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National park tips: This fake tower’s view is real

The Grand Canyon's Desert View Watchtower is a replica, not a ruin, but the view from the top level is likely to win you over.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Go to Desert View Watchtower in Grand Canyon National Park.

It’s 25 miles east of the South Rim’s teeming Grand Canyon Village, so many travelers miss it. (It’s not on the park’s shuttle bus routes, either.)

But it’s a great stop. One reason is the panoramic desert, canyon and river view.

The other reason is the tower, a faux native ruin designed in 1932 by acclaimed park architect Mary Colter. On the top floor, you’re 7,522 feet above sea level — the highest point on the South Rim — and a great swath of desert and wriggling river spreads beneath you.

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In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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