North Rim – Paradise at the Grand Canyon

Too many superlatives come to mind when trying to describe the Grand Canyon. It has to be seen to be believed as photos just don’t do it justice.

Seeing the Grand Canyon National Park is a must regardless of which entrance you visit through. But what most visitors don’t realize is that the less visited North Rim of the Grand Canyon is paradise: Fewer to no crowds, stunning views, easy parking, easy or challenging hikes (depending upon your preference), and multiple breathtaking overlooks. The weather is much cooler on the North Rim than on the Grand Canyon South Rim.

If you have the ability to choose, and the willingness to drive potentially 3-4 hours out of the way, you will not be disappointed. You can go to the North Rim during the height of tourist season, and still find the solitude you desire while looking out at possibly the most magnificent sight on the planet. There are several great trails if you’re interested in some easy hiking – the rangers are very helpful and will suggest good hikes to try. The North Rim is truly an untapped wonder.

The park’s buffalos are an additional bonus. They hang out very near the road on the way into the park from Jacob Lake. Plan for a little extra time to pull over and watch for a while. Keep your cameras handy!

The perspective on the North Rim is quite different both night and day. During the day, the shadows work differently, at times giving a perspective that you don’t get from the south rim. At night, there is even less ambient light which makes for far better sky viewing.

Food can be an issue as there is only one dining room, one cafeteria style restaurant and one bar. The prices are about what you would expect.

Parking is easy and there is a picnic area set up a short drive from the main lodge that even has grills available.

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Standing at the North Rim will make you realize just how “insignificant” we are in the big scheme of things. The view highlights that the problems we encounter daily are not so severe after all when you consider the time it took to create this wonderland. Take a deep breath and enjoy the view!

Additional North Rim info:

• The North Rim officially opens on May 15 and closes on October 15.

• Due to its higher elevation, the North Rim is much cooler during the summer months and much colder during the winter than the South Rim. Early and late in the season, the highs are in the upper 60s and lows in the 40s. In the mid season, you can expect highs in the 80s with lows in the 60s.

• The Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim is the only lodging located within the National Park. The next closest lodging facilities are the Kaibab Lodge (928-638-2389), located 18 miles from the Lodge and Jacob Lake Inn (928-643-7232), located 45 miles from the Lodge. Rates for the Grand Canyon Lodge range from $116 to $192. Call Forever Resorts at 877-386-4383 or visit

• It is recommended to make lodging reservations at least 6 months to a year in advance.

• A campground is about a mile up the road from the lodge. To make reservations please visit the website or call 877-444-6777.

• Cell phone reception is limited at the North Rim.

• The North Rim provides trails for beginners to the most avid hikers.

• Hour-long mule rides are available at $40 per person. Reserve a ride in advance by calling 435-679-8665.

• Daily ranger programs are available for kids and are a fun way to experience the canyon.