Just a few miles east of Grand Canyon Village, visitors can stand at Yaki (or Yaqui) Point and contemplate a distinctly different view of the Grand Canyon. Although it is near the popular and frequently-visited viewpoints of Grandeur, Yavapai and Mather Points, Yaki Point is located on a separate promontory and therefore provides views of different features of the Canyon.
Some of the more dominant features visible from here include Zoroaster Temple, which is actually located on the other side of the Colorado River, and Wotan’s Throne, a large flat-top butte. Looking westward, visitors can see the end of the Bright Angel Trail, part of the Tonto Trail, and most of the South Kaibab Trail along Cedar Ridge. Views to the east encompass Cremation Creek, as well as the many buttes and mesas that envelop the drainage of Clear Creek on the North Rim.
In 1925, the National Park Service wanted a quick route into the canyon since Ralph Cameron refused to give up control of the Bright Angel Trail. They decided to build their own trail at Yaki Point, since it was near the village and allowed a fairly direct route into the Canyon. Today known as the South Kaibab Trail, it was originally referred to as the Yaki Trail because it began near Yaki Point.
Several Civilian Conservation Corps groups worked in the Grand Canyon during the Great Depression, and many of these were supplied by the U.S. Army’s 7th Pack Train. Though their headquarters were usually at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, for three years this unit was stationed at Yaki Point year-round. The unit included army and civilian packers, 50 pack mules, and 10 saddle stock. Packers would make one trip each day, hauling coal, mail, and food to CCC workers in and around the canyon. Despite snow, landslides, and other obstacles, the unit claimed to have never missed a delivery.
The East Rim Drive, completed in 1931, connected the Grand Canyon Village with Desert View at the eastern entrance to the park. One of the turnouts along this road deposited visitors at Yaki Point. Today, in an effort to cut down on pollution and crowding, the spur road to Yaki Point has been closed to private automobiles; instead, visitors may ride a free shuttle, walk, or bike to the point and nearby South Kaibab Trailhead.
Written By Sarah Bohl Gerke
- Anderson, Michael F. Polishing the Jewel: An Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park. GCA, 2000.