My husband and I have been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon several times but have never been able to time a visit so that the road was open to the North Rim. It's been on our bucket list for a long time and finally this year we made our travel plans so they would allow for a stop at the North Rim.
We stayed in St. George, Utah and made the day trip to the North Rim. We were surprised that it really didn't take all that long to get there. It was about a 3 hour plus drive but didn't seem that bad. We went the week before memorial day (just after the road opened for the season) and found the roads to be virtually empty of traffic. The last 45 miles of the trek is pretty desolate so make sure you stop at the Jacob Lake Inn and stock up on drinks and snacks before heading to the park. There was a nice gift shop at the Inn. There is also a visitors center at this stop too.
Once we got into the park we headed to the Visitor's Center and the Grand Canyon Lodge first. There are restrooms here and dining if you would like to get something to eat. We drove around the park stopping at the vehicle accessible stops at Point Imperial, Vista Encantada, Roosevelt Point and the Walhalla Overlook. There are times that you can't see the canyon at all and then all of a sudden there it is in all it's glory! We took the trail at Roosevelt Point (0.2 miles roundtrip) and also the Cape Royal Trail (0.6 miles roundtrip). Both were easy trails and offered great views of the canyon. It's definitely worth getting out and taking a look.
The North Rim was far less crowded than the South Rim and we actually found that we liked the views better since you are at higher altitude on the North Rim side. It just seemed that from this higher vantage point you could get a better view of the detail in the canyon. You were also able to see the Colorado River at one point and even see the rapids.
It was just a totally different experience and one you won't regret if you get a chance to check out the North Rim.
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