WE ARE HERE!!!!
Grand Canyon Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
August 14th, 2009 – by: mellemel8
The drive was so beautiful in both sides that we drove passed our campsite, north rim campgrounds. It is normally $25 to enter since James has an annual pass. WE ARE FREE!!!!! We pitched our 3 tents. We arrived at 3pm. There was plenty of time to hike around the campgrounds. There were 7 of us sharing one campsite. James, Song, the Ling sisters: Amy, Amanda and Cathy, RJ(rj82) and me. These are my hiking group, THE LOST HIKERS.
The view of the North Rim is just a few feet from our spot. After unloading and getting settled, we all made a snack. RJ and I had a turkey/ham cheese sandwich.
Since no one knows how the build a fire, I started the fire. RJ and Song played chess before dinner. It was cold and had a cool breeze. I am glad I brought my beanie and hoodie. We had plenty of food to last us 4 days. RJ went grocery shopping for the both of us. I trusted him to get easy and simple food to cook, which he did. Between all 7 of us, we had 2 stoves and plenty of pots and pans to share.
Shortly thereafter, we all walked to Kristy’s campsite. She is one of THE LOST HIKERS. There are about 20 of us coming to this trip. We hung out there for a bit. We played texas hold’em all night. It was 12am, we had to be up semi early to start our hike. Unfortunately, I forgot my rake to clear out all rocks. I had a fat rock on the foot of my sleeping bag. OMG it is going to be a cool night. it is about 50. I am glad my sleeping bag keeps me warm.
About Grand Canyon (north rim) National Park:
The journey from the south rim to the north rim of the Grand Canyon takes about 5 hours but is very scenic, involving a 215 mile route that descends from the pine-covered Coconino Plateau near the canyon into the flat, empty but very colorful Painted Desert in the Navajo Indian Reservation, up US 89 past the Echo Cliffs, across the Colorado River near Lees Ferry, then south alongside the Vermilion Cliffs, before climbing steeply into the Kaibab National Forest and to the small community of Jacob Lake.
Other Approaches: Apart from the main highway, the two main unpaved routes to the north rim are Buffalo Ranch Road across House Rock Valley, which leads to points on the east of the plateau such as Saddle Mountain and the Nankoweap trailhead, or Ryan Road (FR 222), that heads south from Fredonia into national forest land and passes many intersections with other backcountry tracks.
North Rim Facilities: The largest meadow along the main road is De Motte Park, which stretches for 10 miles mostly on the west side of the highway, and is a good place to look for mule deer who graze on the grassy expanses in the morning and evening. There are several facilities near the lower end including a general store, restaurant and campground, while for people who prefer free camping, the places closest to the national park are a short way along FR 422, branching west from the main road 4.5 miles before the boundary. A few miles after the park entrance station (elevation 8,824 feet), a paved but narrow and winding side road leads across the Walhalla Plateau to various viewpoints of the canyon to the east, while the main highway continues to Grand Canyon Lodge and the visitor center.
Roads and Trails: Bright Angel Point has good overlooks of Roaring Springs and Bright Angel canyons far below. The North Kaibab Trail runs through these canyons, and several miles of its course are visible from the viewpoint - this trail begins a few miles north of the main visitor complex and is the only maintained path into the canyon from the north rim, although a complicated network of logging tracks extends west from AZ 67 into the Kaibab National Forest, linking with Ryan Road, and allowing access to other canyon overlooks, as well as (free) primitive camping, but 4WD vehicles may be required.
North Rim Trails
There is only one maintained route to the Colorado River from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, though at 14 miles (one-way) and with a descent of nearly 6,000 feet, the North Kaibab Trail is not for everyone. The other rim to river routes (Nankoweap, North Bass) are even more strenuous, and just reaching the trailheads is difficult. But in contrast to the South Rim, there are a variety of easier, mostly level paths that follow the rim and lead to tranquil viewpoints, well away from the main visitor center complex at busy Bright Angel Point.
Bright Angel Point 0.4 miles/100 Elevation Change (feet)
Starting beside the historic Bright Angel Lodge, a paved trail descends a short distance to the southern tip of a narrow promontory for excellent views over the Grand Canyon, from The Transept in the west to Bright Angel Canyon in the east. Every visitor to the north rim walks the path at least once.
Cape Final 2 miles/150 Elevation Change (feet)
A long disused vehicle track provides an easy route across the edge of the Walhalla Plateau to the easternmost viewpoint on the North Rim, 7,916 foot Cape Final, which overlooks a vast area of lesser-known formations centered around Chuar Valley and Unkar Creek.
Cape Royal 0.3 miles/40 Elevation Change (feet)
Competing with Cape Final to be the best North Rim viewpoint, Cape Royal is reached by an easy, paved, wheelchair-accessible footpath starting right at the end of the paved side road across the Walhalla Plateau. En route is Angels Window, an oft-photographed natural arch in the Kaibab limestone.
Clear Creek 9.4 miles/1,500 Elevation Change (feet)
0.3 miles from Phantom Ranch up the North Kaibab Trail, another path forks off to the east, climbing the canyon side via a series of switchbacks, up to the Tonto bench, which it follows for nearly 10 miles further east, around several small ravines and into the larger drainage of Clear Creek.
