Mather Point is our family’s vote as the best view of the Grand Canyon (Yavapai was a close second). If you’ve ever seen a picture of tourists against a railing overlooking the massive abyss of the Grand Canyon…than you’ve probably seen this highly-photographed vista.
Mather Point is within walking distance of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. This visitor center is where the BLUE and ORANGE bus lines meet. It’s a very impressive, newly renovated building with large displays and a 200-seat theater. The kids got their Junior Ranger pamphlets here and listened to some ranger led programs on wildlife in the Grand Canyon.
This overlook is one of those areas that you can just gaze across the vast nothingness and ponder life itself. With its amazing view and close proximity to the visitor center, this is also can be a very crowded area throughout the day and especially for viewing the sunset. If your goal is to see a sunset from here – plan to get there early.
This park’s overlook is named after the first director of the National Park Service, Stephen T. Mather. Stephen Mather grew up in New England, was educated at University of California Berkeley, and became a self-made millionaire as a sales manager for Borax – “20 Mule Team Borax” was his idea. In 1913, while hiking the trails of Yosemite, he met John Muir and the two lamented over the poor condition of the park.
Mather wrote a letter complaining to his college buddy, Franklin Lane (then Secretary of Interior) and the rest is history! As the National Park Service’s first director, Mather was known to have often used his own money to pay for park expenses and the salaries of many of the first NPS rangers and staff. It’s his love and dedication that laid the foundation for what the park service has become and stands for today.
If you have the time and are physically able, it’s an easy and fun stroll along the rim trail, just 0.7 miles east from Mather to Yavapai Point. There you can enjoy their air-conditioned observation station and geology museum. This pair of vistas (Mather & Yavapai) were one of our Grand Canyon vacation’s top highlights!
The Mather Point area has been expanded from a small overlook area with a railing to a larger rock amphitheater-type seating area. This makes it easier for everyone to get a rim-side view. Be sure to have someone take your family photo here…it’s a great spot!