Kecey Shen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kecey Shen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shaka Guide's Grand Canyon North Rim Itinerary


Welcome to Shaka Guide’s Grand Canyon North Rim Tour!

The Grand Canyon's North Rim only sees about 500,000 visitors each season.

That's only about 10% of its more popular sibling, the South Rim.

This makes it the perfect place for peaceful pleasant hiking and serene sightseeing.

grand canyon north rim tour map by shaka guide

Since the North Rim’s main road is only open from mid-May to mid-October, we here at Shaka Guide want to make sure you see as much as possible while you’re here!

Below is our suggested itinerary for a truly memorable trip, but–as we always say–this is your adventure! We’re just along for the ride.

There are so many ways to get to the North Rim that Shaka Guide’s audio tour offers several different starting points depending on where you’re coming from:

  • From Grand Canyon South or East Rims: Marble Canyon, AZ 
  • From Las Vegas: Arizona Highway 389 at Pipe Springs National Monument 
  • From Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks (and all points North): US Highway 89 South in Kanab, Utah

1. Bitter Springs

two horses in the grasslandsDon Graham from Redlands, CA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 1 hour

If you’re coming to the North Rim from Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Page, Arizona, or Sedona, you’ll start the audio tour in Bitter Springs, Arizona (just north of the Highway 89 N/Highway 89-A split.

While you’re there, be sure to stop at the historical Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center for an up-close-and-personal look at the Colorado River!

2. Pipe Spring National Monument (Fredonia, Arizona)

desert overviewNational Park Service Digital Image Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 2 hours

For any adventurers coming from Las Vegas, the St. George, Utah area, and most points West, we suggest starting the North Rim tour at the Pipe Spring National Monument in Fredonia (the exact coordinates are 36.85827, -112.79).

Although it’s not the official start to the tour, the Pipe Spring National Monument has a lot to offer;

  • historic buildings
  • hiking trails, and
  • guided tours

You can even pick tasty veggies, fresh from the garden! 

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3. Kanab, Utah

city road with rocky mountain on the backgroundP199, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 2 hours

If you’re joining us from Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks, Kanab, Utah is a great stopover as you make your way south to the North Rim!

Right Kanab is home to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, the Red Pueblo Museum, Little Hollywood Land, and countless short day-hikes.

Take some time to stretch your legs before the road trip ahead, and we’ll meet you in Fredonia.

4. Fredonia, Arizona

desert road in north rimP199, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 1 hour

For anyone coming from the West, Fredonia is the official start to Shaka Guide’s “Stories of the North Rim” tour.

Be sure to stock up on road trip snacks, supplies, and gas, and let’s get going!

We’ll be on Highway 89 A for about an hour. While you wind your way through the stunning Vermillion Cliffs and desert highway, our Shaka Guide will regale you with the fascinating history of the Native American tribes that came before us.

5. Jacob Lake Inn

outside of jacob lake innNational Archives and Records Administration, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 1 hour

The Jacob Lake Inn is a great place to stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat.

They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their dining room, and their on-site bakery is famous for its giant cookies.

6. Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center

woman reading Kaibab National Forest, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 1 hour

Stop into the North Kaibab Visitor Center to check current trail and weather conditions and chat with the Kaibab National Forest rangers.

It’s also a great place to gas up the car and stock up on hiking supplies. Don’t forget to grab some sunscreen!

7. Jacob Lake Lookout Tower

below a towerKaibab National Forest, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 1 hour

Years ago, the US Forest Service used towers like the Jacob Lake Lookout to manually spot far-off forest fires.

A USFS or park employee was responsible for manning the tower.

Thanks to modern technology, these towers haven't been actively manned in years.

However, if you stop to check out this fascinating piece of history, you’ll be able to climb 80 feet to the top.

From there, you can get amazing pictures of the Kaibab National Forest from a pretty unique perspective!

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8. North Rim Country Store

facade of north rim country storeKaibab Lodge

Up to 1 hour

Welcome to the unofficial halfway point between Jacob Lake and the North Rim Visitor Center!

