the distance is about 4.1 miles and it should take you no more than 1.5 hours to reach Yaki Point.

NUMBER 3

Yavapai Point - Another One of Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations at Sunrise

Yavapai Point - Map

Map of Yavapai Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Yavapai Point is another one of my favorite Grand Canyon best photography locations at sunrise in Grand Canyon National Park.

Yavapai Point sits at the most northerly section of the Grand Canyon South Rim. Consequently, you will get the best view of the famous three points: Cape Royal, Wotans Throne, and Vishnu Temple.

In addition, if you look down the gorge, you will look onto the serpentine Colorado River. The most awesome view ever!

Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations

Yavapai Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Get to Yavapai Point in Grand Canyon

Yavapai Point is located a walking distance from Grand Canyon Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Village. Specifically, it is located west of Mather Point.

There are several parking lots in Grand Canyon Village. If you are visiting during summer months, then my recommendation is to arrive as early as possible (before 9 am) to be able to find a good parking spot.

Here is information about additional parking lots in the village.

NUMBER 4

Hopi Point - Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations at Sunset

Hopi Point - Map

Map of Hopi Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Hopi Point, located on Hermit Rest Drive, is unquestionably one of the Grand Canyon best photography locations at sunset.

Needless to say, Hopi Point is one of my personal favorites photo spots in Grand Canyon!

Hopi Point is one of the all-around Grand Canyon best photography locations. Jutting out farther into the Canyon than any other point on the South Rim, Hopi Point offers incredible views.

At sunset, you will be able to catch all the reds, rusts and oranges of the canyon walls as the sun is setting down.

Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations

Hopi Point Sunset in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Quick read

Hopi Point offers excellent views of the stone “temples”.

Temples, in this case, are rock formations rising from the depths of the canyon.

If you look at the above photograph all the way to the horizon, you will be able to see the North Rim. Follow the North Rim up to the first indentation. This is Cape Royal. Cape Royal is a type of a temple formed when side-canyon erosion produces peninsula-like projection along the rim.

Afterwards, follow the horizon to the next temple. It is Wotan Throne. It was formed by erosion which transformed the peninsula into an island, and eventually, it was separated from the rim.

Finally, let your eyes wander to the last rock formation. It is called Vishnu Temple. Vishnu Temple was formed by further erosion, where the softer rock crumbles and undercuts harder rock.

How to Get to Hopi Point in Grand Canyon

Hopi Point is located on Hermit Rest Drive.

In order to get to Hopi Point you will need to take a shuttle bus. Take Red Route Shuttle Bus (Hermit Rest Route) and get off at Hopi Point.

Or, you can walk! Hopi Point located no more than 3 miles from Grand Canyon Village. You can take the trail that meanders along the south rim and you will get to Hopi Point in about 1.5 hours.

NUMBER 5

Pima Point - Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations at Sunset

Map of Pima Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Pima Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Pima Point offers spectacular views of the canyon and lets you to see the Colorado River a mile below.

It is no doubt one of the top Grand Canyon best photography locations and hands down, one of the best views of Grand Canyon!

Also, Pima Point at sunset is so much less crowded than any other viewpoint in Grand Canyon National Park. So, if you are looking for some solitude, then head to Pima Point.

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Pima Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Get to Pima Point in Grand Canyon

Pima Point is located on Hermit Rest Drive.

Take Red Route (Hermit Rest Route) Grand Canyon free shuttle bus and get off at Pima Point.

However, my recommendation is just to a take a leisurely stroll along the rim and catch some more spectacular views.

If you decide to walk, then keep in mind that it is about 7-mile walk from the Grand Canyon Village to Pima Point.

NUMBER 6

Grandview Point - Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations at Night

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Grandview Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the best places to view the night sky.

The skies are exceptionally dark, making the Grand Canyon an awesome place for stargazing.

Need to know

What is a cool fact to know is, that the lamps at the Grand Canyon National Park are shielded in a way that directs light downward rather than into the sky or your eyes. This helps preserve your night vision so when you come to the park, you can experience a true night sky.

Grandview Point in Grand Canyon National Park offers panoramic views of the breathtaking landscape and the Colorado River winding through the canyon below.

Grandview Point is on of the Grand Canyon best photography locations to catch awesome views of the Milky Way.

How to Get to Grandview Point in Grand Canyon

Grandview Point in Grand Canyon National Park is located on Desert View Drive.

In order to get to GrandView Point, you need to have your own vehicle. The Grand Canyon shuttle bus does not cover the east side of the Grand Canyon.

Grandview Point is situated about 12.5 miles from Grand Canyon Village. it should take you no more than 22 minutes to reach Grandview Point by car.