Ken Patrick 10 miles/600 Elevation Change (feet)
Named after a ranger who worked at the national park in the 1960s, but was later killed whilst on duty at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, the Ken Patrick Trail links the start of the North Kaibab Trail with Point Imperial, running mostly across the forested plateau but with many viewpoints over the rim - either of upper Bright Angel Canyon or the larger Grand Canyon around Nankoweap Creek.
Nankoweap 14 miles/6,000 Elevation Change (feet)
Nankoweap is a long route from the Kaibab Plateau to the Colorado River, starting from the end of forest road 610, 12 miles from the north rim entrance road. The trail is unmaintained, little used, and very strenuous; the full round trip needs at least two days and the trip involves the greatest elevation change of any trail in the Grand Canyon. An alternative trailhead is found a little way north, accessed via a longer track across House Rock Valley starting at US 89, and can be used some of time when the north rim road is closed for the winter.
North Bass 14 miles/5,300 Elevation Change (feet)
Constructed in the 1890s by Grand Canyon pioneer William Bass, this very rough and remote trail leads down Muav Canyon, White Creek and Shinumo Creek to the Colorado River. The starting point is Swamp Point, itself quite difficult to reach, requiring a 17 mile drive over logging tracks, starting from AZ 67 close to North Rim Village. An alternative approach is via Ryan Road from Fredonia - a longer route but one accessible for more of the year. At least one night camping along the trail is needed if hiking the full distance; more if exploring other areas such as Powell Plateau, reached by a branch of the trail to the west.
North Kaibab 14 miles/5,780 Elevation Change (feet)
The relatively popular North Kaibab Trail is a well used route down Bright Angel Canyon to Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River - the only maintained route to the river from the North Rim.
Old Kaibab 7 miles/3,700 Elevation Change (feet)
Also known as the Old Bright Angel Trail, this path formed part of the route along Bright Angel Canyon prior to construction of the steep upper section of the North Kaibab Trail in the 1920s. Although not maintained the path is still easy enough to follow, and can be used to make an interesting loop hike; the start point is 4 miles along the Ken Patrick Trail, from where the path heads south and descends rather overgrown slopes around the upper end of Bright Angel Canyon, then follows the creek mostly a little way above the streambed to the junction with the North Kaibab Trail, near Roaring Springs.
Point Imperial 2 miles/relatively level
From the end of the paved road to the highest overlook on the North Rim, 8,803 foot Point Imperial, this easy, level trail follows an old track (closed to private vehicles) northwards to the park boundary, where it meets the end of forest road 610, and the start of the Nankoweap Trail. Most of the 2 mile route is close to the plateau edge, and has fine views over upper Nankoweap Creek.
Transept 1.5 miles/150 Elevation Change (feet)
The Transept is a deep, sheer walled tributary of Bright Angel Canyon, on the west side of Bright Angel Point.
Uncle Jim 5 miles (loop) 100
This loop trail across the forested plateau leads to a viewpoint on the rim that overlooks Roaring Springs Canyon, some of Bright Angel Canyon and the upper part of the North Kaibab Trail. The trailhead for both paths is along the main road 2 miles north of Grand Canyon Lodge.
Widforss 5 miles/400 Elevation Change (feet)
Start point for the Widforss Trail is a short distance along a side road that forks west one mile before the North Rim visitor complex.
Tuweep Area Trails
Lava Falls 2 miles/2,540 Elevation Change (feet)
The Lava Falls Trail offers an extremely steep, difficult hike across loose scree and lava blocks, from the rim to the Colorado River. But the route is quite short, and makes an excellent half day hike. The trailhead is located at the end of a rather rough 2 mile track branching off the road to Toroweap overlook - and about 60 miles from a paved highway, along the Mnt Trumbull loop road.
Tuckup 60 miles/ relatively level
The Tuckup Trail is similar to the Tonto Trail on the South Rim but less traveled; it follows the mostly flat Esplanade sandstone layer from Toroweap Point eastwards to 150 Mile Canyon, curving around numerous side ravines of which the largest is Tuckup Canyon. There are various options for hiking just certain sections, and for descending towards the river. The east end may be reached from a 4WD track across Kanab Plateau.
Viewpoints: The north rim has two main viewpoints towards the east, reached by the side road. One is Point Imperial, the highest in the park at an elevation of 8,803 feet, which apart from the canyon, here relatively shallow and less branched, also overlooks large areas of the Painted Desert and the Navajo Reservation. The second is Cape Royal (7,865 feet), perhaps the best of the north rim sites.
Climate: As the north rim is on average 1,300 feet higher than the south, the climate is significantly different. Summer temperatures are usually about 5-10 degrees lower, nighttime frosts may occur any month of the year and in winter/spring the approach road is closed by snow, although intrepid visitors may still reach the canyon by two or more days cross-country skiing. The visitor season is usually limited by the weather to only 6 months each year, from mid May to mid October.
LET THE HIKING BEGIN.......
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