The Grand Canyon is one of this country’s most iconic locations for photographers and tourists alike. The deep gash in the crust of the earth must be seen to be truly appreciated, but photographs can capture some small remembrance of this natural gem. I recently visited the North Rim of the Canyon for the first time after having visited the South Rim a couple of times over the years. I much prefer the North Rim.
Unlike the heavily visited South Rim, the canyon’s North Rim is more secluded, less “touristy” and much cooler in the August heat of Arizona. Whether it’s a better choice for you depends on what your personal situation might be. The South Rim is an easy drive from Phoenix, is full of attractions, has nearby lodging and restaurants, and of course, the spectacular canyon views. The North Rim, by contrast, is a full day’s drive from Phoenix, has very limited lodging and camping, and its restaurants are extremely limited. But, the views equal (if not surpass) those of the South Rim, and you’re not jostling among the crowds to enjoy them.
The gallery of photos included in this post shows you some of the views that are within easy walking or driving distance from the rustic Grand Canyon Lodge. The trails range from very leisurely and easy to more demanding depending on your taste for adventure. I stayed at the lodge for two nights which left about a day and a half for taking in the scenery. It’s peaceful and quiet. Temperatures were in the mid-70’s during the day and mid 50’s at night…a welcome change from baking in the Phoenix heat of 105 degrees. Click on the first image to display larger versions.
For photographers, early mornings and late afternoons produce best lighting and there are usually beautiful clouds above the canyon to add sparkle to your landscapes. Finding wildlife is somewhat challenging during a short stay, but on the way out of the park, just before exiting the park gate, I encountered a herd of “beefalo” or “cattalo” (a hybrid of bison and domestic cattle that was begun on the North Rim in the early 1900’s).
For more information on the North Rim, check out: Grand Canyon Lodge or National Park Service. Access to the road to the North Rim is closed from mid-May to mid-October. Also, if you plan on staying at the Grand Canyon Lodge, plan ahead and reserve your lodging early. Even though there are fewer visitors to the North Rim, lodging is also much more scarce than at the South Rim.