5 Reasons to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim

The Grand Canyon National Park is a stunning and majestic place that should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit in their lifetime. Over 5 Million people come from all over the world to see the vast gorge, but only 10 percent make it to the North Rim, which is over 8,000 feet in elevation.

I recently visited the Grand Canyon North and South Rim in Arizona this past October. Driving from the South Rim to the North Rim by automobile requires a 4.5-hour drive of 220 miles (354 km). I ended up splitting my trip to the Grand Canyon between two days, and visited the South Rim and then the following day the North Rim. If visitors aren’t sure if the driving is worth it, here are five reasons to make the trip:

Grand Canyon North Rim 11 w SIG

#1 Hiking

The North Rim has many trails, and unlike the paved trails on the South Rim, there are rustic trails that allow visitors to fully emerge into the natural habitat of the gorge. Skip standing in a line just to see a viewpoint and opt for a trail run along the ridge without the crowds. If you travel to the North Rim during the spring or fall (shoulder season), you’ll be pleasantly pleased to enjoy the exquisite views with solitude.

#2 Great Dining Options without the crowds 

Going to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim in the shoulder season also makes booking a reservation at Grand Canyon Lodge easier.  With an excellent view of the canyon overlooking Bright Angel Point, reservations are taken from May through Mid-October. The menu includes regional dishes as well as cuisine from the 1930s. There’s also a coffee and snack bar for grabbing food before heading out on a hike. The Deli offers pre-made salads and sandwiches throughout the day; all items are ready to go.

#3 Less Traffic, enjoy winding roads without the wait

With the long trip up to the North Rim, there’s much less traffic upon your arrival than at the South Rim. You can stop into the visitors center to pick up a map and head out to Point Imperial and Cape Royal; with short walks and places to stop, it will make for an entire day of smooth roads and winding scenic views that will leave you breathless.

Grand Canyon North Rim 20 w SIG

#4 Stunning Viewpoints not to be missed 

Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of the Grand Canyon. Cape Royal provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset. The sweeping turn of the Colorado River at Unkar Delta is framed through the natural arch of Angels Window. Look for the Desert View Watchtower across the canyon on the South Rim. This popular viewpoint is accessible via a paved, level trail.

#5 Maximize your time on the North Rim by renting a cabin for the night!

Since just driving to the North Rim is a long trip, make sure to get a cabin for the night so you can enjoy the rim in the morning too! The Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge offers guest rooms and cabins that can be booked 13 months in advance to guarantee your accommodations. I will do this on my next trip to the canyon because I plan to do a ton of hiking!

Visit DebSchell.com for more photographs. 

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