The North Rim of Grand Canyon seldom sees more than ten percent of the number of visitors that go to the South Rim. This treasure takes time to visit because it is off the beaten path of most travelers. The journey from the South Rim to the North Rim takes roughly five hours. And once there, the North Rim has only one hotel, a single restaurant, and just one campground. But it does have an authentic cowboy saloon.
It’s colder at night than the South Rim, being 1,000 feet higher in elevation. Point Imperial, the highest point in Grand Canyon National Park, sits at 8,803 above sea level. Point Imperial with its view of a regal spire is a must-visit stop on the North Rim.
For those with hiking boots and a desire to see off-the-beaten-path scenery, take a stroll down one of several trails.
- Widforss Trail offers oblique views into the Canyon with a beautiful amble through a diverse forest.
- North Kaibab Trail takes you a short distance down to the Coconino Overlook. Here, from a broad shelf of white sandstone, you will see numerous cliffs leading your eye to the depths of the Canyon.
- Transept Trail leaves from the campground for an easy walk with stunning rim-side views finishing at the Grand Canyon Lodge.
- Add to that list short hikes to Bright Angel Point, Angels Window, and Cape Royal.
The 23-mile drive from the Grand Canyon Lodge headquarters area to Cape Royal takes about 45 minutes or more. Catching sunrise or sunset, as in the photo above, requires a drive in the dark on the winding, narrow road. Stay alert during multiple hairpin turns where wildlife that may stray into your lane.
But the effort to reach Cape Royal is well worth it. The spectacular view of Wotans Throne catching golden-hour light show sets the imagination wild. Feel the bright oranges, reds, and yellows transport you to another time eons in the past. It seems as if you’re witnessing the molten colors of the inner Earth, primal light displayed on cliff faces descending below you. The sheer limestone cliffs hold the fiery light just long enough to dream of the long ago past of our ancient planet, and then the hot color is gone.