11 Best North Rim Grand Canyon Viewpoints
Visiting the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list. I have been to the Grand Canyon six times now and it never gets old.
The last time I visited I went to the lesser visited North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This part of the canyon is further away from Vegas and Phoenix and is only open in the summer.
North Rim Visitor Centre
The North Rim Visitor Center, located adjacent to the parking lot for Grand Canyon Lodge and Bright Angel Point, provides park and regional information, maps, brochures, exhibits, and a bookstore.
During the season, the Visitor Center is open May 15 through October 15 from 8 am to 6 pm daily. The North Rim Visitor Centre is closed in winter.
Public restrooms and outdoor exhibits are located behind the Visitor Center building.
When does the North Rim of Grand Canyon Open?`
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open in summer. The North Rim opens in mid May and closes in mid October. This is because it is a full 1000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim and it receives quite a lot of snow.
What is the Grand Canyon North Rim Elevation?
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is at 8,000 feet in elevation. This is a full 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim which sites at 7,000 feet.
Because of its elevation, the North Rim is about 10 degrees cooler than the South Rim. It is quite pleasant during the day but it can reach below freezing at night.
Due to the higher elevation you will not see the same bird, wildlife and plant species in the North Rim. It’s so quiet there you can actually hear the birds!
Please note at over 8,000 feet in elevation it does get difficult to breathe especially when it is cold.
North Rim vs South Rim
Did you know? The hike across the canyon from South Rim to North Rim is 21 miles (34 km). However, driving from the South Rim to the North Rim by automobile requires a 4.5 hour drive of 220 miles (354 km).
North Rim Scenic Drive
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 (2,683 meters), overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon.
Here the canyon transforms as the narrow walls of Marble Canyon, visible only as a winding gash, open dramatically to become “grand.” Layers of red and black Precambrian rocks, not visible at Bright Angel Point, add contrast and color.
Part of the viewpoint is accessible.
Cape Royal provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset.
The sweeping turn of the Colorado River at Unkar Delta is framed through the natural arch of Angels Window. Look for the Desert View Watchtower across the canyon on the South Rim. This popular viewpoint is accessible via a paved, level trail.
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To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.
Tips for Visiting the Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Also, note that it is dry and hot (in the summer) and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start. Here are a few tips for visiting the Grand Canyon:
- Bring a reusable water bottle and lots of water! Remember you are in the sun and you will need to drink lots of water. I love my LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle. I can refill this bottle anywhere and it comes with a carabiner to connect it to my daypack.
- Check the Weather – days over 100 degrees are very common. Make sure to check.
- Hiking boots or sandals that will protect your feet! I love good shoes. I need all the support and help I can get. I actually love these sandals for hiking and have a whole post on Merrell vs Keen shoes for hiking. I also love these hiking boots which I used for Hiking in the Grand Canyon.
- Bring hiking poles for balance and to protect your knees. I know many experienced hikers (and even amateur ones) think that hiking poles are for old people who lose their balance. Actually, hiking poles can help when going down steep inclines or when scrambling over rocks. They are great to hike with even for the most experienced hiker.
- Wear a sunhat. I feel like this whole post is about how high you are in the mountains and how much closer you are to the sun but it is so true. At elevation, you are closer to the sun and more likely to burn. Wear sun protection such as a sun hat and sunscreen.
- Be aware of the wildlife. This is the Southwest and you will need to watch out for snakes and other wildlife such as moose or a bear. Please stay away from wildlife and do not feed them.
- Start Early – If you want to avoid the traffic and the heat you will need to start your hike early. That way it will be nice and cool and the smog will not affect you either.
- Leave no trace. If you are new to the concept of Leave No Trace it is all about preserving the environment to ensure it is in the same or better condition when you leave it. This means that you should stick to the trails and carry out everything that you carried in. This is a great explanation of the Leave No Trace principles!
