"The path less trodden" Grand Canyon by toonsarah
Grand Canyon Travel Guide: 933 reviews and 3,112 photos
Only 10% of visitors to the Grand Canyon visit its North Rim, which to us sounded like a good reason to go there, and so it proved to be. Harder to reach, and closed completely in winter (its higher elevation means plenty of snow), it is well worth the planning and little bit of effort needed to get there.
We arrived on an afternoon in late June. The snow we’d seen on a truck earlier that day in Hurricane, UT, should have given us a hint of what we were to find, but we were nevertheless surprised to see “snow showers” chalked up on the board at the entry station. But on the long winding road from there to the Lodge where we were to stay, perched on the rim itself, we experienced just a few drops of sleety rain – maybe the forecast was wrong?
They say you never forget your first sight of the Grand Canyon. We parked up near the Lodge, went inside, and were at once struck speechless by the sight that greeted us. Immediately opposite the entrance of the lodge is a huge window directly overlooking the Canyon. The weather was worsening and black clouds combined with swirls of icy rain to give the most dramatic of effects.
Having checked in we headed for our little cabin, about five minute’s walk from the lodge itself. There we hurriedly piled on every one of the few jumpers we had packed with us and headed back to the canyon, which drew us like a magnet. Out on the terraces either side of the lodge we gazed at the sight. The icy rain had become first sleet and then snow, and the winds howling through the canyon created what was close to a blizzard. Despite the cold we were transfixed, and took photo after photo until our frozen hands could no longer grip the cameras safely. At this point we retired to the shelter of the lodge and gazed some more through that huge window while warming ourselves with a cup of coffee.
Later that evening we ate in the lodge’s dining room before settling to sleep in our cabin, which thankfully had an efficient stove. And the next morning we woke to a very different canyon. The bad weather had passed, leaving a pleasantly warm sunny day, so we were able to explore the North Rim properly.
A few days later our route took us to the much more crowded South Rim. Perhaps because of those crowds, or because we had experienced such magic on the North Rim, or because we had allowed less time for this part; whatever the reason, the South Rim appealed to us rather less. Nevertheless we enjoyed following the driving tour along the rim, pausing at various viewpoints – Desert View alone made it well worth the trip.
Our final view of the Grand Canyon came not from one of its rims but from the air. We took a short flight from an airfield north of Flagstaff which gave us a rather different perspective and a chance to really appreciate the huge scale of this geological marvel. They don’t call it Grand for nothing!
Our visit here was way back in 1993. Memories are hazy and the old photos a bit the worse for wear. But it was a special trip and one I was keen to document for VT. The tips are a bit short on facts perhaps, but I hope there’s enough information here to inspire you to visit the Grand Canyon if you haven’t already done so, or to bring back your memories of it if you have.
- In a nutshell:Please don't ignore the wonders of the North Rim
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