Louise Speaks: Many people don’t know that there are actually 4 different entrances to the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is the side that is visited the most and is the most commercialized. The West Rim is the newest attraction of the Grand Canyon and is where the new Skywalk is located. The Skywalk is on the Indian Reservation so has different rules and regulations. The East Rim is actually part of the South Rim but has it’s own entrance. I have blogged about each side separately so you’ll have to read all the blogs and then you can decide which side is best for you when you plan your trip to the Grand Canyon.
Today being a holiday, and the fact that we live in Arizona, we are taking a day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This side is actually the furthest away as you literally have to drive around the canyon. Thelma has been here before, but until we started traveling, I never knew there were other sides to the canyon but the South Rim. Every time I had company and we did the tourist thing, it was always to the South Rim. So today I’m in for a treat and a new experience.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is sometimes referred to as the “other” Grand Canyon, and receives about only 10% of Grand Canyon visitors. This could be due to the distance and having to drive around the canyon to get there. The North Rim has an average elevation of 8,000 feet and offers views of the canyon from a higher vantage, with it’s sub-alpine climate of blue spruce trees, Douglas fir trees, colorful lupines and grassland meadows. Just walking around you can see Kaibab squirrels, goshawks, porcupines, mule deer and elk. There are many hiking trails so that you can hike along the rim or into the canyon. Viewpoints on the North Rim provide memorable opportunities to look across the expanse of the canyon. Point Imperial and Cape Royal are reached via a winding scenic drive. The trip to both points, with short walks at each and several stops at pullouts along the way, can easily take half a day. Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet, overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Cape Royal provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon view. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is a popular destination to view sunrises and sunsets. We did not elect to visit these points but it would be a great adventure for those wanting to see the North Rim from different angles.
There is also lodging at the North Rim at the Grand Canyon Lodge as well as individual cabins right on the edge of the canyon walkway. The lodge has an on-site restaurant that features breathtaking views and great food. The rustic cabins are individual cabins, right on the edge of the canyon. You can sit on the porch and watch sunrises or sunsets right over the canyon. The lodge is in a more business like area. Be aware however, that reservations for both the lodge and the cabins could require a 13 month advance notice.
I find the North Rim more primitive of all sides of the Grand Canyon. It could be the location or the journey of getting to the North Rim. Although off the beaten path, there is no view more spectacular than the Grand Canyon, no matter what side of the canyon you are standing on. I have come to the conclusion, that no view of the Canyon could ever receive a rating of less than an A. The Grand Canyon from any side has got to be on everyone’s bucket list.