Time spent at the North Rim of Grand Canyon is like no other adventure you’ll ever experience due to the remote wilderness and incredible canyon views! These and other highlights are perfect reasons to start planning a trip to Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Removed from the tourism magnet of the South Rim by a 10-mile-wide gash in the earth, the North Rim’s relatively quiet atmosphere allows hikers to enjoy the Grand Canyon without dodging tour buses and family photo shoots.
The Kaibab Plateau, through which the Grand Canyon was carved by the mighty waters of the Colorado River, is sloped toward the south, creating a different erosion pattern on the walls of the North Rim than on the South Rim. This geologic uniquity allows North Rim visitors to view South Rim’s towering and colorful cliffs from the best vantage point possible, the back patio of the North Rim Grand Canyon Lodge.
If your goal is to see the Grand Canyon through the windows and interpretive displays of a Visitor’s Center, the North Rim is not for you. Its remote location and limited open season limit the amount of development the park can and will manage. Amenities include one 140-cabin lodge, one restaurant (plus a pizza place with basic pre-made sandwiches, and some limited options at the amazing Rough Rider Saloon), one 100-site campground, and a few trails.
14 miles one-way to Phantom Ranch.
Shorter popular options on this trail include hiking to Supai Tunnel at 1.7 miles one-way (this is the first water re-supply location), and Roaring Springs at 3 miles one-way. Check out this NPS trail guide to learn more.
5 miles one-way to beautiful Widforss Point and including 2.5 miles along the rim of the canyon; learn more with this trail guide.
2 miles one-way; trailhead is located at the end of the Cape Royal Road and is little visited.
Whether you are a camper or prefer to sleep indoors, the accommodations at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are one of its most charming components and hearken back to its still-vibrant history of early- to mid-century western travel and tourism. Cabins at the North Rim are basic, amounting to just a bathroom (with shower, no tub), beds, a desk, and heat. 3 cabin sizes are available, from the tiny Frontier with space for 2-3 people (barely), to the Pioneers with space for 2 adults plus a bunk bed and futon to house a family. My personal favorites are the mid-sized Western Cabins, with two queen beds and beautifully quaint porches, complete with rocking chairs. Reservations are available 13 months in advance by calling Forever Resorts at 877-386-4383 or going online.
When you finish your day of epic Grand Canyon hiking, I recommend a dinner reservation for around sunset time at the Grand Canyon Lodge’s dining room (actually, make your reservation for about 30 minutes before the start of sunset since service is notoriously slow). Or enjoy an early or late dinner, and secure one of the wooden Adirondack chairs on the secluded back patio of the lodge to watch the sunset. Make sure to stay up past your bedtime on new-moon nights for Star Parties where amateur astronomers set up telescopes to view the sky’s most spectacular sights!
Whether looking for the quieter side of Grand Canyon, or wanting something different than the usual tour bus stop, Grand Canyon’s North Rim is worth the long drive. Click here to find more information on all there is to see and do at the North Rim.