Grand Canyon North Rim
It's a trek to get to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The 208-mile drive from Flagstaff takes to close to four hours. That's why only about 10 percent of the park's 6 million visitors tour the North Rim.
That scarcity of visitors and a delightful summer climate at 8,000 feet are good arguments for going the distance to the North Rim.
It's also an enjoyable drive on US 89A from Marble Canyon along the towering Vermilion Cliffs to Jacob Lake, and then through alpine meadows and forest along State Route 67 to the rim. Other than a country store and an historic lodge, there are no homes or other structures along the 45-mile route to the national park.
The North Rim has a campground with sites near the rim and cabins overlooking the canyon. It's hard to find a better spot than the patio of the Grand Canyon Lodge to sit back with a drink and enjoy the staggering view from its patio on Bright Angel Point.
The North Rim has a dozen day hikes for travelers of varying fitness levels. Cross-canyon hikes start here on the North Kaibab Trail at an elevation of 8,241 feet a few miles north of the lodge.
Book a campsite at recreation.gov or a North Rim cabin at grand canyonforever.com. A trans-canyon shuttle runs from May to October for $90 per person for a one-way trip.
The lodge and cabins close in mid-October but the North Rim remains open until Dec. 1 for day use only. The gas station stays open for self-serve gasoline and diesel fuel.
Established: 1908 National Monument; 1919 National Park
Elevation: 8,000, North Rim
Annual Visitation: 6.25 million (South and North Rim)