experience the Grand Canyon
Located at the entrance to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Tusayan offers visitors a great place to stay, eat and feel at home while they take in the spectacular vistas of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
From jeep tours to river rafting, helicopter tours to mule rides, your stay in Tusayan will be unforgettable.
Located just north of Tusayan, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles (443km) in length, 10 miles (16km) wide and a mile (1,737km) deep. The Grand Canyon is home to hundreds of bird, reptile and animal species. The geology of the Grand Canyon displays hundreds of millions of years in the life of our Earth and nowhere else can a geologic timeline be seen so readily. Visitors will want to make plans to see the Grand Canyon at either sunrise or sunset as the low angle of the sun makes the colors come alive.
For more information about all there is to see and do in and around Tusayan, visit the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce website:
Tusayan: Then and Now
Condensed from an essay by Ronald L. Warren published in the Tusayan Area Plan, Coconino County, 1995
No history of Grand Canyon National Park would be complete without mention of the enclave of private property at the National Park’s south boundary which is now known as Tusayan. The community’s history dates back almost to the beginning of Grand Canyon National Park in 1919.
From 1905 to 1919, George Reed was one of the few Forest Service rangers working in the Tusayan Forest Reserve (now called the Kaibab National Forest). Stationed at Hull Tank Cabin, he patrolled the forest south of the Grand Canyon. In a remote corner of the forest, the Iowa-born Reed saw potential for a successful vegetable farm in the rich soil of the Coconino Wash. Reed quit the Forest Service and in April 1920, the same month that Grand Canyon was formally dedicated as a National Park, he homesteaded a 160-acre tract of land in Sections 23 and 24 of Township 30, some seven miles south of Grand Canyon Village.
The 40-year-old Reed and his wife Mable grew whatever would grow, primarily potatoes, in the natural clearing along the Coconino Wash. He was a good farmer. In addition to feeding his family, he sold to the hotels in the National Park. In March 27, he applied to the forest service for a permit to farm on five acres west of his homestead, and on four other homestead entries.
Getting his vegetables to Grand Canyon Village was a problem. The nearest “highway” connecting Grand Canyon with the “outside world” followed the railroad tracks from Williams by way of Anita Station and Rowe’s Well. Another came from Maine (Maine, Arizona – not the state!) and connected with the Desert View road near Grand View Point. Branching off the road from Williams to Grand Canyon, a dirt trail led east, up the Coconino Wash, to the Reed Homestead. The trail was the handiwork of one of the mining and lumbering camps which operated in the forest south of Reed’s farm. Since George Reed didn’t have an automobile (few people did) during the first years of farming, he made the seven-mile journey to the Grand Canyon Village by horseback or in a mule-drawn wagon.
Reed’s transportation problem was solved in 1928 when the federal government agreed to build a new highway to the Grand Canyon from Williams as part of a deal for the National Park service to acquire ownership of the Bright Angel Trail which was, at that time, owned by Coconino County. Unlike today, in the 1920s and 1930s, there were many “inholdings” of private and county property inside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park.
With the new highway came new neighbors for the Reeds. The first was Rudolph “Chick” Kirby who opened a store and campground in August 1928 on 10 acres of land leased from the forest service. A few years later, Kirby sold his business to Charles Green and by 1934, the place was known as “Moqui Camp.”