Things To Do – North Rim

Attractions | Ranger Programs | Hiking | Biking  | Camping  | River Running | Mule Trips

ATTRACTIONS
Grand Canyon North Rim Scenic Drive
– The remote quiet beauty of the North Rim can be appreciated on the Scenic drive. Along the route, there are pull-outs and viewpoints to see Point Imperial and Cape Royal. The drive usually takes a half a day if you enjoy short walks and photo opportunities. Point Imperial is approximately 11 miles or 20 minutes from the visitor center and Cape Royal is 23 miles or 45 minutes. There is a second, unpaved road that leads to Point Sublime, about 20 miles west of the visitor center

Grand Canyon North Rim Visitor Center – The North Rim Visitor Center is located next to the parking lot for Grand Canyon Lodge and has park information, maps, exhibits, ranger programs as well as a bookstore. This is a good place to start when exploring the North Rim.

Grand Canyon Lodge – This historic lodge was built in 1927 with natural stone and timber to complement beauty of the Canyon.  A destructive fire brought about renovations in the late 1930’s but the reconstruction strengthened the lodge and cabins to withstand the harsh winters of the North Rim.

Ranger Programs at the North Rim

The Ranger Program at the North Rim includes lectures and activities on geology, animals and birds and cultural history. Starting with a nature walk at 8:00am and ending with an evening program at 8:00pm, there are programs all day long to enjoy. North Rim Ranger Programs can be found at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/NRimPrograms2014.pdf

Hiking at the North Rim

The National Park Service posts serious warnings to all hikers about hiking from Rim-to Rim or Rim-to River in one day. The inner gorge temperatures, lack of water and difficulty of the trails tax even the most experienced of hikers. Dehydration, injuries, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very common for hikers that are not prepared for this extreme environment. Do not attempt a one-day Rim-to-Rim or Rim-to-River-Return in one day for your safety.

Bright Angel Point Trail –This paved trail is perfect for a quick, easy hike but offers stunning scenery. Starting at the log cabin next to the Visitor Center parking lot, the paved trail leads to Bright Angel Point and is less than a mile round trip. Because the North Rim is about 1,000 ft higher than the South Rim, this view looking down to the South Rim is one of the most popular for photographers.

Cape Royal Trail – An easy trail with the most sweeping, grandiose view of the Grand Canyon? What more could you want! The trail starts at the end of the paved Cape Royal Road and is less than a mile round trip. Although the magnificent vista can be seen from the car, the short walk opens even more breathtaking views.

Cape Final Trail – Close to Cape Royal, there is a little-known hiking trail that has spectacular scenery.  The parking for this trail located at the end of the Cape Royal road. It is four miles roundtrip and the trail winds around through the forest away from the rim for a bit until emerging at a magnificent viewpoint. Cape Final Trail is considered an easy trail for hikers. 

Transept Trail – The Transept Trailhead is located at the campground at the North Rim and winds down along the rim to the Lodge. At the Lodge, many hikers continue on the Bright Angel Point Trail. From the campground to the Lodge, it is an easy trail of 3miles round trip.

Ken Patrick Trail – This trail is considered moderate but it is very long for most day hikers since it is 10 miles one-way. Most hikers take this one way with a pre-arranged ride for return. The trailhead starts at the North Kaibab Trail parking area to Point Imperial with multiply fantastic viewpoints along the way. A detour trail off of the Ken Patrick Trail is the Uncle Jim trail that leads to the Uncle Jim Point.

North Kaibab Trail – This strenuous trail is the only North Rim trail that descends into the Canyon and should be considered very carefully since the trail is shared by the mule rides and there is no water source. The North Kaibab Trail begins at the Roaring Springs Canyon on the main road just before the North Rim Visitor Center. The trail stops at the Coconino Overlook with steep switchbacks to Supai Tunnel. This is a good place to return for a casual hike. Continuing on to Roaring Springs, more experience hikers normally turn around here and return. Overnight permits are required if hikers continue to the floor of the Canyon.

Widforss Trail – If you are looking for a longer hike but easy trail, the Widforss trail is perfect. It is 10 miles roundtrip on a wide maintained trail. The trailhead starts at Point Sublime Access Road and follows along the forest and rim above the Transept gorge. The end of the trail has gorgeous views of the Canyon.

