Mather Point, named for the National Park Service’s first director-Stephen T. Mather, is one of the most popular stops along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. With vibrant colored rocks touching painted skies, there isn’t one angle of view that will disappoint. Just east of Yavapai Point, this stop includes much the same scenery, but with better focus on some of the canyon’s truly majestic features.
Mather Point hosts a myriad of spots from which to observe the grandness of the canyon. Outcroppings hold two railed overlook points, and a walk along Rim Trail, leading back to Yavapai Point, provides plentiful opportunities for excellent camera work. Over 4000 feet below the south rim, nestled amongst the cottonwood trees, rests Phantom Ranch. This historical site, dating back to 1050 A.D., offers many forms of shelter to those who are lucky enough to get on the (often two-year) waiting list. Accessible only by foot trail, helicopter or river, Phantom Ranch sits near the only two trail bridges that cross the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon for nearly 200 miles.
As you look back over the horizon, the guardians of the Grand Canyon-Zoroaster and Brahma Temples, and Wotan’s Throne-loom tall in the eastern sky. Standing at elevations nearing 8000 feet, these breathtaking formations take on different hues throughout the passing hours, from varying shades of tan and grey in the noonday sun to a velveteen palate of purple, red, and burnt orange as dusk arrives. From south of the Colorado River, looking west, you can see back to Bright Angel Trail, and through the deep expanse of Pipe Creek. Looking east, the South Kaibab Trail, running along Cedar Ridge and the O’Neill Butte, comes into view. Facing the north rim, the focus turns to the lengthy expanse of Bright Angel Creek, filled with ravines, buttes, and other intricately carved formations that help create the splendor of the Grand Canyon.