Grand Canyon - Sunrise

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January 11, 2000 - Grand Canyon Sunrise

The previous evening, I asked the hotel concierge what time sunrise was at the Grand Canyon -7:39am. So, I got up in time to travel to the  Canyon Rim, and purchase my park pass (US$20 for a car - good for 7 days, or buy a National Parks Pass for $50 - good for the whole year) at the gate. My first stop was Mather Point, where I found a couple who were also waiting for the sun to rise. They were nearly half frozen, since they had been waiting there for almost an hour!  Question: why wouldn't you find out the time for sunrise, rather than just "wing it"?

Looking north west from Mather Point in the pre-dawn (69475 bytes)
Looking north west from Mather Point in the pre-dawn
Looking north from Mather Point as dawn develops (55033 bytes)
Looking north from Mather Point as dawn develops
The Tonto Platform and red-lit O'Neil Butte just below Yaki Point (86154 bytes)
The Tonto Platform and red-lit O'Neil Butte just below Yaki Point

Looking north from Yaki Point to the temples of the North Rim, with red-lit O'Neil Butte in the foreground

Sunrise is a slow affair at the Grand Canyon.  I expected to be rushing around, but there was plenty of time to see the Canyon in a variety of light. It is quite dramatic - from dusky rose colours all the way from fiery yellows to brilliant azure and in-your-face crimson.  It is important to research the best perspectives for both sunrise and sunset, since certain rock faces and canyon features light up only at sunrise, while others only light up at sunset.

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Pre-dawn light looking north east from Yaki Point, Vishnu Temple to the left on the horizon

The temples of the North Rim, with red-lit O'Neil Butte (59629 bytes)
Looking north from Yaki Point to the temples of the North Rim, with red-lit O'Neil Butte in the foreground

00001182a.jpg (56426 bytes)
Sunrise over the eastern Canyon from Mather Point, Woton's Throne and Vishnu Temple to the left on the horizon

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Looking north east from Mather Point as daylight starts to take hold

I decide to drive the short distance to Yaki Point, since the morning light was still excellent. The online advice is correct - Yaki Point is the best morning viewpoint.

I still had an hour before my check-in time at Papillon Helicopters, so I reluctantly left for the hotel. The only problem is, I turned the wrong way and drove further down the East Rim for a couple of miles before I realized what had happened. I made my way back to the hotel, and after a quick stop, to the airport.

 

 

 

 
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Last updated: January 06, 2014

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