North Rim Travel Guide: 42 reviews and 88 photos

Well, they are all over there on the other side - the South Rim - fighting for parking spaces in the turnouts , of course. The North Rim is 1200 feet higher and ten miles away as the eagle soars. Ten bird miles, however, equal 215 car miles! Most visitors to the Grand Canyon are there for only a day or two and such a drive is simply out of the question. So, which rim is better? As long as the crowds flock to the South Rim, the North Rim wins, hands down. Driving out to Cape Royal early in the morning, we encountered very little traffic. Plus, from the North Rim, you see much more of the Canyon and can gain a better sense of its geologic, ecologic and archaeological make up.

A visit to the North Rim is similar to that one would make to the South. Most of your visit will entail driving to various view points. There are fewer trails on the North Rim with only two - the Nankoweap and the North Kaibab - going down into the Canyon. The North Kaibab follows the Bright Angel Canyon and connects with the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails at Phantom Ranch on the river, making a cross-Canyon hike possible.
Since there are not the crowds of the South Rim here, there is also not as many amenities. There is a lodge and campground at North Rim with a few picnic tables spread out at different vista points along the Cape Royal road. You can also stay nearby outside the Park at Jack Lake or within and hour and half lie towns like Marble Canyon, Page, Fredonia or Kanab.

The North Rim is set much further back from the river than the South. You have many more eroded buttes and spires on this side with extravagant names to attract your attention. Any trip to the North Rim should include a drive out to Cape Royal and Point Imperial. Time of day is even more important for the owuld-be photographer on the North Rim than the South Rim as many pictures have the potential to be shot into the sun. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon remain prime time. Cape Royal and maybe Point Sublime are two viewpoints where you could spend an entire day watching colors and light interplay and change.
The season on the North Rim is not year-round as on the South. Snows limit the season from mid-May to mid-October. If you are making the 'Grand circle' including Zion and Bryce Canyon with the Grand, I see no reason to drive all the way over to the South Rim when the views from the North are truly more Grand. Tips are organized by viewpoints with those along the Cape Royal road covered first and then Bright Angle Point - the main viewpoint for the North Rim covered afterwards. For more on the South Rim and views from the Colorado River, itself, see my Grand Canyon National Park pages.

  • Last visit to North Rim: Sep 2005
  • Intro Updated Oct 3, 2005
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Reviews (8)

Comments (3)

  • mim95's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2005 at 12:37 PM

    Great photos!!! Another great park that I like to visit some day...

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2005 at 12:31 PM

    Another fine new page with stunning photos!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2005 at 11:49 PM

    Oh, it really looks as if North Rim is better - not only for the less tourists crawling all over :-)


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