This was a rather grueling hike down the mountain-and then of course back up. It took close to 2 hours for a 6 miles round trip. I went to and past the Supai tunnel for a ways. Elevation is 1400 feet; that is what made it moderately difficult. There also was a lot of loose dirt and clay and ruts in the trail form the mules traversing down this also. Beside that-have you ever smelled mule urine and piles in a confined area? It stinks to a point of almost throwing up, or passing out. I have a weak stomach, but there was a lot of droppings on the trail. I would not like to be on it during or after a rain. You literally would be walking in it.
Though the viewpoints close to the North Rim Lodge are impressive, to get a truly different flavor, take the scenic drive out to Cape Royal but give yourself ample time as it's 23 miles from the North Rim Visitor Center. There are some scenic stops along the way like Roosevelt Point and Wahalia Point but the best is the finale. Cape Royal is accessed via a half mile level hike which takes in the gorgeous Angel's Window. For a great photo, have your party head over to the top of the Window and have one remain on the trail to take a photo of them. We did this early morning in early June and did not see one other person on this very scenic trail. It was hard to believe we were in the Grand Canyon National Park!
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is like visiting another National Park altogether. To give you an idea, it's over 200 miles and more importantly nearly five hours away by car. It also sits at about 2000 feet higher in elevation. For that reason, it opens much later and closes earlier in the year. We had originally wanted to hike rim to rim on our backcountry trip but we would not have been able to get a shuttle back as the North Rim's access road was still closed when we were there in early May. You would have to hike all the way back across or hike out of the park on the North side! We wound up going up to Utah and a bit of Colorado for a little over a month and returned to the North Rim in early June. The viewpoints were just as beautiful as those on the South Rim and actually have a more intimate feeling as you are closer to the mesas and plateaus jutting up. But it does not have quite the expansive feel as from the South Rim so perhaps not as big looking. The people there seem more into it and I guess that would be the case as it takes some more effort to get there. Most would be return visitors. I've never met anyone that had just been to the North Rim.
The long drive to the end of the Walhalla Peninsula is rewarded by the views from this tip top aerie. First there is Angel Window, and then there is the river far below. Then there with binoculars you can see the Desert View tower far across the wide chasm between us.
This is a must if you come to the North Rim.
The North Rim is the only one I knew for years. To me it is the epitome of a western forest. When we studied forests in school, it was the Kaibab forest of the North Rim that came to my mind. There is only one lodge here, along with the campground. Trails offer wonderful views of the canyon which is at its widest. The thing to remember though is that from the lodge and the area around it you do not see the river, just the miles and miles of the effects of the river, the erosion which continues. The last time we were there camping you could hear music. I walked towards it. A man with a trumpet was playing "Ode to the Common Man" at sunset on the edge of the canyon. He said, "I'd dreamed of doing that for years". It was wonderful. The canyon just has that kind of effect.
there are a number of things to do other than just to take in the magnificant beauty of this work of nature. hiking, river rafting, rock climbing and wildlife viewing are all options when visiting the grand canyon national park. the grand canyon is a must see site in the southwestern united states.
On my third trip to Grand Canyon, we were driving from Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park and so it was along the way to the Northern Rim entrance - from Highway 89 and turning into scenic Highway 67 which cuts through Kiabab National Forest. This is a flat forested land that suddenly open into Grand Canyon.
Point Imperial and Toroweap Overlook are two vista points. Drop by the visitor's center. Elevation in the Northern Rim is over 8,000 m, a thousand meter higher than the Southern Rim and so beware that this entrance could be closed with winter snow or by December 1.
Less crowded and a different scenery from Southern Rim.
Well, they are all over on the other side - the South Rim - fighting for parking in the turnouts , of course. The North Rim is 1200 feet higher and ten miles away as the eagle soars. Ten bird miles, however, equal 215 car miles! Most visitors to the Grand Canyon are there for only a day or two and such a drive is simply out of the question. Which rim is better? As long as crowds flock to the South, the North Rim wins, hands down.
A visit to North Rim is similar to the South, driving to various view points. Since there are not the crowds of the South Rim, there aren't as many amenities - a lodge and campground at North Rim with a few picnic tables at different vista points along the Cape Royal road. You can stay nearby outside the Park at Jack Lake or within and hour and half lie towns like Marble Canyon, Page, Fredonia or Kanab.
The North Rim is further back from the river than the South. Many more eroded buttes and spires on this side with extravagant names to attract your attention. Any trip to the North Rim should include a drive out to Cape Royal and Point Imperial. Time of day is more important for the would-be photographer on the North than the South Rim as many pictures have the potential to be shot into the sun. Early morning and late afternoon remain prime time. Cape Royal and maybe Point Sublime are two viewpoints where you could spend an entire day watching colors and light interplay and change.
Snows limit the season from mid-May to mid-October. If you are making the 'Grand circle' including Zion and Bryce Canyon with the Grand, I see no reason to drive all the way over to the South Rim when the views from the North are truly more Grand.
Fewer visitors make the trip to the North Rim, making it a less crowded and commercialized place to visit. About 10% of the total visitors to the Grand Canyon actually make it to the North Rim. The elevation is highed (about 8,000 feet) and the temperatures at the top are cooler than the south rim. The road leading to the North Rim is closed from late Nov-early December until mid-May due to snowfall
North Rim Dayhikes from the North Kaibab Trail
Coconino Overlook - 3 miles roundtrip.
Supai Tunnel - 4 miles roundtrip.
Roaring Springs - 9.4 miles roundtrip.
Cottonwood Camp - 13.8 miles roundtrip.
Ribbon Falls - 16.8 miles roundtrip
The SOUTH RIM is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Services are available and facilities are open year round.
Visitor services and facilities inside the national park on the NORTH RIM are only open from mid-May to mid-October. Weather permitting, the North Rim is open for day use only following the close of facilities in mid-October. During this time there are no services or overnight facilities available inside the park. The road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim (Highway 67) is subject to closure with little or no notice during this interval and then remains closed until mid-May.
For the 2003 season, visitor services and facilities inside the national park on the North Rim will be open from May 10 - October 14, 2003.