"A Different View From The North Rim" North Rim by mikehanneman

North Rim Travel Guide: 42 reviews and 88 photos

The North Rim.....A Different Experience!

I wanted to experience the North Rim so I went for it! Having been to the South Rim of The Grand Canyon many times I was curious about the North Rim.

My opinion of the North Rim is quite different than the South Rim. If you want some solitute and don't want the crowds, then the North Rim is a good choice. The elevation is 1,000 feet more and there are lots of trees in the Kaibab National Forest.

Things are a bit limited. The views are not as good as the South Rim. You are looking over the Canyon instead of into the Canyon.

There is only one trial to hike. The North Kaibab trail vs. the South Rim has a lot of trails. Yeah, of all the visitors to the Grand Canyon, only 10 to 15% go to the North Rim. Some suggest the location is the reason. I think it is because the views are not as spectacular as the South Rim.

The North Rim is a good place to take your loved ones if you just want to sit on the porch or sunroom in the lodge or the front of your cabin. I found it limited and boring.

It rained at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I had nothing to do since this site isn't very developed and doesn't offer many options other than to relax and watch a limited view of the Canyon.

Point Sublime Option

I asked a Ranger if I could succesfully get to Point Sublime with my rental Jeep. He said I needed a high clearance vehicle. Of course I questioned him on whether the Jeep would be OK and he hesitated. I said that was enough of an answer. I didn't want to have a problem in a remote area with a rental vehicle.

The road going to Point Sublime is just past (1 mile or less) the trailhead for the North Kaibab on the west side of the road.

I took the Point Sublime road about 4 miles until I came to an area that looked like I might not get through. At that point I turned the Jeep around and went to plan B.

I stopped by the one lane rough road and walked about 2 miles into the forest. That was probably the best time I had at the North Rim. Just Nature and myself. Don't get lost! I had a compass with me.

It started to thunder so I headed back to the Jeep and then the rain came. It was August 2006 and Monsoon season.

I felt sorry for the people that had hiked down into the Canyon via the North Kaibab trail. I told them it was going to rain but they just kept going anyway. It's easy to keep decending into the Canyon because with every turn you make the Canyon invites you to see a new view or a different vantage point that is irresistable.

I went to the Saloon and had a couple of beers. Wow did it rain!

The next day I found out the Point Sublime Trail (18 miles one way) had been washed out. The road already had boulders in it and big holes. Thank God I didn't try to go to the 18 miles!

Imperial Point and Cape Royal

A couple of miles prior to getting to the North Rim Lodge, there is a turn off to go to Cape Royal or Imperial Point.

It was only like 5 miles or so to go to Imperial Point so I decided to head that way. The road to Cape Royal is longer and more difficult.

It was a nice drive and provided a lookout down into the Canyon prior to the North Rim area. A Ranger told me that a road a few miles north will take you east to a lookout where you can see the Colorado River and Marble Canyon. It was too rainy for me to go.

Out of 500 units through Xanterra at the North Rim, I had the somewhat unpleasant experience of staying in their "motel."

The motel consists of 20 rooms and is too small. I could barely fit in the bathroom (stool) area. The rest of the cabins looked great. People were sitting on their front porches relaxing. Book far enough ahead to get a cabin. The good cabins were only $5.00 to 15.00 more.

Look at my Jocab Lake aricle for a special off the road (a few hundred feet) treat! I wrote an article on Page, AZ that is close to the North Rim and shouldn't be missed either.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not as many people, cooler than the south rim & lots of forest
  • Cons:Harder to get to, not as much to do (trails, lookouts) & the views are not as good as the south rim.
  • In a nutshell:The north rim is a good uncongested, quiet place to relax.
  • Last visit to North Rim: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (12)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    On my trip I enjoyed the North Rim more than the crowded south. You did a wonderful indepth presentation of the area and its sites, and hidden spots. The pictures are very nice.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Hi Mike, Happy Birthday today - how have you been - I have to come back and see some more of your excellent pages here on these amazing beauty spots! All the best and keep enjoying your days ahead!

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Hi Mike. Great page, I have been wanting to see the North Rim for quite some time. Hope to get there this summer.

  • St_Vincent's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    Looks like a great adventure Mike. Very well written, I enjoyed reading all about it.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2008 at 5:59 AM

    Nice shots of the canyons north rim. The majority of visitors go to the south rim (myself included). But a small percentage do go to the north. My step-father did.

  • Maria250's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2008 at 9:50 AM

    Great read on Jacob Lake Lookout Tower (& Mark)!! Thank you for sharing.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Mike, interesting little page with brilliant photos here.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    You offer some wonderful tips, and idea Mike. It looks absolutely amazing. Steakhouse you say?...I am there!!!

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    I miss the north rim! Thanks for sharing!! I hope the new year is going well so far!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2007 at 9:01 PM

    Interesting tips on North Rim. Went there too but just to the Visitor Center and nearby views. Cheers, SL


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