The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic natural wonders in the United States, attracting millions of visitors each year. While many people flock to the South Rim for its bustling visitor center and accessibility, others (like us) prefer the more remote North Rim. However, there is a common misconception about the North Rim that it is hot and dry in the summer, and therefore not an ideal time to visit. Let’s debunk that myth!
A cool, summer escape in Arizona is hard to believe, but it really is the best time to go. The North Rim of this ‘world wonder’ is situated on the Kaibab Platuea and is only accessible from the south by a winding, scenic road. Due to heavy snowfall in the winter months, it is only open from mid-May to mid-October. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is located at a higher elevation than the South Rim, sitting on an average elevation 8,000-9,000 feet above sea level. This means that the North Rim experiences cooler temperatures and has a more forested environment than the South Rim, even during the scorching summer months. In fact, the North Rim is known for its pleasant summer weather, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s Fahrenheit.
WIth the cooler temperatures comes an entirely different ecosystem. The North Rim is known for its remote location, rugged beauty, and abundant wildlife. This area of the Grand Canyon even has it’s very own species of squirrel: the Kaibab. With its tufted ears, this small animal is truly an unique product of its secluded environment. As far as the flora goes, the North Rim packs some surprises there as well. It is not as rocky and sparse as you would expect. The trails and singletrack here wind between Douglas Firs, Quaking Aspen, Ponderosa Pines, and Engelmann Spruce just to name a few.
Just going to a lookout over the canyon is a beautiful experience, but at the North Rim you should be prepared for adventure. North Rim visitors can enjoy hiking trails, mountain biking (there’s some new singletrack just begging to be explored), scenic drives, and of course the breathtaking views of the canyon. Mountain biking especially is a unique perk of the North Rim’s location and environment. The photo below was taken during an Escape Adventures Grand Canyon North Rim Mountain Biking tour! It’s amazing to see such greenery in Arizona.
More bearable temperatures mean more activity without worrying about getting overheated! The North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers a variety of mountain biking trails that range in difficulty, from easy to extremely challenging. Some of the most popular trails include the North Kaibab Trail, the Rainbow Rim Trail, and the Ken Patrick Trail. These trails offer stunning views of the canyon and require a high level of skill and physical fitness. Riders should be prepared for changing weather conditions and challenging terrain. The terrain is rocky and technical, with steep climbs and descents, so riders should be confident in their abilities and prepared with appropriate safety gear.
Overall, the North Rim is a beautiful and unique destination for those seeking a more remote and peaceful experience. The views are just as breathtaking as the South Rim, with fewer crowds and a more tranquil atmosphere. It is a must-see destination for a secluded and adventurous Grand Canyon visit.