There are few places in the world as beautiful and as magnificent as the Grand Canyon. Luckily for folks living in Las Vegas, it’s right next door in Arizona – though I am shocked how few of us visit this wondrous place. When people bother to go, too often they overlook the North Rim and go to the South Rim or even Grand Canyon West. There are several reasons why you should choose the North Rim.
The newer Grand Canyon West is privately owned by the Hualapai Tribe. It is famous for its Sky Walk and it’s much closer to Las Vegas than any of the other locations. I drove there about a year ago, but didn’t even wind up seeing the canyon. Expect to pay more than Disneyland to get access to views of the canyon there. $70 per person just to get in. There’s an additional charge to walk on the Sky Walk, and you can’t even take your own pictures… but you can purchase them!
The Navajo Nation is also looking at developing a similar resort with a proposed controversial gondola that takes people to the river bottom. This is to the east of the national park at the convergence of the Little Colorado tributary and the Colorado River.
While the South Rim of the Grand Canyon receives the most visitors each year, that’s mostly because the North Rim is closed from late October through April due to heavy snows making roads impassible. There’s also no public transportation to the North Rim, and it’s far from major cities, unlike the South Rim. So even during the period the North Rim is open, it is less congested.
Here’s five reasons why you should choose the North Rim:
- It’s 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim (Better Views)
- Higher elevation means tall Ponderosa pines and cooler temperatures during the summer.
- There’s a herd of wild buffalo.
- You might also see herds of deer and wild turkeys.
- It’s less popular, with far fewer tourists.
The South Rim features more of a desert landscape and does reportedly have more and better views of the canyon, plus it’s open all year. Despite these advantages, however, the North Rim is better in my book. Plus you can go through Zion National Park on the way there or on the way back for yet another amazing outdoor experience.
On my recent visit, I had the privilege of taking some great photographs of the canyon, a buffalo herd, some baby deer and a wild turkey and its chick. I’ve shared a few of these below (click to enlarge). As you can see, this is the place to visit: