Our first backroads adventure, part eight: the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon as seen from the North Rim

As we were still gainfully employed and our vacation time was limited, we moved quickly on from Bryce Canyon National Park to Kanab, then through the beautiful high meadows of the Kaibab Forest to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Nearly six million people visit the South Rim every year.  Few make it to the North Rim.  For that reason alone, you should try to do so.

It was one of the few places on our 1997 trip that we made advance reservations or needed them.  We arrived on May 15, the first day the lodge was open for the summer season. 

The lodge, perched on the cliff, was fantastic. We had cocktails on the veranda watching the sun set. 

North Rim visitors watch the sunset from the Lodge terrace.

We needed reservations for dinner and still had to wait about forty-five minutes.  Had we been anywhere else, we probably would have moved on.  Alie says “if there is a line for the second coming, I’m not waiting.”  But it was the restaurant’s first day, and I imagine they might have even greater problems in today’s post-COVID staffing era.

Our cabin was spacious and nice, and I was up early to see the sun rise over Bright Angel Point on the other side of the canyon.  Four of us sat quietly and apart, but soon we were joined by a thundering herd of five or six more people.  I wonder if it is still that isolated today.  But back then, there were too many people, and I walked on to an overlook where the only other creature was a squirrel sprawled out on a rock that seemed to be enjoying view too.

After Alie was up and going, we went out the Cape Royal trail which was easy to walk and had many signs describing what we were seeing.  Angels Window is a lovely arch close to the trail on Walhalla Plateau. 

We had a picnic lunch next to the rim at Vista Encantadora near Point Imperial, the highest place on the canyon rim.  At 8803 feet, it is about 1800 feet higher than Bright Angel on the South Rim.  Notes I kept at the time say we were plagued by bugs.  Looking back 25 years later, I guess they were probably flies.  It was the only place on the trip to the Southwest where we were bothered by insects.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Date of our visit: 15-16 May 97


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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8 Responses to Our first backroads adventure, part eight: the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

  1. looks like a terrific place to visit. Were the cabins comfortable? All mod-cons?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JohnRH says:

    Ooooh. Speaking of canyons! The Grandest of all! Stunning photo Ray. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Ply says:

    I vaguely remember making it to the north rim, or at least a stupidly long drive around the canyon to get to the north rim. It was 45 years ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are in Kanab now, Ray. Yesterday we drove up to the easter section of Zion, which we had missed at our Zion stay a couple of weeks ago, Our intention is to drop down in to the North Rim of the Canyon on the 15th. I once backpacked into the Canyon from the North Rim. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m afraid that even at the North Rim it’s challenging to find peace and solitude these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Priti says:

    Beautiful place for a tour ! Thanks for sharing your experience with excellent photos! 👍🌹

    Liked by 1 person

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