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Best time to travel to Grand Canyon

North Rim

Only 10% of the visitors to Grand Canyon get to the North Rim, which makes it especially solitary and serene

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Only the most persistent and adventurous reach this "other side" of the Grand Canyon. Getting there is not so easy, as you might guess. You've got two options—it's either a 21 mile (34 km) hike from South Rim across the Canyon to North Rim or a five-hour drive of 220 miles (354 km). But, the solitude of the area is definitely worth the effort.

If you are ready to explore the classic North Rim views, go for a hike starting at Grand Canyon Lodge patio and proceeding to Bright Angel Point. The paved trail is followed by a more challenging path, steep in places, marked with drop-offs, and stairs at places, it finally leads to the Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyons known for dramatic panoramas.

Drivers love the scenic routes taking them to two other great locations. The first one is Point Imperial, the highest tip of the North Rim, set at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters) above the sea. The main prize is the view of the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon's east end. Precambrian rocks are dazzling with layers of red and black, which are unfortunately not visible at Bright Angel Point.

Another location reached by car is Cape Royal. This one is particularly valuable as it provides unlimited vistas up, down, and across the canyon, both to the east and west. Not surprisingly, it's a popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset.

Unlike the South Rim, the North Rim is closed for winters due to snow. Visitors are welcome to discover the North Rim from mid-May to mid-October. If the snow doesn't close highway 67, the North Rim will still operate in November, just "dawn to dusk" and with limited services. Reservations are to be made if you want to stay in the Grand Canyon Lodge or its Campground.

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