The North Rim is over 8000 feet/2438 m above sea level. It is 1000 feet higher than the South Rim, and visitors with heart or respiratory issues may have a problem visiting it. It is also quite isolated, but the higher elevation means that it is cooler there. The North Rim is 212 miles by road from the South Rim.
The South Rim is open 365 days a year. The road from Jacob Lake (Highway 67) which goes to the North Rim is closed from the first heavy snow in November or early December to mid-May. May and October can be some of the driest months, although snowstorms may occur.
There are three developed scenic viewpoint areas on the North Rim - Point Imperial, and Cape Royal which together can take half a day, and Point Sublime, the western-most of the North Rim viewpoints. The rough, two-hour (one-way) trip (4 wheel drive required) to this remote point is rewarded by a view that lives up to its name. Inquire about road conditions and possible closures before heading out.
The North Rim is higher (at 8000 feet), greener, cooler and receives only one tenth of the number of visitors that the south rim receives. It is a 5 hour drive to reach the North Rim from the South Rim, however, if you are driving through southern Utah, it is only a short detour to visit the North Rim, 120 miles from Zion and 160 miles from Bryce.
We only spent a little over an hour at the North Rim and hiked to Bright Angel Point. Unfortunately it was almost noon, the light was poor and the snow had melted from the canyon walls. So, I was not as impressed by these views as the views from the South Rim, but perhaps that was due to bad timing!
Be aware that facilities at the North Rim are closed from Oct to May and the access road may be closed due to snow during these months.
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