Desert View Inter-Tribal Heritage Area

Enriching community, celebrating cultural heritage

At the edge of Grand Canyon stands Desert View Watchtower. The intriguing stone structure, designed by Mary Colter in the 1930s, evokes the architecture of the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau. The remarkable murals created by Fred Kabotie and other Native American artists tell the story of the Canyon's human history and culture. The circular balconies invite visitors upward, toward a singular, spectacular view of the canyon.

Together with the National Park Service and the Inter-tribal Working Group, our vision is to transform the Desert View area into a thriving space that celebrates the tribal heritages of Grand Canyon. Your generosity will create a visitor experience that informs visitors from around the world of the diverse cultures at Grand Canyon and allows everyone—including the canyon's first inhabitants—to celebrate our shared heritage.

What's been completed

  • January 2015 - National Park Service took over management of the Desert Watchtower.
  • July 2015 - ArtPlace America announced a $500,000 grant to preserve murals inside the Watchtower, continue the Cultural Demonstration Series, and develop inter-tribal tourism opportunities.
  • September 2016 – America voted Desert View Watchtower among the most worthy historic preservation projects at the National Parks to receive a prestigious grant to restore the Watchtower murals. 
  • The establishment of the Inter-tribal working group, a partnership between the eleven traditionally associated American Indian tribes of Grand Canyon. 
  • The creation of the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, which provides job training and conservation work for local American Indian youth.
  • October 2019 - Conservation of Watchtower murals completed.

What's planned

  • The creation of an accessible, intuitive Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site, to immerse visitors in American Indian life and culture:
    • Improvement of the Arrival Experience, by creating an Orientation Plaza, Shade Structure, Picnic Areas, and revision of the parking lots.
    • Enhancement of the Heart of Desert View by adapting the Watchtower, amphitheater, and other structures to ensure access for all.
    • Revision of the Pedestrian Paths to enhance the visitors' travels along this natural, cultural, and tribal journey.
  • Expanding tribal youth opportunities for education and job training.
  • Expansion of the popular Cultural Demonstration Series at Desert View, which provides the opportunity for artisans from the eleven traditionally associated tribes to share their crafts with park visitors, raising awareness and appreciation of the history and diverse cultures of the region.

Support our projects

Special projects and improvements like this at Grand Canyon National Park are only possible because of the generous support from people like you.

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Current Priorities

Dark Sky Preservation

Grand Canyon has some of the most pristine night skies on the planet. We're working to keep it that way. 

Desert View Inter-tribal Heritage Site

Members of American Indian tribes are working with the park to celebrate the tribal heritage of Grand Canyon. 

Trails Forever

More than 400 miles of historic backcountry trails lead into the canyon. We want to ensure that they remain welcoming and accessible.