There are three panorama in the project for this location. The sunrise panorama, previewed here, was shot on October 1, 2006. The morning panorama was shot on February 25, 2010, and the afternoon panorama was shot on February 12, 2010. The following is a transcript of the narration for this panorama location. To watch and listen to the narrated panorama, enter the project here at this location and then press the play button.
Whenever anyone asks me to recommend a short but spectacular hike into the Grand Canyon, a stroll out to this place, Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail, is what I recommend. At less than a mile from the South Kaibab Trailhead, down an easy, well maintained trail, it is very accessible. And as for the view, well, the spot is well named.
I’ve shot many panoramas at Ooh Aah Point over the years. I’ve included three of them here in the project. We’re looking now at the oldest one, capturing a wonderful sunrise from October, 2006. The other two were shot in February of 2010 – first, this one in the morning, with lovely light falling on the far side of Pipe Creek Canyon, and an afternoon panorama, to, literally, put ‘the best light’ on the view of the eastern canyon.
To see the full, unbroken view at Ooh Aah Point, you’ll have to scramble, like me, just a few feet up the rocks to reach this spot, but be careful if you do. A sudden gust of wind could shove you right over the cliff. The very first time I shot a panorama here, back in 1999, I still used a bulky tripod that added 8 very much unwanted pounds to my pack, It was tricky to set up and shoot in tight quarters like this, and as I was finishing up that first panorama a wind gust sent my gear flying and I was just able to grab it before it commenced long deadly fall. These days I use a monopod that is much simpler and safer to use, and weighs well under a pound.
The spectacular view here stretches from Havasupai Point 17 miles to the west, and beyond it to the western canyon fading into the distance, and then all the way around to the Palisades of the Desert, the eastern wall of the canyon, some 25 miles to the east. Comanche Point, on top of the Palisades, has a wonderful view of the eastern canyon. Just in front of the Palisades stand the two most prominent features of the eastern canyon, Wotan’s Throne and Vishnu Temple, Cape Royal on the North Rim is close to both of them, and offers another spectacular panoramic view.
Looking directly across the canyon, Bright Angel Point is in direct line of sight, just an easy quarter mile stroll from the main lodge on the North Rim.To get there, you can hike for 6 more miles down the South Kaibab Trail and then another 14 up the North Kaibab Trail, or go back to your car and drive for 200 miles. Between Cape Royal and Bright Angel Point we can see a whole series of panorama points on the Walhallah Plateau of the North Rim, all of which require long bushwhack hikes through North Rim forests to get to.
Many temples and buttes crowd the space between the Colorado River and the North Rim, and you can, following this tour, interact with the panorama to learn their names, but I will call out Zoroaster Temple. Here we are roughly level with its peak and remain quite distant from it, but you will steadily move closer to it as you descend the South Kaibab Trail, and in time it will soar above you and dominate the scene, until it finally disappears as you near the river in depths of the inner canyon. Our high, wide angle view from here allows us to see the complex of buttes and points that radiate out from Zoroaster like flying buttresses, including Sumner Butte and Bradley Point.
The star of scene, though, particularly if you can make it out here for a sunrise, is O’Neill Butte, which first comes into view here at Ooh Aah Point. We’ll get much closer views of O’Neill as we continue to descend the trail, and we will wrap right around the east side of it on the way down to Skeleton Point. Look closely at Skeleton Point and you can see the switchbacks of the South Kaibab Trail where it descends through the Redwall Limestone.
At Ooh Aah Point we are sticking far enough out in the canyon to have an excellent view of the Tonto Platform, the area where the canyon flattens out for a bit about two-thirds of the way down to the river. We could see the Tonto Trail snaking across the Tonto Platform off to the west from up in the Toroweap, but now we can also see it heading off to the east. In addition, we can also now see the route of the Clear Creek Trail, and its string of panorama pearls, as it heads across the portion of the Tonto Platform on the far side of the river. What you still can’t see here is the Colorado River – it remains hidden within the depths of the inner canyon below the Tonto Platform.
Here at Ooh Aah Point we geologically have just dropped into the Coconino Sandstone. Notice how the beds of the Coconino slant downward from left to right as we look at them back up trail. The slant is not the angle of the formation – it is the angle that the sand was laid down in dunes when the Coconino was formed 275 million years ago.
Going up the trail from here, we climb up the steps and quickly leave the Coconino for the Toroweap Formation, and then gradually climb up through the Toroweap for about half a mile to a panorama point near the base of the switchbacks that climb up though the Kaibab Limestone.
Going down the trail from here, we follow the ridge of Coconino Sandstone to a second panorama point in the Coconino, again perched right on top of the ridge, and again with wide open, spectacular views.