Inspirational Tranquility, The Magical
Majesty of the Grand Canyon North Rim.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most breath-taking sights the world has to offer. Nature at her most spectacular is shown in a seemingly endless panorama at this World Heritage Site. But perhaps the thought of sharing this magnificent vista with hundreds of other visitors discourages you from discovering this natural wonder for yourself. If this is the case, then you may be interested to know that it is possible to enjoy the Canyon's delights without feeling you have entered a theme park.
Grand Canyon Lodge
There are two major rims to the Canyon, one to the South, and the other to the North. The rim at the South side is, as you probably already anticipate, crowded. However, a 220-mile drive from there, takes you to North Rim where you will find at an oasis of tranquility. Anyone who expects to find airplane rides and white water rafting here will be extremely disappointed (although both full-day and half-day mule trips down the North Kaibab Trail are available). First and foremost, this is a place to absorb the atmosphere and majesty of the Canyon.
Upon arrival at the North rim, you instantly become aware of nature surrounding you. Crickets chirping, birds singing, and maybe a welcome breeze rustling through the leaves on the trees all add to the feeling of calm and serenity surrounding the area. Despite the amount of visitors to this rim (about one-tenth of the amount of visitors to the South Rim), it still has an unexplored and unspoiled air. Every effort seems to have been made to make necessary buildings as unobtrusive as possible. All accommodation is either at the Grand Canyon Lodge, or in basic log cabins set into the forest, although it is possible camp here. Necessary public buildings such as the visitors' reception, restaurant, gift store and viewing area, are housed in large wooden lodges. Nothing looks out of place, or spoils the overall affect of the Canyon.
View from the Toroweap Overlook
The viewing area at the lodge does get crowded at sunrise and sunset, but take a short walk down any of the trail paths and it is very easy to forget that you are actually visiting one of the major tourist attractions in the world. Standing near to ancient rock faces which reflect a myriad of color in the Arizona sunshine, deer peacefully grazing close to where you are, perhaps an eagle soaring overhead as chipmunks play around you, it is easy to just relax into the backdrop and let the stresses and tensions of everyday life ebb away.
The North Rim is closed from late October and mid May, and you should note that at 8,000 feet above sea level (1,000 feet higher than the South Rim), waiting for the sun to make it's appearance can be a chilly experience, so make sure to take something warm out onto the trail with you.
The sun rising or setting over the Grand Canyon, as viewed from the solitude of the North Rim is one of the most awe-inspiring sights imaginable, and one that will remain with you the rest of your life.
© K.A. Gustafsson