Self-Guided Tour of Grand Canyon’s North Rim
THEPARKGUIDE will soon release a BETA tour of the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It will be exclusively available for download through the TravelStorys App for a $9.99 BETA price.
The Canyon: 1 mile deep, 10 miles wide, and 277 miles long. “Grand” does not fully communicate the scale, colors, history, span of geological time, and sheer sense of awe that you will feel when you look over the edge.
The Tour: Includes all of the North Rim’s main roads, as well as the road leading to it from the north park entrance. The tour gives you detailed information about views, stops, food, parking, services, hotels, campgrounds, trailheads and bathrooms! It includes the Visitor Center, The Lodge, Backcountry Information Center and the drive to Cape Royal. As you drive, you will be encouraged to get out of your car and interact with the park to see the incredible canyon itself, the Colorado river, colorful geology, and historic buildings. There are rangers to ask questions, outdoor displays to read, and trails for every level of fitness. Go at your own pace, and see it all!
The Difference: This is the North Rim. It gets 1/10 of the visitor traffic that the South Rim does. It is smaller, quieter, cooler (because it is an extra 1,000 feet higher) and the pace is slower. It does not have nearly as many amenities or services, and it is only open May – October, but it is every bit as satisfying. If you are looking for a more relaxing way to see the canyon, this is the right choice.
Driving: The roads give you excellent access to the views, trail and facilities along the rim, but there is also a 20 mile drive to Cape Royal that passes through an interesting variety of biotic communities on the way to the end of the plateau – in the middle of the canyon. The geology, plants and animals change along the way because of the change in altitude and the influence of the canyon on the weather patterns.
Things To Know:
- When is the North Rim open? The North Rim Season (full services) is open between May 15 and October 15, including the Lodge and the campground. Between October 15 and October 31, the North Rim is open for Day Use Only (unless you have a reservation to camp in the North Rim Campground). Between November 1 and November 30, it is open for Day Use only. During winter months, the entire North Rim closes because of snow.
- Planning is important: Check the Park’s Planning Page to get detailed information about how to start planning your trip to the North Rim.
- Time: Because of the drive to get there, most people spend at least a full day exploring the North Rim. Even better and more relaxing is to stay at the Lodge or campground. If you do not have that kind of time, there are helpful suggestions about what to see at the Visitor Center. It is a great place to start.
- Altitude: The North Rim roads and trails are at an average altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 m), so be prepared to get out of breath quickly and for the temperatures to be lower than you expect. It will also cool off very quickly in the evening. Point Imperial is the highest point in the park, at 8,803 feet, and is just an 11 mile drive from the Lodge.
- Distances: The North Rim Visitor Center is 44 miles from Jacob Lake, AZ, only 111 miles from Zion National Park, and 210 from the South Rim.
- Cost: The normal park entrance fees apply. If you are going to visit more than two national parks this year, THEPARKGUIDE recommends that you purchase the Annual Pass, it is the best deal by far.
Amenities Along the Rim:
- Park Ranger Programs: These are one of the best sources of information and entertainment on the rim! Highly recommended, and there are several types available, from amphitheater presentations to guided walks.
- Food and lodging are only available at the Lodge, the campground and the Camper Store, but reservations are difficult to get! Start looking at least a year in advance.
- The Visitor Center can all provide more information on specific points of interest. To find them, see the map.
- Mule Rides: area fantastic way to get into the canyon without risking over-exertion. The sure-footed and sweet-dispositioned mules have been up and down the trails many times. They are old-hands that you can trust.
- Raft Trips: Half-day and one-day raft trips on the Colorado River are available below Glen Canyon Dam. The trips are not offered during the winter months. Inquire at the front desk of any lodging in the park.
- Picnic areas may be found in several places on the rim, including many along the road to Cape Royal.
- Gasoline is conveniently available just north of the Visitor Center/Lodge area.
Grand Canyon National Park – General Information: