Over 5 million people visit the breathtaking Grand Canyon each year. Like historic U.S. Highway 66 — known as America’s Mother Road, or Route 66 — its vistas invoke a sense of majesty, nostalgia and wonder.
Most travellers take in the beauty of Grand Canyon National Park by visiting its popular South Rim. However, you can experience some of the most astounding views on the lesser-travelled North Rim. Route 66 Tours provides an opportunity to indulge in the splendour of both historic pillars of Americana.
This article will examine what makes the Grand Canyon North Rim special and reveal how you can experience the thrill of Main Street America by roaring down Route 66 to stand atop this awe-inspiring national wonder.
Grand Canyon National Park
Why is the Grand Canyon emblematic of Wild West America? As one of the world’s seven natural wonders, Spaghetti Westerns have featured the high red walls and deep valleys of this majestic landscape since the 1930s. Classics such as ‘Tombstone Canyon,’ ‘Massacre at Grand Canyon’ and ‘Grand Canyon Trail’ have captured the hearts and minds of cowboys and movie-lovers for generations.
Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona are sure to experience a sense of awe that simply isn’t captured on film. One has to feel the horizon from atop the rich red rock for themselves to understand what makes the park a landmark destination for people from all over the world.
Here’s what you can expect to learn, see and feel when visiting the Grand Canyon:
- Awe-inspiring landscapes: At its widest point, the Grand Canyon stretches 29 kilometres across and is 1,800 metres deep. Standing on a rocky peak, one could never hope to take in the Canyon’s entirety, as it measures over 466 kilometres!
- Wildlife: many animals, birds and reptiles call the Grand Canyon home. With over 90 species of mammals alone, mountain lions, bison and even ringtail cats live amongst the crevices and scrublands.
- Hidden caves and wild temperatures: Many picture the Grand Canyon as a series of elevated landmarks emblazoned by the sun. In actuality, an intricate network of caves litters the Canyon, weaving in and out of subterranean terrains. The Canyon is prone to diverse weather, ranging from several feet of snow at the North Rim to bright sunshine at the South Rim — all on the same day!
Uncover the Beauty of the North Rim
So what makes the North Rim a unique and overlooked destination for visitors to the Grand Canyon? While it only draws 10% of the yearly traffic to the national park, the ‘other side’ of this world wonder hides some breathtaking views.
Overlooking the Painted Desert, Point Imperial and Cape Royal are two unique destinations for travellers who make the journey North. The treelines visible from atop these vistas reveal the topographical differences between the two rims. The South is frequently sun-drenched and scorchingly hot while the North has shade and experiences a range of seasonal weather. For those willing to stay, the North Rim campground selection offers a variety of viewpoints and landscapes where adventures begin.
Point Imperial is the highest on the North Rim, with an elevation of over 8,000 feet. Part of this viewpoint is accessible by foot, and visitors will enjoy a unique view of Marble Canyon’s narrow walls. Although it’s a winding gash on the land, the Canyon eventually widens and showcases unique rock formations.
Here’s a list of 10 destinations worth visiting at the North Rim:
- Cape Royal offers seemingly endless vistas to the east and west, affording viewers the rare opportunity to see sunrise and sunset from the same vantage point. Cape Royal road offers scenic North Rim vistas that feature more ecological diversity than the desert view of the South Rim. Visitors often take in the sights via Grand Canyon trail rides while staying at destinations like the North Rim Hotel or North Rim Lodge.
- Bright Angel Point Trail is amongst the most scenic paths of the entire national park.
- A visit to the North Rim Country Store provides ice cream, camping gear and other essential provisions for travellers looking to stock up.
- Roosevelt Point provides panoramic views of the eastern canyon and Arizona trail.
- Angel’s Window provides a view of the sweeping Colorado River at Unkar Delta, a truly serene landscape that isn’t replicated in the Southern Rim.
