The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. It’s a 24-mile hike across rim-to-rim, but driving from the South Rim Visitor Center to the North Rim Visitor Center it’s 212 miles! We drove down from Great Basin to spend the last two nights at the North Rim campground before it switched to day-use only for the remainder of the year. The Lodge was already closed, and only the gift shop was still open, so it was kind of a ghost town, but the crowds were smaller for it! We vastly preferred our experience at the much less hectic North Rim to our quick visit to the South Rim last trip… but we did end up popping by the South Rim again later this trip for a night!
The RV sites in the North Rim Campground have no hookups, but are pretty level and have picnic tables and fire pits. We were in spot 11 which backed up to the woods, and we had easy access to a trail leading to fingers of rock poking out into a side canyon, perfect perches for sunrise and sunset viewing.
I highly recommend reserving one of the outer campsites near the Transept Trail, and then repairing to the overlooks with your evening beer or morning coffee to see the light filter across the canyon.
North Kaibab Trail
Similarly to what we did on the South Rim side, we hiked down into the canyon just a couple miles to see the views. We took the North Kaibab Trail down two miles and then hiked back up, and met some hikers along the way who were taking the trail all the way across to the South Rim on a multi-day adventure. They were way cooler than us.
Uncle Jim Trail
I have a dear Uncle Jim who is one of our road-tripping travel gurus, and J too has an Uncle James (known as Uncle Shithead, in the best way), so we had to hike the Uncle Jim Trail. It’s just under 5 miles, and rolls through a beautiful forest before popping out to a big Grand Canyon overlook.
Bright Angel Point
This isn’t really a hike, but a .5-mile paved path down to a sweeping canyon view. We (and a gaggle of noisy Eastern Europeans with flasks) set up on the rocks there to watch the sunrise over the canyon.
We took Bugsy on the scenic drive along the rim and trotted her out for the viewpoints. Roosevelt Point was our favorite view. Remember that dogs can’t hike on trails in Grand Canyon National Park, but are allowed to walk along the roads.
If you love the Grand Canyon, give the North Rim a try! You won’t regret it.