NUMBER 7

Moran Point - Grand Canyon Best Photography Location for Nighttime Photos

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park is another great spot not just for nighttime photography, but it is an awesome place to photograph sunset as well.

If you decide to come to Moran Point at sunset, you will be able to catch fantastic views of the Red Canyon and the Sinking Ship, a fascinating geological formation which appears to do just that when silhouetted against the setting sun.

However, I have to say that Moran Point is the best place to photograph the Grand Canyon at night.

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Here’s the deal

Now, if you continue east on Desert View Drive, you will eventually reach Desert View Watchtower.

It is a stone tower rising 7 stories high which was designed in 1932 by Mary Colter, a pioneering Grand Canyon architect.

What you need to know, is that Desert View Watchtower is another perfect spot for Grand Canyon night photography.

Desert View Watchtower in Grand Canyon

Desert View Watchtower is another perfect spot for Grand Canyon night photography.

Nighttime Photography in Grand Canyon

View from Desert View Watchtower. 

How to Get to Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Moran Point in Grand Canyon National Park is located on Desert View Drive.

In order to get to Moran Point, you are going to have your own transportation. Unfortunately, the Grand Canyon shuttle bus does not cover the east side of the Grand Canyon.

Moran Point is situated about 18 miles from Grand Canyon Village. It should take you no more than 30 minutes to reach Moran Point by car.

NUMBER 8

Plateau Point – Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations Below the Rim

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Bright Angel Trailhead in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Plateau Point is located on Bright Angel Trail. Hands down, it is one of my favorite Grand Canyon best photography locations to see and capture Grand Canyon below the rim.

Plateau Point overlooks the Granite Gorge between Pipe Creek Canyon and Monument Canyon and it provides the most spectacular view of the Colorado River from about 1,300 feet above, while still 3,000 feet below the south rim.

Plateau Point on Bright Angel Trail

Plateau Point on Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Get to Plateau Point in Grand Canyon

Plateau Point is located on Bright Angel Trail. Specifically, it is situated about 6.1 miles from the Bright Angel Point (trailhead).

All in all, Bright Angel Trail is a strenuous day hike that takes about 8-12 hours to complete. The total round trip distance is 12.2 miles.

The Bright Angel Trailhead is located right next to Grand Canyon Village.

Point to remember

It is easy to hike down the canyon, however, you should plan accordingly for hiking back up to the rim.

If it took you 3 hours to reach Plateau Point on Bright Angel Trail, then you should plan to double that time (6 hours) to hike back up.

In addition, I am not recommending that you do this hike during summer months. It might feel like nice 72 F on the rim, however the temperatures reach over 100 F inside the canyon.

NUMBER 9

Ooh Aah Point – Great Spot to Photograph Grand Canyon Below the Rim

Best Photography Locations in Grand Canyon National Park

Map of South Kaibab Trailhead in Grand Canyon National Park

Image Credit: NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

Ooh Aah Point is located on South Kaibab Trail. It is a great spot to hike to and one of my favorite Grand Canyon best photography locations below the rim.

Ooh Aah Point is located about 1 mile from the South Kaibab Trailhead and it takes less than an hour to reach Ooh Aah Point. However, keep in mind that it takes twice as much time to hike back to the rim .

Ooh and Aah Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Ooh and Aah Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

And, needless to say, the views of Grand Canyon below the rim from Ooh Aah Point are simply off the charts!

Ooh Aah Point in Grand Canyon

View from Ooh Aah Point in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Get to Ooh Aah Point in Grand Canyon

So, Ooh Aah Point is located along South Kaibab Trail.

Access to South Kaibab Trailhead is by shuttle bus only. Consequently, no private vehicles are allowed.

To start with, take the Orange Route/Kaibab Rim Route Shuttle Bus and get off at South Kaibab Trailhead. I usually park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and catch the shuttle from that location.

Another option of getting to South Kaibab Trailhead is to take the Hikers’ Express Shuttle Bus. It is an early morning bus with service to South Kaibab Trailhead.

How to Take Great Photos at Sunrise or Sunset in Grand Canyon

  • First of all, some of the best light happens shortly before sunrise and after sunset, and it is known as the Golden Hour. The light is warmer and softer and there are no sharp shadows during the Golden Hour.
  • Second, make sure to use a long exposure selection on your camera.

How do you do a long exposure? Simply, turn your camera’s mode dial to Manual and use a slow shutter speed (5-30 seconds) for a longer exposure. Additionally, use your camera self-timer to take a photo.

  • Next, make sure to include a strong foreground in your photo to give it deep three-dimensional perspective.
  • Finally, use a wide angle lens. The Grand Canyon was made for wide angle shots!
Sunset in Grand Canyon

Sunset in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Take Great Nighttime Photos in Grand Canyon

First of all, be patient and practice. It takes time to learn Grand Canyon night photography tips in order to capture the great nighttime images. And, it takes a lot of experimenting with the camera settings.

Follow these Grand Canyon night photography rules:

  • Have the camera on manual mode on a sturdy tripod. Turn off image stabilization.
  • Have a wide angle lens between 14mm to 24mm to get a good view of the Milky Way in the frame along with foreground.
  • Set the aperture to the widest – at least f2.8, but if you have only the kit lens, use it at 18mm / f3.5.
  • Start with the lowest ISO possible, about 1600. Depending on the result, you can decrease further or increase the ISO up to 3200, above which the image quality can start to deteriorate.
  • Put your lens on manual focus and focus on the brightest star in the sky. Zoom in on live view and turn the focus ring till the star shows up as a bright point in the screen.
  • Use the mirror lockup feature if using a DSLR to avoid blur due to camera movement.
  • Calculate shutter speed based on one of the rules:

The 500 Rule

The 600 Rule

The NPF Rule

Grand Canyon at night

Grand Canyon National Park at night

Grand Canyon National Park

How to Photograph the Grand Canyon

  • Zoom In on the Grand Canyon

It is ok to zoom in! I find myself always struggling with a need to include the entire panorama in every photo. The Grand Canyon photography can be challenging and overwhelming because it is simply impossible to convey the sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon in a single photo. Being that, zoom in and capture the spectacular display of erosion. Or, peer over the edge and gasp in wonder and awe at the canyon below.

  • Arrive Early to Photograph Sunrise or Sunset in Grand Canyon National Park 

Arrive way before the sunrise or sunset to secure a good spot. It gets crowded at all the popular viewpoints especially in the summertime.

  • Include Foreground, Middleground, and Background in Your Photos of the Grand Canyon 

The Grand Canyon is vast and getting a sense of scale can be a bit challenging. The best to overcome that hurdle is to find a strong foreground. For instance, try finding a tree, or a protruding rock. And, then work on focusing on middleground, and background to give your photo a nice 3-dimensional perspective.

Include people standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon to give some sense of the vastness and convey the grandioseness of the Grand Canyon.

  • Bring a Tripod to Photograph Sunrise and Sunset in the Grand Canyon

Having a tripod will help you minimize the risk of any movement while you are capturing longer exposures and allowing more light to enter the camera.

  • Photograph the Grand Canyon at Sunrise or Sunset 

Actually, to be specific, the best light is about 15-30 minutes before the sunrise. It is the proverbial “golden hour” during which the daylight is softer and redder. Needless to say, it is the time during which the walls of the Canyon start to glow.

Moreover, it might seem counter-intuitive, however, if you are shooting at sunrise move your camera away from the rising sun. Notably, turn away from the sun about 90-degrees and check out the colors in front of you. Then, turn some more, probably about 180-degrees. I bet you, you will find the Canyon’s wall beautifully illuminated right in front of you.

The deal is that, in my opinion, sunset is the best time for the Grand Canyon photography. Specifically, it is about 15-30 minutes after the sunset, when the famous “magical hour” happens. It is a special time when the sunset light illuminates off the canyon walls in an array of colors. The “golden hours” of the desert are truly golden at the Grand Canyon. Golden Hour Photography

The key point to remember when shooting sunset at the Grand Canyon is to make sure that you point your camera in the opposite direction to the setting sun. In any event, you do not want to point at the sun, but rather, you need to follow the rays of the setting sun. Specifically, focus on the light that is revealing the glory of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations

Sunrise in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Intrepid Scout's Pointers for Grand Canyon Best Photography Locations

  • Do not expect any solitude at these popular photography locations in the Grand Canyon. You will have plenty of company! So, make sure to get up early and head to one of your favorite photography location in the Grand Canyon to secure your spot. If you absolutely hate battling crowds, like I do, then check out Grand Canyon North Rim. I bet you will love the serenity of the place and it is not short of some breathtaking visits!
  • If you plan on taking pictures at sunrise or sunset, then you need to plan accordingly. First of all, check sunrise and sunset times. Next, check the weather conditions. Finally, allow enough time to get to the best sunrise and sunset photography locations in Grand Canyon National Park. My recommendation is to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise or sunset, just in time for the Golden Hour.
  • It can be very cold in the morning even during summer months. So, make sure to dress warmly and dress in layers. Check the weather forecast as well. The weather can change within a few hours, so be prepared.

Also, to give you more ideas for some other great spots for photography locations check out my post: Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton National Park (with Maps and Photos).

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