North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park Hiking

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North Rim

Avid outdoor enthusiasts love hiking around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, experiencing the rich beauty of this amazing natural attraction, with spectacular vistas of colorful limestone cliffs.

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  • Bright Angel Point Trail is an easy .8-mile hike with dramatic views
  • Point Imperial Trail takes you on a 4.4-mile out-and-back hike through the Kaibab forest
  • Cliff Springs Trail is a 1-mile, easy hike below the Walhalla Plateau rim
  • Ken Patrick Trail is a 6-hour hike on the Kaibab Plateau

Overview

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is remote, thus not as crowded as the popular and easily reached South Rim. It makes a perfect place for hiking these colorful canyon and rim trails. It’s a pristine natural environment where you can experience the exhilarating views, fresh air and peaceful quiet.

Here are the North Rim day hikes you might enjoy:

Bright Angel Point Trail
This short walk is ideal for the whole family, an easy walk of .8 miles on a paved trail taking you to a dramatic vista. Be sure to pick up one of the self-guided nature trail pamphlets along the way. Trailhead: Drive from the North Entrance Station to the Grand Canyon Lodge at the end of the paved road to the North Rim. The trailhead starts at the parking lot of the lodge. 

  • Distance – 0.8 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 30 minutes
  • Elevation Gain – 90 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Point Imperial Trail
This easy 4.4-mile out-and-back hike takes you through an area of the Kaibab forest that was burned in a 2000 fire, and you’ll see new species of plant life now thriving. You don’t have to hike the whole way, but can turn back whenever you want. But hike long enough to stop at the overlooks of Marble Canyon and enjoy the meadows of wildflowers. Trailhead: Drive from the North Entrance Station and watch for signs to Point Imperial. The trail starts at the Point Imperial parking lot. 

  • Distance – 4.4 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 300 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Roosevelt Point Trail
This woodland loop trail lets you enjoy some breathtaking views. You can sit on convenient benches to relax and just take in Grand Canyon’s beauty. Trailhead: Drive to the North Rim from the North Entrance Station and watch for signs to Roosevelt Point. Follow the winding road to the point. The trailhead begins at a small parking lot on the north side of the road. 

  • Distance – 0.25 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 20 minutes
  • Elevation Gain – 10 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Loop

Cape Final Trail
Take your time on Cape Final Trail so you can enjoy every second. It’s an easy trail taking you through a quiet forest, along the rim of the canyon, with incredible views at the Cape. Trailhead: Take the road from the North Entrance Station, turning left towards the Walhalla Plateau. You can park at the Cape Royal Point parking lot. The trailhead is two miles short of this parking area. 

  • Distance – 4 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 292 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Cliff Springs Trail
Although short (only a mile long), this trail takes you below the rim of the Walhalla Plateau, with amazing views and a backdrop of a trickling spring in a natural alcove. Take your camera along for this lovely hike. Trailhead: When driving around the Walhalla Plateau, you’ll find a small pullout across from the Angel’s Window Overlook. The trail begins across the road. 

  • Distance – 1 mile
  • Average Time of Hike – 1 hour
  • Elevation Gain – 150 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Cape Royal Trail
This paved trail provides views of Angel’s Window and the Colorado River. It’s only about a half hour walk, but allow more time so you can stop and enjoy the vistas stretched out before you. You can also read the interpretive markers telling you about the area’s natural history. This is a popular wedding spot too! Trailhead: It’s a 23-mile drive from Grand Canyon Lodge, around the Walhalla Plateau. You’ll find the trailhead for the Cape Royal Trail on the southeast side of the parking area at Cape Royal. 

  • Distance – 0.6 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 30 minutes
  • Elevation Gain – Minimal
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

North Kaibab Trail
This is the only maintained trail off the North Rim. You can hike sections of it for shorter treks, or hike the whole thing out and back for a real backpacking trip. This is a popular trail with breathtaking views of the canyon. Some of the shorter hikes you can do along the North Kaibab Trail are to Coconino Overlook, which is 1.5 miles out and back, the Supai Tunnel, 4 miles roundtrip and Roaring Springs, a 9.4-mile out-and-back trek. Trailhead: Two miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge on the main road from the North Entrance Station, you’ll find a parking area. The trailhead for North Kaibab Trail starts here. 

  • Distance – 28 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 4 days
  • Elevation Gain – 5,770 feet
  • Difficulty – Very strenuous
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Uncle Jim Trail
A trail also used by mules, the Uncle Jim Trail winds through the forest, and takes you to a lovely viewpoint on the North Rim. Look out over Roaring Springs Canyon at the end. Trailhead: The Uncle Jim Trail starts in the North Kaibab Trail parking area 2 miles north of the Grand Canyon Lodge on the main park road. Trailheads for North Kaibab and Ken Patrick Trails begin here as well. 

  • Distance – 3.9 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 2 to 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 600 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderately easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Ken Patrick Trail
Hike along the rim on this 6-hour hike on the Kaibab Plateau. Gentle grades make this trek moderately easy. The Ken Patrick Trail is ideal for hot summer days since it often enters conifer forests, giving you some needed shade. Trailhead: The Ken Patrick Trail begins in the North Kaibab Trail parking area, which is 2 miles north of the Grand Canyon Lodge on the main park road. Trailheads for North Kaibab and Uncle Jim Trails begin here as well. 

  • Distance – 10 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 6 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 360 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderately easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Widforss Trail
Enjoy this self-guided nature trail as you take a 2-hour trek along the plateau and hug the rim of the canyon. Walk through the forests and enjoy the views at the overlooks along the way. Trailhead: From the main road from the Northern entrance to the park, take a right on the dirt road to Widforss Point. The trailhead is one mile down this road. 

  • Distance – 4.2 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 400 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Bridle Trail
Following the road and connecting Grand Canyon Lodge with North Kaibab Trail, this trail takes you past wonderful views of the Roaring Springs Canyon. You can even ride a bike here or bring your pet on a leash. Trailhead: You’ll find the trailhead for this trail at the parking area for the North Rim Visitor Center. 

  • Distance – 1.5 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain – 25 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

Transept Trail
This rim trail takes you from the North Rim Campground to the Grand Canyon Lodge. The maintained 3-mile roundtrip hike is great for the whole family. It’s very easy to follow. You will also be able to get a ranger talk for sections of this trail by getting a park newspaper and checking out times and meeting spots. Trailhead: The trailhead for the Transept Trail begins at the North Rim Campground close to the General Store. 

  • Distance – 3 miles
  • Average Time of Hike – 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain – Minimal
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Trail Type – Out and back

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