Now that we have had the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon from both the South and North Rims, I must say I prefer the North Rim. The North Rim is more remote and takes a bit more effort to get to, 80 miles from Kanab, UT, and 154 miles from Page, AZ. Therefore, it gets fewer visitors because of that and because it offers less in the way of accommodations and services. As a result you get what seems like a more personal and unhurried experience.
The North Rim lodge is at 8,200 feet elevation while the South Rim Village is at 7,000 feet elevation. Therefore, the North Rim has a shorter season, closing between October 15 and May 15, blanketed in snow for much of that time. Point Imperial on the North Rim offers the highest viewpoint at 8,803 feet above sea level. It gives you a view of the point at which the Grand Canyon takes on its wide, branched appearance since just to the north the canyon is relatively narrow. From Cape Royal Point you get the widest panorama of any Grand Canyon viewpoint and a good look at the Colorado River some 7 miles across the canyon near the South Rim.
We took a hike on the North Kaibab Trail which is the only trail from the North Rim that provides access to the canyon floor. No, we didn’t hike to the bottom of the canyon, it’s 14 miles one way and over 1 mile in elevation drop. We hiked to a point that we felt was within our comfort zone for the return hike uphill, which was about 2 miles each way with about 1,500 feet in elevation change. The hike takes you down into the Bright Angel Canyon and eventually along Bright Angel Creek.
For various reasons we visited the North Rim as a day trip from Kanab, UT.