We drove from the South Rim to the North Rim. Allow at least 4 1/2 hours driving time for the one way trip.
The view is totally different from that of the South Rim. The sun is shining at you and a haze is more readily seen, somewhat obscuring the view. The view from the North Rim has greater clarity. You do not get the various reflections of the sun off the rock formations as you do from the South Rim. So you miss much of the color that is reflected at different angles as the sun rotates through the sky. I wold have been disappointed in the Canyon view if I had only viewed from the North Rim. True there are more people at the South Rim and now you know why!
The lodge at the North Rim is newer and does not have that historic charm and nature about it. It's just a large wooden dinning hall. There is no comparison to the South Rim historic El Tovar! We had lunch at the North Lodge and again I was disappointed versus the food service that we had at Arizona and El Tovar! The view from the restaurant was nice but there was a constant glare from the sun coming in the windows inhibiting the view! The food buffet looked awful and the sandwiches were just ok!
If I had to do it over again I would drive the 9 hours back and forth because it was worth the different perspective. Also the ride itself from the South to the North was beautiful! If I this was my only opportunity to see the Grand Canyon I would definitely choose the South Rim: Historic El Tovar, Fantastic sunrise and sunset views because of the reflections off the canyon walls, Far more hiking trails, Great food, and in general a more full experience!
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