Located between ever-popular Hopi Point and scenic Maricopa Point, Powell Point is just two miles from the Bright Angel Trailhead and the amenities of Grand Canyon Village. Powell Point provides sweeping views of the Grand Canyon, particularly toward its eastern edges. It is also home to a special stone memorial to John Wesley Powell, who was one of the first Americans to explore the portions of the Colorado River that sweep through the Grand Canyon.
Powell Point History and Background
Powell Point occupies a unique, storied place in the history of the Grand Canyon. This location was selected to host the 1920 dedication ceremony that saw the official establishment of Grand Canyon National Park. Powell Point is also the site of a distinctive memorial to Major John Wesley Powell. John Wesley Powell was a geologist who would eventually serve as director of the United States Geological Survey. In 1869 he led a three-month exploratory expedition down the Colorado River that entered the Grand Canyon, charting and mapping the route the entire way. He repeated the adventure during the winter months of late 1871 and early 1872. The efforts of Powell and his crew were influential in raising American awareness of the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon and its amazing surrounding areas.
The memorial takes the form of a small stone temple, and visitors can climb its wide steps to the top of the structure in order to access an even better view of the expansive canyon’s floor.
What’s at Powell Point
Powell Point provides visitors with beautiful views of the Grand Canyon. Toward the east, you can glimpse a variety of the Park’s most striking red-rock formations, while looking to the west you can see the looming beauty of Hopi Point. Of particular note here is the memorable Powell Memorial. This structure, designed like a stone temple, honors Major John Wesley Powell and his multiple exploratory expeditions down the Colorado River in 1869 and 1872.
Nearby Hopi Point is arguably the Park’s most famous spot for sunset-watching. However, Powell Point offers great views of the famous Grand Canyon sunset, too, and it is only 0.3 miles southeast of Hopi Point. Thus, if you are looking for a much less crowded spot to watch the sunset, it is hard to beat Powell Point.
Likewise, the location of Powell Point—it is found right between Hopi Point and Maricopa Point—makes it a really accessible spot for a pleasant hike. The pleasant 5-10 minute walk toward Hopi Point will open up lovely vistas of the Colorado River and the western part of the canyon, while the wooded 10-15 trek toward Maricopa Point takes you past the remains of the historic Orphan Lode Mine. All in all, it is the perfect stretch to skip the shuttle bus and set out on your own!
For those visitors seeking out a variety of amenities, Powell Point is located only two miles from Grand Canyon Village. There you will find an assortment of services, including all manner of food, drink, souvenirs, restrooms, and lodging. It also contains beloved local attractions like Lookout Studio, Kolb Studio, and the classic Grand Canyon Train Depot.
Tips for Visiting Powell Point
- The eastbound (return) route of the free shuttle bus service that runs along Hermit Road only stops at three points along its way. One of those three stops is Powell Point, though. Thus, if you want to spread out your stops, consider hopping off the bus along the shorter eastern route.
- If you really want a glimpse of the Colorado River, consider making the short (.25 mile) hike northwest to scenic Hopi Point. The Colorado River is not visible from Powell Point, but spectacular views of the rushing rapids are available at nearby Hopi Point.
- If you want to hike just a small portion of the South Rim Trail, Powell Point is a good stop for that. As it is located only 0.3 miles from Hopi Point, and just 0.5 miles from Maricopa Point, you can hike to-and-from three different stops without actually having to cover too much ground.
- Some of the South Rim’s best views of the Eastern portion of the Grand Canyon are available from Powell Point, so your scrapbook won’t be complete without some photographs from here!