- Water shoes are great for water hikes– If you don’t have a pair, I highly suggest it as they are affordable. I have an article on the pros and cons of several pairs of water shoes.
- Bring Bug Spray and a snack: Be sure to bring everything you need including a snack like a protein bar plus BUG SPRAY.
The Best Grand Canyon View in the North Rim
At the end of a 5-mile hike through mostly level grounds, lies the Windforss viewpoint.
Although the Windforss hiking trail offers great but restricted views, the view point definitely does not disappoint. From this point, many parts of the eastern side of the Grand Canyon is visible.
2. Bright Angel Point
Due to the easy accessibility from the road, the bright angel point is the most popular viewpoint on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The walk to the viewpoint is an easy stroll along a mostly paved trail.
The viewpoint is at an elevation at of 8,148 feet, 1,000 higher than the south rim! Bright Angel Point offers exceptional views of the Bright Angel canyon below as well as a series of rugged points along the centre of the canyon.
3. Uncle Jim Point
The Uncle Jim Point is at the end of a 5-mile popular hiking trail, of the same name. the trail and view point are both named after a former reserve warden who lived on the north rim of the Grand Canyon in the 20th century.
James T Owen “Uncle Jim” was responsible for killing over 500 mountain lions, in an attempt to protect the mule deer local to the area.
4. Honan Point
Located at the end of a 5-mile hike, some argue is the most beautiful viewpoint of the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
This is due to the stunning and picturesque views that include being able to see over to the beauty that encompasses the south rim as well as the north rim.
5. Cape Royal
The Cape Royal viewpoint has the widest and best panoramic view of the entire Grand Canyon. It is also located the most southern tip of the North Rim.
It is quiet a trip however to get to the viewpoint, including a very narrow and windy road followed by a paved trail that takes you down to the point over looking exceptional panoramic views of the northern rim.
6. Cape Final
The Cape Final viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of the eastern side of the Grand Canyon. Due to the lack of trees in the area, the entire view is viewable from one single spot making it stand out from the other points.
Similarly, Cape Final is a must visit due to the solitude it offers as many people fail to make it the full 2-mile hike through the forest tracks.
7. Naji Point
This is a popular view point destination for many tourists due to the easily accessible and flat 40-minute hike through the wooded forest to get there.
From the point there are stunning views over the Natchi Canyon, the Lava Creek and the Hartman Natural Bridge.
8. Point Imperial
This is the highest viewpoint on the North Rim, at an elevation of 8,803 feet! Because of this, Point Imperial offers a much different view than any of the other North Rim points.
The overlooking panoramic views from below, makes this view unique from the rest and a must visit on your trip to the Grand Canyon!
9. Atoko Point
The Atoko viewpoint is hidden from observers of other points as well as off the road; making it a perfect place if you’re looking for tranquility as well as beautiful views.
The path to get to the point includes an easy straight and mostly flat 1.5-mile hike through the forest.
10. Roosevelt Point
Roosevelt Point is a recent addition to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is named after former President Franklin D Roosevelt.
The viewpoint is close to the road, making it a semi easy track to the end of the point. Although, due to trees located in the area, the view does is somewhat restricted. However, it does still offer great views over the beautiful canyon.
11. Toroweap Point
Toroweap viewpoint offers magnificent views below and is the only point in the Grand Canyon that offers views of the Colorado River. Thus, making it a unique point to any other viewpoints of the North Rim.
However, the track to get there is often difficult and requires knowledge of difficult trails and roads. Because of this, it is also often not completed by many people, therefore, offering a tranquil and solitude experience with minimal tourists around.
Conclusion – North Rim Lookout Points
I truly think the North Rim is often overlooked and the real untouched beauty of the Grand Canyon but I understand why not everyone can visit the North Rim.
Over to you. What is your favorite viewpoint in the Grand Canyon? Have you visited the North Rim? Let me know in the comments below!
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Continue Reading more about the Grand Canyon on my site:
The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints on the South Rim
North Rim vs South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon in Winter
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