Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park usually stick to the South Rim of the canyon, but both the canyon and the park itself have more to offer for the enterprising visitor. The South Rim has plenty to offer, and for many, its combination of family-friendly activities and accommodations are perfect, but for visitors that want to truly connect with nature in solitude, the North Rim offers more opportunities to get up close and personal with the canyon and the wildlife that surrounds it.
Many believe that the North Rim is home to the most authentic, purest Grand Canyon experience, second only to the experience of spending days on the canyon floor. If you’ve visited the South Rim, you’ve likely seen the North Rim – it can be seen on the horizon, towering 1,000 feet above the South Rim 10 miles into the distance. But while visiting the South Rim of the canyon is accessible enough, the North Rim requires more commitment – and time – to see.
The North Rim may only be about 10 miles away, but the road there twists and turns, transforming the trip into a 215 mile ordeal. Is the North Rim worth the trip? The vast majority of visitors seem to think so, and that’s because…
1.) Everyone There Loves the Canyon
While the South Rim is the more “touristy” side of the park, Grand Canyon North Rim is typically populated by nature enthusiasts – the kind of people willing to make reservations months in advance and drive 200+ miles to enjoy the solitude and authenticity of the North Rim.
2.) You’re Free to Explore
The South Rim offers a wide range of excellent guided tours and educational programs, but if you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, the North Rim gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace, education visitors through unobtrusive signs instead of ever-present guides.
3.) You Can Hike 14 Miles into the Canyon
The North Kaibab Trail is one of the most beloved and memorable trails in the entire park, and the only way to enjoy this challenging descent into the canyon is to visit the North Rim. Luckily, this trail starts only 1.5 miles from the Grand Canyon Lodge. Speaking of which…
4.) The Grand Canyon Lodge is Wonderful
The Grand Canyon Lodge is such an integral part of the North Rim experience that it’s almost impossible to talk about Grand Canyon lodging without mentioning it. You’ll need an advance reservation if you’re planning on staying here, but the more you learn about the lodge, the more you’ll realize that it’s well worth the additional wait. From the connected gourmet restaurant to the immense indoor veranda to the presentations and the people, this is one of the best places to stay in the canyon.
5.) The North Rim Offers Complete Tranquility
While it’s completely possible to soul-search and contemplate existence while gazing over the South Rim, you’ll likely have to do so with a backdrop of other visitors. The North Rim is less crowded, giving you more opportunities to stare out at the canyon in complete solitude.
What’s your favorite thing about the North Rim? If you’ve never been, what are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments section below, and call or click today for more information on the Grand Canyon National Park!