Mom and I visited the Grand Canyon South Rim in ‘58, ‘61, ‘75, and ‘87.|
This is our first trip to the North Rim. We were surprised at how different it was and very glad that we took the time to stop here. It is almost a different National Park from the South Rim.
The canyons in what they call “The Grand Circle” (Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Grand Canyon) are each very unique and different from any other place in the US and probably the world. Out of the group Capitol Reef is by far the least visited because it is so far off the beaten path. I guess that is why we like it so much. To really appreciate either of these parks will require a 3 or 4 day visit. Assuming you want to do more than be a “Rim Sitter!” (Mom’s term for not going down into the canyon to explore.)
The north rim is about 1,400 feet above the south rim and 12 miles away. Therefore the ecology is quite different on the north rim. The trees are much taller, they are Ponderosa pine and not scrub pine, and there are dense forests and large meadows. It is also about 15 degrees cooler.
There is only one campground at the North Rim. The sites have no services (what we call dry camping) and they are shoehorned between large trees. The campground is operated by the National Park and is very clean. It is also right on the edge of a side canyon, The Transept.