 Biking at the North Rim
There are a few mountain biking trails at the North Rim

Rainbow Rim Trail – This trail is not technically located in the National Park instead follows along the rim of the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest. The Rainbow Rim Trail is popular because it does ride along the rim. For more indepth information on this trail, see www.mtbproject.com/trail/3392750/rainbow-rim-trail-kaibab-national-forest-trail-10

Arizona Trail – Although the Arizona Trail starts at the North Kaibab Trailhead at the North Rim, the trail explores the Kaibab Plateau forests and plains. Views of the Grand Canyon are not found on this trail but instead, the trail discovers the beauty of this area. For more details, see www.aztrail.org/passages/pass_39.html

Point Sublime Road – The Point Sublime Road, located close to the Visitor Center, is a rough road that even some SUVs find difficult but if you are an avid mountain biker, this road leads to some amazing overlooks of the Canyon and wonderful ride through the Kaibab Plateau forest.

Camping  at the North Rim

There is only one campground at the North Rim for both tents and RV’s. NPS North Rim Campground (89 sites) – Located close to the Grand Canyon North Rim Visitor Center. Restrooms are close with laundry and shower facilities available for a fee. Pets allowed but required to be on a leash and supervised at all times.

There are NO RV hook-ups but there is a dump station at the campground. The campsite fee is $18-25 per night with restrictions and Group, hiker and biker sites are also available. Reservations are required and walk-ups are not allowed. For more information and reservations, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service.  877-444-6777 Online: www.recreation.gov/

A recent article on this (June 2015) gives some great info on the North Rim Campground.

Outside the Park you will find some other campgrounds:

Demotte Campground – located within the North Kaibab Ranger District just 7 miles north of the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim.  It has 38 single family campsites with tables and cooking grills. There is no group site. The 38 single family campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and small motor homes. However, no utility hookups are available.

Half of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the other half are available with reservations. Reservations can be made through the Recreation.gov website or via telephone at 1-877-444-6777.

Jacob Lake Campground – 51 camp sites located 30 miles south and east of Fredonia at the intersection of US 89A and AZ 67, which are both paved highways. Reservations for campsites at Jacob Lake Campground can be made through the Recreation.gov website or via telephone at 1-877-444-6777.

The group campground is adjacent to Jacob Lake Campground and features two group sites that can accommodate up to 100 people each. Reservations for the group campground can be made through the Recreation.gov website or via telephone at 1-877-444-6777.

Kaibab Camper Village – a commercial campground located ¼ mile/0.5 km south of Jacob Lake on Arizona Highway 67. Full hook-ups available. Phone (928) 643-7804 May 15 through October 15. Off-season phone (928) 526-0924, outside AZ 1-800-525-0924.

Dispersed Camping is permitted in the national forest outside the park; there are restrictions, however. Inquire at North Rim Visitor Center inside the park, or at the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake (928) 643-7298. In winter contact the North Kaibab Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest, P.O. Box 248, Fredonia, AZ 86022 or call (928) 643-7395.

River Running at the North Rim

Looking for River Running at the Grand Canyon? You need to check out the Grand Canyon East and Grand Canyon West. There are no river running trips that start at the North or South Rim.

Mule Rides at the North Rim

Mule rides are offered from the North Rim. These rides do not descend to the floor and the Colorado River but are shorter and more available to book than the South Rim mule rides. Minimum age is 10 years old and maximum weight allowance is 220 lbs. North Canyon mule trips can be booked at https://www.canyonrides.com/grand-canyon-mule-ride/

There are 3 mule trips:

  1. One-Hour Rim Ride – This tour lasts approximately one hour traveling along a rim trail. It is the perfect tour for a those that want a quick fun experience of riding a mule. The cost is $45 including  tax.

 

  1. Three Hour Ride to Uncle Jim’s Point – A little more extensive, this mule ride departs the North Canyon Lodge and follows the Ken Patrick Trail to Uncle Jim’s Point. A wonderful tour of the North Rim! This mule ride is $90 including tax.

 

  1. Three Hour Ride to Supai Tunnel – Descend down the North Kaibab Trail on the back of a sure-footed mule until you reach the Supai Tunnel, 2300 feet below the rim. A popular way to get below the rim and take a mule ride together. The Inner Canyon Mule ride is $90 including tax.