The Grand Canyon’s North Rim

Most people who visit the Grand Canyon have seen the wonder from the South Rim along with a couple thousand of their closest friends but the Canyon’s lesser known North Rim offers a different perspective, a quieter experience and a more exclusive feel.

The North Rim is open from May 15th-mid October as opposed to the North’s year round schedule but the parking lots, the lodging and the visitor’s center is much less congested. The view offered from the North Rim is absolutely beautiful and give you a chance to see the immense amount of people on the other side staring back at you. Since it is less crowded, make sure that you reserve your lodging ahead of time. The hotels offered are much smaller and tend to fill up quickly, especially in the summer months. But, there is plenty of camping options available if you’re the more adventurous type. 

The North Rim is also home to the glass walkway that is vertigo-inducing but offers an unparalleled view from above the canyon floor. Look straight down to see the Colorado River winding through the etched canyon. Another interesting way to see the canyon is to take a mule ride to the canyon floor and back up. Although prices can be a little expensive in the summer, it’s definitely worth while. If you have a couple hours to spare, think about taking a once in a lifetime helicopter ride all around the canyon.

There are events everyday on the North Rim just as there is on the South Rim. Look for Ranger talks and guided tours that give a you an inside look at the canyon and it’s history. There are talks and tours every day until about 8pm. There are topics such as history, geology and biology that can be explored. There are also a multitude of trails that you are free to investigate and explore. If you’re just wanting to get a mild taste of the canyon trails there are options like the Bright Angel Point Trail that is only a half mile round trip. The trails range from a half mile to 10 miles one way on the Arizona Trail. If you’re looking for something in between, try the Transept Trail, it’s 3 miles round trip and offers spectacular views.

The National Park Service recently added water bottle refilling stations all along the trails to help reduce the amount of litter and for your hiking convenience. If you’re not interested in trails, try white water rafting. You can just get your feet wet with a very mild half day trip or if you’re an enthusiast, you can ride the majority of the Colorado River for 18 days and try your hand at all of the rapids. Whatever your level, there’s an option for everyone.

Although the Grand Canyon is awe-inspiring at any angle, the North Rim is a lesser known option that offers the same view without so much of the hassle.

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