Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim – Many Great Hiking Trails

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By Dixie Brunner

The Grand Canyon is on most everyone’s bucket list! While not everyone desires the big hike to the river at the bottom or the challenging rim-to-rim, there are shorter hikes near the scenic rim.

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A view of the Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Trail. Photo by Stephen Dahl.

How do you describe one of the seven wonders of the world? The Canyon’s matchless beauty and grandeur go far beyond the shallow human ability to describe.

The South Rim is literally overrun with U.S. and international visitors. Large crowds and bumper to bumper traffic are the norm at this iconic destination.

But the best-kept secret of the Grand Canyon adventure is to experience it at the more elevated North Rim! It’s a visitor’s dream come true, with incredible views, improved hiking trails and great facilities. The North Rim’s popularity is growing, but the opportunities to take in a quiet hike or a scenic vista alone are still there.

When approaching the northern canyon access, you travel through the scenic Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway, driving through the gentle green forests, which rise dramatically to 9,000 feet in elevation.

The Kaibab, which the Paiute Indians called “the mountain lying down,” changes from life zones of the Sonoran desert zone at one extreme, to the frosty climate of the sub-alpine zone nearer the canyon. Dense pine forests of the high Kaibab Plateau end abruptly at the canyon’s edge.

Campgrounds and lodges are available at the park, but those things can wait – the Canyon is beckoning! At the first overlook you are rendered breathless with the panoramic view. The rugged, restless collection of colors and canyons, buttes and mesas, as well as wildlife and vegetation, stimulate emotions.

The Canyon offers a multitude of moods, appearing different with every passing minute of every single day. Each of the well-maintained overlooks provide a different view of the canyon and the Colorado River occasionally glimpsed below. Those catching a sunset or sunrise are in for a truly inspiring sight.

My own favorite North Rim activity is to sit on a rocking chair on the patio behind the Grand Canyon Lodge. The panoramic view is humbling and awesome. Watch the clouds drift lazily across the huge expanse, casting different light and shadows on the mesas and canyons. If you get lucky, you might see an approaching storm and the lightning playing across the stony maze in front of you. It’s a stunning visual experience.

Whichever way you choose to explore, immerse yourself in the adventure that is the Grand Canyon. The trip will offer you a spiritual experience. With plenty of time and access to meditate on its awesome beauty, one leaves the Canyon feeling more bonded and in tune with the natural wonder. Don’t cheat yourself – treat yourself to a visit at the Grand Canyon North Rim!

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