Getting hungry yet? Thirsty? Need supplies? Maybe a little leg stretch? The North Rim Country Store is your place!

Stop in for snacks and gas up the car before heading back out on the road!

The North Rim Visitor Center is only about a half hour away from here.

If you arrive around lunchtime, consider grabbing some picnic supplies; there are some lovely picnic areas coming up soon!

9. North Rim Entrance Gate

grand canyon nationla park signboardGrand Canyon National Park, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10 to 15 minutes

Get your America the Beautiful pass (or your $35 entry fee) ready!

There shouldn’t be much of a line at the North Rim Entrance gate.

If you’re planning on hiking while you’re here, be sure to get updated trail information and weather conditions from the friendly rangers here.

10. East Rim Viewpoint

grand canyon north rim overlook from aboveFrank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 2 hours

East Rim Viewpoint is an optional side trip that overlooks the Saddle Mountain Wilderness, Marble Canyon, and the Navajo Nation.

East Rim is just a short, 4-mile drive up Forest Road 611. 

11. Point Imperial Road

road with bushes besideDaniel Schwen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 4 hours

Technically, Point Imperial Road is accessed via Cape Royal Road (we’ll get to that one next), but it’s a great side adventure all unto itself!

After turning onto Point Imperial Road, you’ll wind upwards through the forest until you reach Point Imperial (which is an impressive 8,803 feet above sea level!)

Stop at the picnic area for lunch, gaze at the Canyon from the highest vantage point on the North Rim, and then explore the Point Imperial Trail.

This is a moderately-difficult, 4-mile trail that passes through areas burned by the 2000 Outlet Fire and ends at the northern park boundary.

JUST A WORD OF CAUTION the Point Imperial Trail isn’t very well maintained, so if you’re planning on checking it out, make sure you check trail conditions when you pass through the park’s Entrance Gate.

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12. Cape Royal Road

road with pine trees beside in black and whiteGrogan, Brian C., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2 to 4 hours total

Though a side trip down Cape Royal Road is optional, you may be sorry if you skip it.

Some of the most spectacular overlooks at the North Rim are tucked away on this nine-and-a-half-mile paved road including:

13. Vista Encantada Viewpoint and Picnic Area

forest overviewView from Vista Encantada / Little Mountain 5, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Overlooks the Walhalla Plateau, and on clear days, you might be able to see to Arizona’s Painted Desert, which is almost 150 miles away!

You’ll also be able to enjoy a quiet picnic area surrounded by wildflowers. Perfect for Instagram-worthy pics!

14. Roosevelt Point

north rim overviewMiguel Hermoso Cuesta, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Believe it or not, Roosevelt Point is one of the youngest viewpoints on both rims!

Of course, this viewpoint overlooking the Kwagunt Creek and the Tritle Peak has probably been there as long as the Canyon itself, but it didn’t get an official name until 1990!

Roosevelt Point can be accessed via a narrow but flat 0.2-mile path from the parking area. 

15. Cape Final Trail

beautiful vew of grand canyon north rimGrand Canyon National Park, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It may sound ominous, but the Cape Final trail is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on the North Rim.

You’ll have to hike about 2 miles of mostly flat terrain to get there, but you’ll be rewarded by a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the entire Canyon!

16. Walhalla Ruins and Overlook

forest with stones at the middleGrand Canyon National Park, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Walhalla Ruins were once an Ancestral Puebloan summer home that housed over 20 people. Imagine!

Just a short, 0.2-mile walk from the parking area will take you nearly 900 years back in time!

17. Cape Royal Overlook

cape royal signNikater, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Cape Royal is the southernmost viewpoint on the North Rim.

From this vantage point, you’ll get sweeping Canyon views.

These views extend from Marble Canyon in the north to the Palisades of the Desert in the south.

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Additionally, you can see westwards for many miles towards the main South Rim visitor area around Garden Creek.

Keep an eye out for rock structures like Wotan’s Throne, Freya Castle, and Unkar Creek.

