Desert View: Mary Colter Watchtower

In the early 1900's, Mary Colter worked as one of the few women architects in a then male-dominated field. She is now often referred to as the architect of the southwest. She is responsible for several structures in the Grand Canyon, but her signature piece is the Watchtower at Desert View.

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

The Mary Colter Watchtower is near the east entrance (South Rim) of the Grand Canyon. We entered through the south entrance and so had to drive about 20-ish miles. Along the way we stopped off to see the Tusayan Ruins.

Only the foundations are left.

Tusayan Ruins, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Tusayan Ruins, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Kiva Room, Tusayan Ruins, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona
Kiva Ruins --a kiva is a large circular building used for ceremonial purposes.

We continued onto our intended destination and arrived in time to see elk grazing near the watchtower.

Elk near the Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Desert View Mary Colter's Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona, iPhone panorama

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

View of Colorado River running through Grand Canyon from East Entrance, South Rim, near Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona
It took millions of years, but this is what the Colorado River has created: a very grand canyon! "A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence." - Jim Watkins

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Inside are several floors with wraparound views of the canyon:

View out the window from inside Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona
The first floor consists of a gift shop.

Interior ceiling floors of Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Interior of Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Spiral loops interior stairs of Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

View from top of Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona
View from the top of the Watchtower.

View from top of Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Spiral stairs inside Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Fireplace inside Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

Flat top canyon view from Desert View Mary Colter Watchtower, Grand Canyon, AZ, Arizona

The first time we visited the Grand Canyon, we had no inkling that there was a Watchtower. In fact, the map/brochure given out doesn't even make any references to it. Perhaps this is done on purpose but it's actually pretty nice --the Watchtower is no where near as crowded as the main entrance and main view points.

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