- The Phantom Ranch, nestled at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the north side of the Colorado River, is a historic oasis. A popular North Rim visitor centre, the Ranch provides sack lunches and on-the-go dinners for hikers near Bright Angel Point.
- The Walhalla Overlook showcases both the Echo Cliffs and the Painted Desert in the distance. Visitors can make a short trek to Walhalla Glades Pueblo, an ancestral ruin about 1000 years old.
- The North Kaibab Trail is the least-visited and most difficult of the major inner canyon trails in the national park. The North Kaibab trailhead boasts an elevation of 8,241 feet and is sure to challenge even the most seasoned of day-hikers. Winding through the Kaibab national forest, the new Bright Angel trail crosses the nearby creek six times. Visitors to Kaibab lodge can enjoy a respite from the difficulty of the journey.
- The Jacob Lake Inn is often regarded as the gateway to the North Rim. In order to get to any of the national parks or other destinations from the North Rim, one must drive back to Jacob Lake first.
- Located to the west of Grand Canyon Lodge and the North Rim campground, the Transept Trail winds through woodlands and open vistas en route to landmarks like Bridle Path.
Experience the Beauty of the North Rim with Route 66 Tours
Your Route 66 Tours adventure affords a unique opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. As part of the 26-night Fall Route 66 Plus Tour experience, you’ll enjoy a stop at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Spend an afternoon curated by our expert guides who know the area well and uncover the nostalgic wonder of Wild West America.
With time set aside to explore the vistas and landmarks that make the North Rim the national park’s best-kept-secret, you’ll experience trees in the fall, colouring the most beautiful views of the entire year.
Unlike some other travel companies, the Route 66 Tours experience ensures we take our time to help you get the most out of your adventure. Our expert guides know The Mother Road like the back of their hands, and have carefully cultivated the Grand Canyon visit to ensure you have the time you need to take advantage of all the North Rim offers.
We understand that this popular destination is a highlight of your trip across Route 66, and we’ve dog-eared our maps to make sure you leave the Grand Canyon in awe.
Book Your Route 66 Tours Adventure
With decades of experience organising tours across Route 66, our team removes the stresses and worries associated with travel. We understand that planning and executing a vacation can be difficult, with limited time – or few points of reference — to plan itineraries and landmark visits.
That’s why we’re happy to do the heavy lifting for you. We’ll ensure that your Route 66 Tours adventure takes in all the sights and sounds that have made Main Street America a worldwide destination. You can simply sit back and enjoy the ride, coasting down Route66 whilst taking in the world-renowned sightlines of places like the Grand Canyon.
Our all-Aussie tour guides will lead you down the original Route 66 on a stress-free cruise that lets you focus on what matters most: the world around you. From Windy City skylines to the endless twists and turns of the Grand Canyon, your guided experience can take you to a variety of sights that encapsulate roadside Americana.
Many of our celebrated travellers have come back for more. Those who can’t get enough of Route 66 will enjoy our Reunion Tour experiences. We gently encourage you to read the testimonials of our experienced road-warriors to gain an understanding of how our guides make your journey unforgettable. We’re truly blessed to have the opportunity to connect with amazing people the world over. We would relish the opportunity to count you amongst the nostalgia lovers who have travelled Main Street America with us.
To learn more about our road trip adventures, visit our Route 66 Tours page. You’ll discover seasonal rides fit for any amount of time on your hands, with durations ranging from our 26-night Plus Tours to 17-night Express offerings.
We’re currently booking for our 2023 Fall Route 66 Plus Tour, running from Oct 11th – Nov 6th. Together, we’ll leave Las Vegas for a once-in-a lifetime trip down memory lane. Your 26-night cruise will head out for the North Rim before reaching Chicago. We’ll take the road less-travelled back, enjoying the diversity of eight great American States before returning to Sin City.
When you’re ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime, contact us to strike out for adventure. The Mother Road awaits, en route to the jaw-dropping views you’ll take in from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.