North Rim, USA
Grand Canyon (Arizona) seen from the North Rim's Bright Angel Point.
it's certainly grand - the biggest canyon in the world of course -
the view is awesome and the silence inspiring, but from the North Rim the initial reaction after the long drive is 'Jeez, look at the size
of that!' followed by a rush to the short path along the (in this case
However, after a wander around in the afternoon, followed by
another walk early the next morning, when the scene was fundamentally
the same even though the sun was pointing a different way, and it was
impossible not to feel 'Is that it then?'
Bugcrew visited the Grand Canyon's North Rim. This
was probably a mistake for although there were far fewer visitors than on the
South Rim it was a hefty drive to get there and we believe the views
and activity options were far more limited.
Grand Canyon Lodge and (public) overlook on the North Rim.
The Canyon runs east-west direction for 27 miles, and is mostly about 10 miles wide. Your experience there will be determined by which rim you visit; they're just 24 miles apart as the crow flies but a distance of 200 miles by car.
The South Rim is easier to reach from Phoenix or Las Vegas and much more crowded, but has far more amenities. It's also open all year while the North Rim is inaccessible from mid-October to mid-May.
When you make advance reservations - a must in summer and smart in winter - it's worth staying inside the National Park (all in-park lodging is within eyeshot of, or within, the canyon). If you try to save a few bucks by staying on the strip just outside the park, you'l kick yourself when you get there.
The only lodging within the National Park on the North Rim is the Grand Canyon Lodge. Ask for one of the cabins rather than motel rooms. Cabins sleep from three to six people.
There are a variety of lodging options in-park on the South Rim, from the El Tovar, a grand hotel built in 1905 to the Bright Angel Lodge, a 1935 rustic, rim-side landmark (ask to stay in one of Bright Angel's detached log cabins.
short and less-than-inspiring trail running from Point Imperial on
the North Rim.
forest fires are incredibly destructive and much of the North Rim's
hinterland still looks like the Somme in 1917 even though the big
fire was several years previously.
We now think that our suggested Grand Circle tour would be improved by visiting the Grand Canyon's South Rim as the
last stop before returning to Las Vegas, in addition to doing some activities - a hike down to the canyon base for a start.
South Rim is about 1,000 feet (320m) lower and 10F hotter than the
North Rim, and considerably busier, with 90% of the canyon's visitors.
It's also open all year, but the North only from mid-May to mid-October.
Grand Canyon Lodge Lodge is the North Rim's only hotel, but beautifully situated and
apparently well managed. This and nearby campgrounds are in much
demand so, as usual, book ahead!
rim path is short but sweet and impressively - for a heavily litigious
society - unfenced.
When to go there
The Grand Canyon is a very busy, international attraction so it won't be a solitary experience; four to five million people visit every year, most of them in summer, when it's hot but especially hot if you're hiking up and down. On average, the canyon in August reaches 28C (82F) along the South Rim and 39C (103F) at the bottom. Go in winter: it's far less crowded, the air is clear, and it's not too cold.
Photos: Moab | Canyon de Chelly | Arches NP | Canyonlands | Capitol Reef | Monument Valley
Pictures | Las Vegas Pictures | USA Guide | SW USA Map | USA Tours