Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

North Rim Sights to See

The extraordinary beauty of the Grand Canyon stirred poetic expression in the Paiutes, who called the North Rim plateau Kaibab, or "Mountain Lying Down." They also named other plateaus of the North Rim Kanab, meaning "Willow," Uinkaret, or "Place of Pines" and Shivwits, meaning "Whitish Earth" or "Coyote Springs." The four plateaus run along the North Rim offering a breathtaking array of sights, a range of geologic features and miles of rugged territory to explore. 

The extraordinary beauty of the Grand Canyon stirred poetic expression in the Paiutes, who called the North Rim plateau Kaibab, or "Mountain Lying Down." They also named other plateaus of the North Rim Kanab, meaning "Willow," Uinkaret, or "Place of Pines" and Shivwits, meaning "Whitish Earth" or "Coyote Springs." The four plateaus run along the North Rim offering a breathtaking array of sights, a range of geologic features and miles of rugged territory to explore. 

Kaibab, the easternmost plateau, is where Grand Canyon Lodge and major trailheads are located. If time allows, explore the other, more remote plateaus of the North Rim as well. Roads are unimproved with high- clearance vehicles recommended. To the west is the Kanab Plateau with the spectacular Kanab Canyon. Uinkaret Plateau is home to Toroweap Point where, over the past 1.2 million years, molten rock poured over the rim and coated the canyon walls with lava. Hurricane Cliffs mark the beginning of the fourth plateau, the Shivwits. 

To experience the wonders of the North Rim, you might begin at Bright Angel Point, a short walk on a paved trail from Grand Canyon Lodge, which provides a spectacular view of the canyon. From this point, you can see and hear Roaring Springs more than 3,000 feet below the rim. It is the sole source of drinking water for both the North and South rims. Roaring Springs begins as snow-melt on the Kaibab Plateau, that gushes out of the rocky canyon wall and is then partially captured and pumped back up to the rims.

From Bright Angel Point there are also good views of Bright Angel, Transept and Roaring Springs side canyons. The South Rim and the San Francisco Peaks are in the distance.

Two driving trips offer spectacular views. Point Imperial, which is 11 miles from Grand Canyon Lodge, is the highest point on either rim. You can see Mount Hayden, Saddle Mountain and a beautiful view of eastern Grand Canyon National Park. Cape Royal, 14 miles from the junction of the Point Imperial and Cape Royal roads, is the departure point for a self-guiding trail that winds its way to Angels Window Overlook, which provides stunning vistas of the canyon and the Colorado River. 

You can descend into the canyon by hiking down the North Kaibab Trail, the only maintained trans-canyon trail. It can be a lei-surely stroll for a few hundred yards, a strenuous 9.4-mile round-trip hike to Roaring Springs, or a two- to three-day round-trip trek to Bright Angel Campground, 14 miles below the North Rim at the canyon's bottom. The trail may not be open until mid-May or June. Over-night hiking permits are required.