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North Rim

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon North Rim
Getting There
The River
East Rim
West Rim
Elsewhere, on the Backpacking page, we discuss visiting the North Rim by hiking there. But you can also drive there. There's a lot to see on the way, and a lot more to see once you get there. It is definitely worth visiting. The drive around is a nonstop five hour trip and six hours if you stop for lunch and a few sights along the way. You lose the backpacking trip's inner canyon experience but you have a vehicle with you, allowing you to drive to various points that you can't get to on foot. Once you reach the North Rim, you'll immediately notice it's 100% opposite the South Rim in every way. It has a single lodge (below left) surrounded by cabins and a campground. Other lodging is out of the park. It has one dining hall. Other restaurants are outside the park. The views are quite different, as seen at right. Most of the really massive formations ("temples") in the Grand Canyon are north of the river, so from the North Rim you're much closer to them. The North Rim is a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, so with a good pair of binoculars you find yourself looking down on El Tovar, the South Rim Trail and Grand Canyon Village. With that higher elevation comes a different ecology. The Coconino Forest on the South Rim is mostly pine. The Kaibab Forest on the North Rim is primarily aspen. The North Rim is not crowded at all. It is so hard to get to that only dedicated Canyon visitors bother. The result is a very calm, quiet, unhurried atmosphere. It's a lot colder on the North Rim. Even in Summer, nights get chilly. These cabins don't need air conditioning. There's no South Rim Trail here, snaking along the edge for five miles. But there are numerous spectacular overlooks. There are not the six major trails here descending into the Canyon. There's only one, the North Kaibab. But there are several trails leading through the forest to various overlooks. There are other rim to river trails, but they're extremely rugged and not for beginners. The North Rim has another huge advantage : it's within 90 minutes of two other magnificent national parks, Zion and Bryce, plus the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. So while you should stay at the lodges or cabins there and spend several days exploring those parks in their own right, if you're pressed for time, you could squeeze in day trips, driving over for lunch in their lodges with several hours to drive through and hike a little. Grand Canyon North Rim
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