Characteristics of this area
Offering fantastic views with less congestion, those willing to drive five hours and 212 miles from the South Rim will be rewarded a chance to see the canyon without the crowds.
Top 5 Scenic North Rim Drives and Overlooks
Take your pick of solitary park roads that lead to unique views and ancient ruins.
1. Bright Angel Point
Easily reached via a half mile paved walkway, Bright Angel Point has spur paths where visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Bright Angel Canyon below and canyon buttes and temples. The South Rim is 11 miles on the other side and far in the distance to the south are the San Francisco Peaks. The path to the Bright Angel Point begins at the Visitor Center parking area.
2. Point Imperial
This 11-mile (one way) drive from the Visitor Center leads to Point Imperial, the highest rim overlook in the park at elevation 8,803 feet. The canyon view encompasses Mt. Hayden, Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon as well as an area of the park that was burned by the 2000 Outlet wildfire. Picnic tables are located at the point and an interpretive sign describes geologic formations.
3. Walhalla Plateau
Located on the road to Cape Royal, stop at Walhalla Overlook and take in the view of ancient Puebloan ruins located below along the Unkar Delta. The site was occupied from about 850 – 1200 AD and was home to native people who farmed in the Colorado River basin. Across the road from the parking area is Walhalla Glades, the Ancestral Puebloan people’s summer home.
4. Cape Royal
Visitors who go the extra distance to reach this scenic point will be rewarded with views and solitude. Drive 23 miles (one way) on the main park road from the Visitor Center to road’s end at the Cape Royal parking lot. Park and follow the path for a half mile to the natural arch, Angels Window, and then to Cape Royal Point. From this rocky outcrop you can see the Colorado River.
5. Point Sublime
Getting to this remote Grand Canyon vantage point requires a 4WD vehicle or strong legs and a mountain bike. It is 17 miles (one way) to Point Sublime on a bumpy dirt road. Or, for a shorter trip, drive 4 miles, park your vehicle or ride your bike another 4.5 miles to Tiyo Point. Overnight camping with a permit is allowed at the point. The access road to Point Sublime is off AZ 67, 2.7 miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge.
Situated at 8,000 feet, North Rim summer temps range from 60 to 80 degrees. Fall and spring temps range between the upper 60s and lower 40s. Winter conditions include snowy and icy roads and trails. For a recorded message providing information about road conditions, contact Grand Canyon National Park at (928) 638-7888.
Opt for a trip to the North Rim for fewer people, a lusher landscape (the North Rim gets far more precipitation than the South Rim) and (arguably) better views.
Cape Royal provides views of the South Rim’s Moran Point, only eight miles across the canyon.
Toroweap Overlook rises 3,000 vertical feet from the Colorado River and provides views of the Lava Falls Rapid.
Point Imperial is lauded as the highest vantage point in the park.
The Lodge Dining Room
The Grand Canyon Cookout Experience
Deli in the Pines
The Coffee Shop
Kaibab Lodge Restaurant (18 miles north of the park)
Jacob Lake Inn (45 miles north of the park)
Chat with a ranger, pick up a guide book or peruse the exhibits at the North Rim Visitor Center before heading out to see the canyon.
One-hour and half-day mule rides are offered from mid-May to mid-October for $40/person and up.
Great hiking options about on the North Rim. Try the Bright Angel Point Trail (0.5 miles), Uncle Jim Trail (5.0 miles), Ken Patrick Trail (20 miles) or one of the many other options.
Distance from nearby park entrances and cities
207 miles from Flagstaff, Ariz.
212 miles from South Rim
351 miles from Phoenix, Ariz.
275 miles from Las Vegas, Nev.