Grandview Benchmark & Lookout • Highpoint: Coconino Rim
• Central Coconino County
• South Rim, Grand Canyon


The lookout (and my truck)
 

I finally found the benchmark (inset: a close-up)
 

You can see some of the cliffs in the Grand Canyon from the lookout
 

The ranger residence. Looks like toys from up here
 

Some info on the tower

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Date: July 9, 2011 • Elevation: 7,540 feet • Prominence: 1,060 feet • Distance: 0.5 mile • Time: 30 minutes of wandering • Gain: 80 feet • Conditions: Humid and unsettled

Grandview Benchmark would never be confused for a mountain, but it is a highpoint with a prominence over a thousand feet. It's "claim to fame" is that it is the highest point along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is true, but kind of a stretch. More accurately, it's along the lip of one band of cliffs that comprise the South Rim. However, it's not right on the edge of the big chasm, and very few people bother to seek out this point.

Today had been a busy and lucrative one for me. Early in the day, I hiked Sitgreaves Mountain then a couple hours later, hiked Red Butte as I approached the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. I paid my entrance fee and drove east along the rim highway (AZ-64). Grandview Benchmark was on my agenda, but so was staring down into the canyon.

I stopped at the usual overlooks. No matter how many previous times I have been to the Grand Canyon, or seen photos of it, seeing it in person is about as religious an experience I can have. It is absolutely stunning, beyond words to describe. I assure you, no matter how many photos you may have seen, it pales in comparison to seeing it in person.

The day was unsettled with clouds and thunderstorms, although the immediate area was calm. Lighting for photographs was not very good, though, so you'll have to trust me when I say the Grand Canyon is a beautiful place. These overlooks were crowded but not too bad. Lots of foreign languages could be heard. I am glad people come from all over the world to see our big hole in the ground. After staring into the canyon for awhile, I left to go visit a lame point in the forest. What is wrong with me?

About two miles east of the Grandview Overlook is a side road on the south, shown as Coconino Rim Road on the maps, and marked as Forest Road 310. I followed this road about a mile to the Kaibab Forest Boundary, then another mile to the Grandview Lookout, parking in the nearby spaces. There was a family climbing up and down the lookout tower, so I walked around the area looking for the benchmark, which I found after a few minutes. I also walked around to be sure I had not missed any other potential highpoints. The whole place is flat, and the benchmark may be at the highest point. I felt some ground south of the tower looked promising, and also a swell of land about 200 yards north along the road. I walked a half-mile in loops just “to be sure”.

When the family was finished with the tower, I climbed the stairs. This is a well-constructed tower and everything looked very solid. I still felt nervous higher up. The stairs themselves have a very severe slope to them. The views were excellent, with views north into the Grand Canyon, and views of the forest in all directions with the big volcanos looming high to the south. The dark clouds and storms were to the west. For some reason, there were a lot of helicopters. My guess is the sight-seeing helos make a big loop this way before flying into the Canyon. The noise was bothersome.

Done with this highpoint, I drove back into the Grand Canyon National Park, amused to see a very simple kiosk on the boundary along this forest road. At one time they must have manned this spot to collect entrance fees. Now a sign just says to pay your fee at the South or East entrance gates.

Back on the highway, I proceeded east and stopped at each overlook, staring into the wonderful chasm. The scale is too big to properly capture in a photograph. Even though I was a car-tourist today, I still had fun at the Canyon. It’s a wondrous place. Finally, I came to the East gates and exited, and drove all the way into Flagstaff. I was tired, so I got a hotel room, cleaned up, ate a meal, then crashed by 8 p.m., the end of a productive (for me) day.

(c) 2011, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.