A North Rim Grand Canyon Trip
A lot of visitors to the United States opt for a Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas, but did you know this is actually only a small portion of the Canyon itself?
At almost 2000 square miles (4,926 km²), visitors can embark on a Grand Canyon trip to the North, West or South rim via accessible roads and purpose-built viewpoints. The Grand Canyon North Rim National Park is definitely worth stopping by for one of the best experiences of rural America.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open for half the year and there aren’t many amenities or visitors as a result. There is only one campsite and one non-camping option, the Grand Canyon Lodge. The lodge is only open as long as the park is, and the cabins book up months in advance.
Tourists flock in their hundreds of thousands to visit the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, the part which is closest to Las Vegas. A road trip to the North Rim will offer isolation and unspoiled views of one of the world’s greatest sights. You’ll even pass ‘Little Hollywood’ on your way in!
The never ending helicopter tours, bus trips and rental car traffic make the part of the Grand Canyon closest to Las Vegas crowded.
We always opt to veer off the beaten path and we took our Grand Canyon Trip to the North Rim in the middle of rural Arizona. We were not left disappointed.
Location of the Grand Canyon North Rim
The Grand Canyon North Rim can only be accessed via Route 67 and the entrance to the park is approximately 4 and a half hours away from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Though the North Rim isn’t as close to Las Vegas and other major cities, a trip there makes a scenic drive right by The Valley of Fire State Park and the Lake Mead Recreational Area which combine together to make a memorable Grand Canyon trip.
We suggest making a few days of it and stopping by Zion National Park and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument on your epic Grand Canyon trip, not many tourists staying in Las Vegas do this and it will offer an experience of the diverse western wilderness.
What to see at the Grand Canyon North Rim National Park
As well as the Grand Canyon itself, the Grand Canyon North rim has many features and a purpose built road that will allow you to see everything in the space of a day. We spent around 5 hours in the park and saw the following features:
Bright Angel Point
Bright Angel Point is the most popular viewpoint at the Grand Canyon North Rim. Many visitors come only for this viewpoint as it is reachable by road and close to the North Rim entrance.
A splendid pathway takes visitors to one of the best viewpoints in the entire world, overlooking a large section of one of the world’s natural wonders.
The 0.4 mile trail leads to the viewing area and the path itself offers some of the best views of the canyon.
The small trail is paved, but can be quite steep in a few areas and at an elevation of 8100ft, hikers should prepare for shortness of breath and careful treading.
Park Rangers can sometimes be found at Angel’s Point in the summer, they are there to answer questions and they offer free water to visitors should they need it.
The best view of the Grand Canyon at Angel’s Point is from the top of a small white limestone hill about ten feet above the end of the path. Tread carefully here and enjoy some of the best photograph opportunities you may ever see.
When standing at Bright Angel Point, if you look to the west side, you will see the end of The Transept, with Oza Butte rising above and Manu Temple on the backdrop. If you’re lucky, you may see incredible phenomena like this horizontal rainbow.
If you look to the south, a lot of the foreground is made up of the Bright Angel Canyon, shadowed by three prominent peaks named after Hindu deities – Deva Temple, Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple.
Looking East, the Walhalla Plateau occupies most of the landscape, with its bold alternating red and white slopes of different sandstone layers, with dotted vegetation giving it life.
Visitors should not go to the Bright Angel Viewpoint trail when thunderstorms are forecast. Exposed points along the rim attract lightning.
Be sure not to miss the very best viewpoint in the North Rim during your Grand Canyon trip.
Click here for more information on Bright Angel Point.
Point Imperial is the highest of the Grand Canyon North Rim viewpoints at 8,803ft.
The scenic drive to get to Point Imperial is longer than the other viewpoints, but worth it for the view of the cliff walls and a unique perspective of the Northern parts of the Grand Canyon.
Learn about the North Rim vs South at the Grand Canyon with the purposely placed educational signs discussing terrain and topographical features.
Walk on top of a natural arch within the Grand Canyon to a viewpoint with spectacular views of cliff drops and the miles of natural phenomena you probably won’t see anywhere else in the world.
The Angel’s Window was our favorite feature of the park because it offered a grand view of the canyon as well as a thrilling short hike to get to the viewpoint.
Whether you’re standing from a distance watching others enjoy the cliff edge walk, or you’re walking it yourself, the splendor of the Angel’s Window will take your breath away.
Stop by the Angel’s Window viewpoint for one of the best views of the Colorado River on your Grand Canyon trip.
Cape Royal Point and the Angel’s Window trails are both short offering multiple perspectives on the Angel’s Window.
The view here is truly breathtaking. Take a while to soak it all in. You are standing inside one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.
Thought the Angel’s Window looks a little daunting from a distance, there are safety rails provided for visitors to safely enjoy some of the best views in the world.
The railings also help those who have a fear of heights.
Be careful where you tread at the Angel’s Window and be mindful with children/service pets.
A variety of birds can be found at the Grand Canyon North Rim, we managed to spot a beautiful Grouse right beside the grassy area by Cape Royal Point, at least we think it was a grouse, let us know if we’re wrong in the comments below.
Pick up a park map at the North Rim Visitor’s center for a full list of bird breeds that have previously been spotted.
Be careful as you drive, the Grand Canyon North Rim attracts herds of Bison during the warmer months, remember, keep a safe distance from these gentle giants to avoid injury.
Take a moment to safely admire the herds, particularly in late Spring/early Summer where the babies can be seen.
We hope you enjoy the Grand Canyon North Rim as much as we did.
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