The wind was blowing along the rim of the Grand Canyon and it was freezing at Desert View Point, so after visiting the historic Watchtower, we were more than happy to head inland a few miles to check out some ancient Puebloan ruins and escape the wind!
The Tusayan Ruins are the remains of a small 800 year old Ancestral Puebloan Village.
Located 3 miles west of Desert View Watchtower near the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the settlement featured a central plaza surrounded by storage rooms that held food for the winter, ceremonial structures, and living quarters.
- The Living quarters were single story rock, adobe, and wood buildings with three or four main rooms. Storage rooms held food that was dried to preserve it during harsh winter months.
- The ceremonial structures, known as kivas, are circular, normally below ground, and accessed by a ladder through a hole in the roof. But the Kaibab Limestone made it too difficult to dig deep into the ground. So the kivas in this settlement were partially dugout, but built above ground.
A mostly flat 0.1 mile gravel trail circles around the ruin, giving you a closer look at the building remnants and the area the ancient Puebloans used for farming. Interpretive signs give you a little more information about the ruins and the history.
The Tusayan Museum
Designed by National Park Service architect Herbert Maier and sponsored by Laura Spelman Rockefeller as a trailside museum, the Tusayan Museum was built in 1928, opened in 1932 (the same year the Fred Harvey Company opened the Desert View Watchtower), and expanded in 1934.
The small, square, two room Tusayan Museum has exhibits that bring the ruins to life and tell the story of the prehistoric people — believed to be relatives of the modern day Hopi, Zuni, and other Puebloan tribes — who once lived here. Exhibits include 2,000 to 4,000 year old artifacts and traditional crafts made by regional tribes.
Know Before You Go
- The Tusayan Ruins and Tusayan Museum are located on the Desert View Drive portion of Arizona State Route 64 in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 86023.
- Museum admission is free.
- Download the Tusayan Ruin Trail Guide.
- The ruins and museum are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- The Tusayan Ruins sit on a flat, 0.1 mile trail around the ruins, where you can see remnants of Puebloan Indian life from 800 years ago.
- The Tusayan Museum showcases 2,000 to 4,000 year old artifacts and traditional handicrafts made by regional tribes, as well as a small bookstore and gift shop.
- In the summer and fall, attend daily Ranger-led ruin tours and learn about the prehistoric people who made this place their home.
- There is a picnic area and restrooms near the museum and parking lot.
- The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
- We had LTE service here!