grand canyon visitor guide north rim

Image Source: Grand Canyon National Park

Like the South Rim, the North Rim is owned and operated by the National Park Service. However, unlike the South Rim, the North Rim is only open during the summer.

It’s also less developed than the South Rim, and because it’s farther away from major tourist centers like Phoenix and Las Vegas, it experiences only 10% of the tourism seen by the South Rim. The North Rim may be less developed, but it’s just as beautiful!

Weather at the North Rim

Elevation: 8,000 feet
Summer
Winter
Low 60s-mid 70sHigh 30s-low 40s

Because of its higher elevation, temperatures at the North Rim average about 10 degrees colder than the South Rim. Summers on the North Rim are temperate, with average temperatures in the mid to high 70s. However, because the North Rim receives heavy snowfall and temperatures averaging around the high 30s to mid 40s in the winter, it closes every year from about mid-October to mid-May.

The North Rim’s climate also differs from the South or West Rims. You’ll find different wildlife and vegetation along the rugged North Rim, and thanks to its wider range of vegetation, autumn is an especially beautiful time to visit the North Rim.

Sights to See at the North Rim

There are many breathtaking viewpoints to explore on the North Rim. North Rim views typically demonstrate the width of the Grand Canyon, while the views at the South Rim highlight the Canyon’s depth.

The North Rim is less developed than the South Rim, so the landscape is more rugged and natural. In addition to hiking trails and campgrounds, there are three major viewpoints on the North Rim:

Bright Angel Point

Bright Angel Point
The most popular viewpoint at the North Rim.

Point Imperial

Point Imperial
The highest viewpoint at the North Rim, where the narrow walls of the Marble Canyon open into the Grand Canyon.

Cape Royal

Cape Royal
Offers seemingly infinite views from the east to west, which are perfect for watching the sunrise or sunset.

The North Rim offers one small view of the Colorado River, as well as several other scenic viewpoints, including Roosevelt Point and Walhalla Overlook. There are also a variety of viewpoints that require additional travel, either by foot or with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. If you’re planning to visit the North Rim, prepare for a true Grand Canyon adventure!

Tourism at the North Rim

The North Rim is farther away from major cities like Las Vegas or Phoenix, so it’s less easily accessible than the South or West Rims; the drive from Las Vegas takes approximately 6 hours, while the drive from Phoenix takes approximately 8 hours. The North Rim also operates on a shorter season, and is only open from mid-May to mid-October because of heavy winter snowfall.

Though the North Rim is owned and operated by the NPS, it offers fewer tourist services than the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Lodge is the only lodge in the park, but there are a few in the surrounding communities if camping doesn’t appeal to you. However, because its less developed, the North Rim is the perfect destination for those seeking a more rugged camping experience, or if you’re searching for a more tranquil atmosphere away from the crowds of the South Rim.

Who Should Visit the North Rim?

The North Rim is the perfect Canyon getaway if you’ve already visited the South Rim. Those who have visited both Rims tend to prefer the North Rim because it is quieter and calmer.

The North Rim is also a great option for couples and families looking for a quiet getaway, especially in the fall because of the beautiful colors of the Kaibab National Forest. However, there are fewer activities and amenities, so the North Rim may not be an ideal location for active families or families with small children. If you have small children, the South Rim offers more activities and attractions to explore.

Guided Tours You Can Take to the North Rim

Canyon Tours offers two Las Vegas-based tours to the North Rim. Enjoy seemingly bottomless views of the Canyon as you soar over North Rim viewpoints in a helicopter.

Grand Canyon North Rim Helicopter Tour

Grand Canyon North Rim Helicopter Tour

View the deepest part of the Grand Canyon and enjoy breathtaking views of the North and South Rims.

TOUR DETAILS

Grand Canyon Imperial Helicopter Tour

Grand Canyon Imperial Helicopter Tour

Experience the serene beauty of the Eastern Canyon on your way to some of the deepest vistas the Canyon has to offer.

TOUR DETAILS

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon

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