Guidebook

The North Rim: Best Hikes on the Grand Canyon’s Other Side

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is more remote than the South Rim, but it grants better scenery and a greater variety of trails for those who reach it.

Description

The North Rim is the Grand Canyon’s “other” side. As opposed to the South Rim, which is relatively easy to reach and consequently clogged with visitors, the North Rim is uncrowded and slower-paced. It’s no less scenic, though. In fact, some find the vistas from the North Rim to be unrivaled by any others in the canyon. The North Rim sits at a higher elevation than the South and therefore grants an even more expansive view. From limestone outcrops among conifer and aspen forest on the North Rim, you’ll gaze across the canyon’s vast and intricate maze of cliffs and buttes, across to the opposite rim, and beyond to mountains rising above an expanse of desert.

Needless to say, the views are not what makes the North Rim less popular than the South. It’s the difficulty of access and the limited season in which it is open. Located many hours’ drive from the nearest interstate highway, and at over 8,000 feet elevation, the North Rim feels isolated and wild. This part of the national park shuts down from mid-October to mid-May, and snow piles up. When it thaws and the roads reopen, however, the montane forest bursts to life in verdant foliage and vivid wildflowers.

A distinct advantage of the North Rim over the South is the number of trails that travel along the rim, rather than descending steeply into the canyon. The North Rim has more easy and moderate hikes to choose from, but difficult hikes below the rim can, of course, be found as well. Explore this list of the North Rim’s best trails to find the level of challenge that’s right for you, then challenge yourself to reach the Grand Canyon’s remote other side.

Bright Angel Point
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bright Angel Point

Grand Canyon National Park
0 - 1 hrs
1.3 km
51 m
53 m
A quick trip to one of the canyon's most spectacular viewpoints.
Easy
Private
Transept Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Transept Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
1 - 2 hrs
5.7 km
105 m
108 m
Quiet stroll along the canyon rim near North Rim Campground and Grand Canyon Lodge.
Easy
Private
Uncle Jim Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Uncle Jim Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
1 - 2 hrs
7.5 km
231 m
231 m
Rolling hills and colorful forest lead to an airy overlook on the canyon rim.
Moderate
Private
Cape Royal Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cape Royal Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
0 - 1 hrs
1.5 km
46 m
46 m
Paved path to one of the Grand Canyon's grandest viewpoints, and a perch atop a natural arch.
Easy
Private
Cape Final Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cape Final Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
1 - 2 hrs
6.6 km
168 m
167 m
Peaceful forest hike to an especially vast panorama of the Grand Canyon.
Easy
Private
Cliff Spring Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cliff Spring Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
0 - 1 hrs
1.2 km
72 m
75 m
Quick hike to Native American rock art and a natural spring in a secluded side canyon.
Easy
Private
Widforss Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Widforss Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
3 - 4 hrs
15.0 km
362 m
362 m
Lesser-traveled trail with canyon views, big trees, and a chance at spotting wildlife.
Moderate
Private
Point Imperial Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Point Imperial Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
1 - 2 hrs
8.9 km
164 m
164 m
Find solitary canyon views on this trail near the famous Point Imperial.
Easy
Private
North Kaibab Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

North Kaibab Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
5 - 6 hrs
22.7 km
237 m
1,990 m
The main route from Grand Canyon's North Rim down to the Colorado River, and one of the most beautiful trails in America.
Difficult
Private