HOPI POINT

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Early Euro-American entrepreneurs at the Grand Canyon were always on the lookout for the most scenic spots along the rim; places suitable to establish camps where tourists might spend days or weeks. One of these spots along the South Rim was Hopi Point, about two miles west of today’s Grand Canyon Village.

One of the earliest Euro-Americans to visit what is today Grand Canyon Village was Sanford Rowe. In the last decade of the 19th century, he built a spur from the road William Wallace Bass had built between Williams and Bass Camp to Hopi Point (at the time known as Rowe’s Point) near a camp he was developing.

Highslide JSL.C. McClure of Denver photographed this view of the Canyon sometime between 1905 and 1910 from what was then known as Rowe’s Point. You can see the Colorado River coming into view.

Credit: Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library.

Highslide JSA forest ranger keeps watch for any hints of smoke from the top of the original wooden fire tower at Hopi Point in 1909.

Credit: US Forest Service.

He and other early Euro-American settlers spent several years building roads along the South Rim connecting scenic and notable points to each other and to the roads that brought tourists to the Canyon. In 1914, William Wallace Bass advertised that he would take guests from the Village to Hopi Point in a covered rig for the price of one dollar, telling his guests his own unique version of the Canyon’s creation along the way.

Rowe’s establishment was never as popular as those of other early tourism operators, yet the site he chose for his camp remained an important point along the South Rim. As early as 1909, the Forest Service built a tree-top crow’s nest at Hopi Point in order to scout for forest fires.

This wooden lookout tower is thought to be the first fire tower in Arizona. In 1927 the National Park Service replaced this with a 40 foot steel tower, which was lowered to 24 feet in 1953 when the top was remodeled. It was certified on the National Historic Lookout Register in April 2009 for its historical value in forest conservation.

In 1935 construction crews completed the eastern portion of West Rim Drive, including realigning old roads to meet up at Hopi Point before heading on to Hermit’s Rest. This was the last major road built at Grand Canyon.

Highslide JSWhen constructing the West Rim Drive, the NPS also built an elevated platform at Hopi Point.

Credit: Marge Ullmann, NPS photo.

Highslide JSHopi Point has always been a favorite place for photographers, including the Kolb brothers, trying to capture a Canyon sunrise or sunset.

Credit: NAU Cline Library, Emery Kolb Collection, NAU.PH.568.8851.

The walking trail which visitors often meander along in Grand Canyon Village goes to Hopi Point, a favorite site for viewing sunrise and sunset because of its broad vistas. This point offers the first views of the Colorado River for those heading west along Hermit Road or the rim trail.


written by sarah bohl gerke


Suggested reading:

  • Anderson, Michael F. Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region. Grand Canyon Association, 1998.