One easy, flat mile. That’s all that lies between you and what might well be one of the best sunset viewing spots in the world. Shoshone Point, demurely distanced from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim busyness, puts on a good show, even if you don’t go at sunset. The trailhead is unmarked, and the parking lot is hidden: welcome to the Shoshone club! Follow a dirt road through ponderosas before reaching a large picnic area. Beyond it, you’ll see an outcropping marked by an impressive monolith that looks like it’s lording over the canyon. This is your destination. Thrill-seekers can dangle their legs over the edge, and those with vertigo can sit comfortably in the background. The view is mesmerizing: a panorama across a landscape of dramatic crags, castled monoliths, and layers of red rock. The mighty Colorado River thunders thousands of feet below. If you visit Shoshone at sunset it’s simply sublime when the sky becomes a tapestry of feathered clouds tinged in lavender and striking blue hues. The sinking sun bathes the canyon in a marigold light before departing with a flickering amber glow. Nature can be perfect.
ACCOMMODATIONS: The South Rim’s splurge-worthy El Tovar Lodge and well-located Bright Angel Lodge are excellent (but hard to get). Well-organized planners who like a hiking adventure should book a year in advance to stay in a cabin at Phantom Ranch (highly recommended!) or at Bright Angel Campground (which requires a backcountry permit), both at the bottom of the canyon.
The parking lot for the trailhead to Shoshone Point is not marked. Find it going eastbound on Desert View Dr. from the visitor center, just after mile marker 244, on the left side. Look for an obvious wide dirt trail. Be sure to give yourself enough time from sunset to get back to your car, and bring a flashlight for good measure (don’t wait until it’s dark to get off the outcropping… that’s dicey!). Marriage proposals highly recommended! No dogs.