The Grand Canyon: Should I go to the North or South Rim?

Many people who visit the Grand Canyon express that is was “better than expected.” Impressive, because it has some very high expectations associated with its name. The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Nearly every person in the entire world knows of its vastness and beauty.

It covers 1,217,403 acres of land; making it nearly impossible to gaze upon the rocks without inducing curiosity for geology. Some rock formations lying at the bottom of the canyon date back to 1.8 million years ago, yet most geologists believe the cutting of the canyon started at a distant five million years ago.

About 5 million people travel to the 277 miles of Grand Canyon every year. Probably about 90% of them first gaze upon its greatness form the heavily developed South Rim. In fact, the rocks have even been polished smooth and glossy from the millions of sneakers and boots upon their surfaces. The South Rim certainly has some of the most iconic vistas and most excursions leave from there; however, the North Rim offers a more leisurely and less crowded experience of the Grand Canyon’s 1,904 square feet of wilderness areas. The trails here in the North less in number and are more rim-top oriented, that drop hikers off at secluded viewpoints. The South provides a plethora of trails with access to the canyon bottom.

South Rim in a Nutshell
Pros – See the iconic views that you have seen in photographs while enjoying a nice motel overlooking the Canyon before taking a guided tour or other excursion.
Cons – You’ll feel like a camera-holding sheep tourist being herded along a path to your destinations while stepping over dropped Slurpee cups.

North Rim in a Nutshell
Pros – Rustic setting that is far less commercialized for a more leisure and natural experience.
Cons – Less amenities like hotels as well as less activities and tours offered. Views are supposedly less jaw-dropping.

Self-Guide Tip
Modern technology makes for a shockingly convenient, self-guided tour of the Canyon with Cell Phone Audio Tours. Look for “Park Ranger Audio Tour” signs along the trail and call 928-225-2907, and enter the “stop number” on the sign. Now park rangers have extra time to clean up Slurpee cups or whatever they do, instead of guiding you on a tour.