18. Point Sublime Trail

forest with rider of ebike in the trailYellowstone National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4 hours

WARNING: Point Sublime is hard to access and pretty remote, so please don’t attempt this drive without a high-clearance, 4x4 vehicle.

This is the westernmost viewpoint at the North Rim (accessible by car, that is), but many wildfires have burned through this area and sometimes the access road is closed because of this.

It takes about 2 hours to actually get to Point Sublime, and the National Park calls the road “primitive.”

In fact, a backcountry permit is required if you plan on camping here. 

So what’s the point of even trying, you ask?

Legend has it that the view from Point Sublime is one of the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring views of nature’s majesty that you’ll ever see.

If you’re up for the challenge (and are completely sure that you’re prepared for the journey), have a great time and please, tag us in your photos! (@shakaguide, in case you forgot).

19. North Kaibab Trailhead

north kaibab trailhead signboardGrand Canyon National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 24 hours

If you’re wondering why we’ve given you such a large timespan at the North Kaibab Trailhead, it’s because this one is a bit tricky.

This is one of the most famous trails at both rims of the Canyon because this is the one that connects them!

The North Kaibab Trail itself descends to the Canyon floor, where it eventually connects to the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails to ascend out of the Canyon at the South Rim.

The whole Rim to Rim hike will take an experienced hiker roughly 8 hours to complete, but many adventurers prefer to camp at various locations near the Canyon floor.

Beginner hikers or travelers without proper hiking gear should not attempt to hike this trail.

So why are we including it here? Well, the North Kaibab Trail passes through every ecosystem from Canada to Mexico!

Even if you’re not hiking the whole way down, it’s worth a bit of exploration!

Walk as far as you’re comfortable, take some great pictures, and give high fives to the Rim to Rim hikers as they ascend the Canyon!

20. Grand Canyon Inn and North Rim Visitor Center

outside of visitor centerNational Park Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1 to 2 hours

Even if you’re not staying at the Grand Canyon Inn, you should definitely stop by and explore a bit.

This is actually the most intact rustic lodge in the entire National Park system, and it’s pretty much unchanged since 1937.

While you’re there, have a bite to eat in the main dining room or one of the on-site saloons.

Settle into a rocking chair on the grand front porch overlooking the Canyon.

Don’t forget to say hello to the statue of Brighty the Burro.

And, of course, don’t forget to rub his nose for good luck!

Don’t worry, shopaholics; the Park Store at the North Rim Visitor Center is just a short walk from the Inn, and it’s open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.

You’ll also be able to talk to park rangers, get trail information and supplies, sign up for nature programs, and freshen up in the restrooms. 

21. Bright Angel Point

viewpoint of grand canyon north rim with people taking picturesDaniel Schwen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Up to 2 hours

Bright Angel Point is arguably the most popular viewpoint on the North Rim, and it’s fairly easy to get to.

Simply follow the 0.4-mile paved path from the Lodge, and you’ll be able to take in the iconic views of:

  • Roaring Springs Canyon
  • Oza Butte rising above the Manu Temple
  • Bright Angel Canyon
  • the Deva, Brahma, and
  • Zoroaster Temples

Just a word of caution; the short path to Bright Angel Point is paved but gets a little steep in a few places.

While this probably wouldn’t be a problem for even beginner hikers, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 8,100 feet above sea level.

That means the air up here is thinner than some folks are used to, and it may cause people to get out of breath more quickly than they ordinarily might at a lower elevation.

Be sure to use good judgment and listen to your body!

Well, there's a whole lot to do on the North Rim, eh?

Well, one last thing before you go—while you're there, visiting the Grand Canyon, be sure to give nature the respect it deserves.

Or, as you might say, leave no trace. Pick up your trash, stay on the trails, and stay safe out there!

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Excited to embark on your adventure? Be sure to take Shaka Guide along for the ride, with our Grand Canyon North Rim tour.

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Grand Canyon North Rim Know Before You Go article.


Know Before You Go: Shaka Guide’s Grand Canyon North Rim Tour

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