Grand Canyon North Rim

Linger Longer at the Grand Canyon North Rim

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By Dixie Brunner

The Grand Canyon is on most everyone’s bucket list, and a wonderful place to linger longer!

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This young hiker checks out the zigzagging trail looming ahead that drops down into the Grand Canyon. Photo by Karie Cornell.

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. Much has been written about the wonders of Grand Canyon National Park.

The South Rim is literally overrun with 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 isn’t discovered by visiting the arid South Rim. The best way to see the Grand Canyon is to visit the unspoiled North Rim! It’s a visitor’s dream come true, with incredible views, improved trails and great facilities. The only things the North Rim can’t offer you are the crowds and traffic!

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 the base, 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 speechless with the panoramic view. The rugged, restless collection of colors and canyons, buttes and mesas, as well as wildlife and vegetation, stimulate dramatic emotion in people.

The Canyon offers a multitude of moods, appearing different with each 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 treat.

My own favorite North Rim activity is taking a few minutes to sit in 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, watch an approaching storm and see the lightning displayed across the stony maze right in front of you.

One leaves the Canyon feeling more bonded and in tune with the natural wonder. Don’t cheat yourself – linger longer at the Grand Canyon North Rim!

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