After taking in incredible, majestic views of Grand Canyon from Desert View Point, Navajo Point, and Lipan Point, you might think that peering into the vast Grand Canyon starts to feel a little like Groundhog Day — but it doesn’t even come close. We stopped at each of the six official canyon viewpoints and several roadside pullouts along Desert View Drive, and each time the view changes and you see new things!
Named for the famous painter Thomas Moran, Moran Point Scenic Overlook sits on the South Rim of Grand Canyon on Desert View Drive directly south of the Cape Royal (on the North Rim) at an elevation of 7,160 feet.
At Moran Point, three main rock groups are clearly visible:
- The Layered Paleozoic Rocks represent the sedimentary rocks that make up most of the Grand Canyon’s depth.
- The Grand Canyon Supergroup represents a significant portion of the canyon’s geologic record even though it is only in isolated remnants, visible at only a few spots along the rim.
- The Vishnu Basement Rocks are the oldest at the canyon, consisting of both metamorphic and igneous rock.
According to interpretive signs at Moran Point Scenic overlook, nearby in the late summer of 1540, soldiers from the Spanish expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado became the first Europeans to see Grand Canyon.
After journeying for six months, Coronado’s army arrived at the Hopi mesas, east of Grand Canyon. From there, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, guided by Hopi Indians, led a small party to find a reported great river. After 20 days, they reached the south rim of Grand Canyon. Cardenas’ party spent three days trying to reach the bottom of the canyon in vain and returned to Coronado to report the discovery.
In 1873, geologist John Wesley Powell invited artist Thomas Moran to accompany his geologic survey of the Grand Canyon region. As a premier painter of American landscapes, Moran helped inspired Western tourism and pushed Congress toward the establishment of Western national parks.
Know Before You Go
- Moran Point is a scenic overlook on the Desert View Drive portion of Arizona Highway 64 in Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023. It is in Coconino County in Grand Canyon National Park.
- Moran Point sits at 7,160 feet elevation.
- You do not need to ride the free park shuttle to access Moran Point. Desert View Drive is accessible by personal vehicle.
- The nearest restrooms are at the Grandview Point and the Tusayan Ruin Museum.