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National park photo ops: In this Yosemite meadow and beyond, look for reflections

Video: From Desert View Watchtower, the canyon is even grander

Desert View Watchtower towers handsomely above the Grand Canyon

About 25 miles east of the Grand Canyon’s busy South Rim tourist village, the Desert View Watchtower stands like an 800-year-old stone sentry.

Except that it’s barely 80 years old, designed by pioneering Southwestern architect Mary Colter in 1932. The tower, designed to resemble a native structure, rises 70 feet over the canyon rim, affording tourists a remarkable wraparound view. You see not only the canyon and the river threading through it, but also the desert plains to the east.

But it's not on the park's main shuttle bus route, and it’ll look like an awkward detour if you’re consulting a park map while standing at popular Mather Point or the Bright Angel trailhead on the South Rim. But make the drive anyway, and if there’s a chance of open sky at the horizon, hang around for sunset. They get some good ones up there.

“A Minute Away” is a video series in which nothing much happens -- except you see the world, and hear it, and get a respite from workaday life. We’ve covered Machu Picchu, Red Square, the Yucatan, the Alamo, an Alaskan float plane and the reading room of the New York Public Library, among other places. Since early 2013, we've been adding a new minute every week (and some of those “minutes” are closer to 120 seconds. So if you’d prefer 100 minutes away, we've got more than enough here for you…

 

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