Tusayan Ruins Museum ~ Grand Canyon National Park

Tusayan Ruins Museum ~ Grand Canyon National Park

During the morning hours till mid afternoon, the highest percentage of tourists tend to congregate near the Grand Canyon Visitors Center and Grand Canyon Village.  The parking lots are full in this area and it can seemingly take forever to gain access to the panoramic views along the Rim Trail.  An alternative to playing the waiting game is to head elsewhere in this National Park, where the crowds of tourists have not made their way to as of yet. Touring Desert View Drive through the east end of the Grand Canyon during the early part of the day will provide plenty of room to roam away from the big crowds! 

Desert View Drive runs from near the Visitors Center to the Grand Canyon National Park East Entrance Gate.   From the east entrance gate, Desert View Drive continues east to Cameron on U.S. Highway 89.  For the most part, the Grand Canyon Scenic Overlooks along Desert View Drive are less crowded during early hours and parking spots are easy to find. Parking gets even easier in the late afternoon when the bulk of the overwhelmed Grand Canyon Village visitors only want to just get out of the park after a long tiring day of duking it out with the big crowds.

There are several key points of interest along Desert View Drive. Close to the Desert View Watchtower is where the Tusayan Museum & Ruins can be found. The ancient Tusayan Pueblo is situated a few hundred yards away from the canyon rim in the juniper and pine forest overlooking the San Francisco Peaks in the distance. As can be imagined, this big pueblo complex must have been quite a picturesque sight to see back in its day!  

The Pueblo People occupied this region many centuries ago.  Surviving in this environment was not easy, because the poor soil and arid climate made farming difficult, yet the Pueblo People created unique dry desert farming techniques that allowed their civilization to flourish.  Evidence of this Grand Canyon Pueblo People community can be experienced by following the Tusayan Ruins Trail.  Remnants of stone wall food storage areas, living quarters and a communal kiva can be seen.  

The Tusayan Museum and Ruins is a great place for visitors to get in touch with living naturally in the Grand Canyon.  Children and adults of all ages can certainly learn a little something about the Pueblo People culture and their Grand Canyon lifestyle when visiting this place. The museum offers plenty of local and regional artifacts, along with depictions of civilized life in the pueblo from an age long gone by.

With all the grandeur of the vast panoramic views of the Grand Canyon National Park, it is easy to forget that this place is also a wilderness area when walking down a paved foot trail.  There are plenty of lizards and snakes to avoid, but these little critters tend to hide off the beaten path.  Desert Ravens always let their presence be known and many other bird species put on a show while hiking in the Grand Canyon.  Even the squirrels and chipmunks run up to say hello, but it is best to avoid these cute creatures if one values their own health.

Autumn, winter and spring are the best seasons for sightseeing in the Desert Southwest, but because the south rim of the canyon is over 7,000 feet above sea level, accessing Desert View Drive can be impossible because of winter season snow.  Spring and summer are the best seasons of the year for touring the Grand Canyon National Park and the best place in this park to leave the big crowds behind is Desert View Drive! This makes the thought of learning a little something at the Tusayan Museum and Ruins all the better!  


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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