Grand Canyon North Rim Hiking
North Rim Hiking
It's quiet at the North Rim; breath taking quiet at times. Take a moment and stand alone at Bright Angel Point, located behind the Grand Canyon Lodge, and just listen. You can hear the wind whipping through the canyon and if you listen carefully you can even hear Roaring Springs. There is not a better place to experience the sunrise or sunset at the Grand Canyon than Bright Angel Point. Half the fun of visiting the North Rim is getting there. Rejoice in the long drive to the North Rim where winter snow is soaked up by a thirsty earth. This moisture that is abundant for the plants of the North Rim is a scarce prize for humans, harsh and wonderful; keeping encroaching commercialism far from the park boundaries. Hiking at the North Rim is an experience to capture and always remember. Escape the crowds and enjoy the beauty of one of the great wonders of the natural world, Grand Canyon National park.
Hiking the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon has the highest concentration of plateau-top trails in the Grand Canyon which is ideal if hiking up and down very steep trails is not what you have in mind, but if you do the North Rim can fill that bill as well.
Cape Royal Trail
.6 mile round- trip
The three best views at the Grand Canyon are all on the North Rim and Cape Royal is among the big three! The other two are much harder to get to: Tuweep and Point Sublime. Cape Royal's paved path has little elevation change so it is good for baby strollers and wheelchairs. If your time is limited in the Grand Canyon and you only have time to hike one trail, then this is the one to choose. One of the highlights is walking on top of Angels Window where the view of the Colorado River and the canyon is spectacular. Weddings are often held in the picnic area at the start of this hike.
Bright Angel Point
.05 miles round-trip
This paved trail leads down to a spectacular view point of the Grand Canyon. The point was named by John Wesley Powell, after a character in Milton's "Paradise Lost",
an epic poem about original sin, the fall of man and the loss of innocence. If you look closely at the rocks at the end of the trail, crinoid fossils and shells can be seen in the Kaibab limestone.
North Kaibab Trail
10 miles round-trip
The North Kaibab Trail descends beneath the rim, through the forest into Roaring Springs Canyon, then along Bright Angel Creek to the Colorado River. Coconio Overlook is .75 mile below the rim, where hikers often turn around. Supai Tunnel is 1.8 miles below the rim, which can be another destination if you want to hike a bit more. It is 4.7 miles from the rim to Roaring Springs and it's another .25 mile to hike to the spring. This is as far as hikers should attempt to go and be able to return in one day. Backpackers can continue on the North Kaibab Trail all the way to the Colorado River and to Phantom Ranch where there is camping, food and lodging.
Ken Patrick Trail
10 miles round-trip
This trail begins at the Point Imperial parking lot which is the highest place in the Grand Canyon that can be reached by car. There is a three mile segment between Point Imperial and the Cape Royal Scenic Drive that follows the plateau rim, the rest of the path is through the forest ending at the North Kaibab Trailhead.
Uncle Jim Trail
3.9 mile round-trip
The Uncle Jim Trail is shared with mules, but when the concession ends in October the path becomes a nice hiking trail. The first section offers a great view of Roaring Springs and the North Kaibab Trail. Much of the trail is through the forest leading to an overlook of the canyon. Uncle Jim Ownes was the game warden for the U.S. Forest Service at the Grand Canyon in the early 1900's.
Detailed Hiking Guide
Detailed Backpacking Guide
3.0 mile round-trip
This trail follows the rim, starting at the north corner of the Grand Canyon Lodge, to a path leading to the North Rim Campground. This is an easy hike through a forested area with little elevation change. The path offers nice views of the canyon and passes the remnants of a 1000 year old Indian ruin.
4.2 mile round-trip
The trail starts by following the rim for 2.5 miles then it cuts into the forest, ending at Widforss Point. The trail is named for Gunnar Widforss, an artist who painted settings from the Grand Canyon in the 1930's. There is usually a brochure at the start of the trailhead that describes the many marked points along the trail.
Cliff Springs Trail
1.0 mile round-trip
The hike is through a forested ravine, past a prehistoric ruin (Ancestral Puebloan granary). The trail ends at a nice spring and an unusual view of the canyon.
Cape Final Trail
4.0 mile round-trip
The Cape Final Trail is a gravel and dirt path with little elevation change that wanders through the forest to a lookout point on the east rim of the Kaibab Plateau. It's a nice trail that is not as crowded as some of the others.
Point Imperial Trail
Point Imperial is a short, easy trail, or actually more of a view point that ends at the park boundary. Mt. Hayden and some nice views of the canyon are seen from the point. This is the highest point you can drive to. The elevation is 8,803 ft.
A 4WD is required to reach this spectacular view point. Other than the views at Tuweep and Cape Royal, this view point has no comparison. The remote drive to the point is a fun adventure in itself.
Grand Canyon Vacation: Canyon Country
Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion Park and Bryce are only a short distance from each other making the trio an ideal destination.
The drive to Cape Royal has great views of the canyon that can be seen along the road . Be sure to stop at Roosevelt Point and take the short loop. See if you can spot the confluence of the gorge of the Little Colorado River and the Grand Canyon
. Point Imperial,
and Walhalla Overlook are all wonderful places to stop as well. Vista Encontada
is a great place for a picnic lunch.