With that kind of “lead in” we have always wanted to return to the Grand Canyon and make sure we tour the North Rim. Today is the day!
We leave Bryce Canyon early and head toward Kanab, Utah, the last point of "civilization" before the North Rim. "Civilization" means that Kanab has a hotel, grocery store, gas station, restaurant and pizza place and they are not all in the same building! We set up camp and jump in the car for an 80 mile ride to the North Rim, that’s 160 miles round trip, are you kidding me? Along the way, we stop for a quick lunch at the Jacob Lake Inn. Jacob Lake is where the hotel, grocery store, gas station, restaurant and pizza place ARE all in the same building! We continue onward to the entry gate and then several miles more to the North Rim Village.
We spend the next couple hours wandering around the village and along the rim trails and gaze out at the beauty of the Grand Canyon. This is a magnificent place but I would not rank it higher than the South Rim. What is it about this place? I have 2 theories… One is, After driving 160 miles round trip to see it, your primary objective is to get everyone else you know to make the same crazy drive. The other theory is probably more likely, The South Rim is very touristy, there are paved and concrete walking trails, air conditioned tour bus rides to various vantage points and a variety of Hotels and Gift Shops along the rim. The North Rim has a lodge and a gift shop but the walking paths are actually “paths” through the woods, there are true cottages along the rim and everyone has their hiking gear on. That is what the North Rim is truly about, connecting with nature in a rustic back woods setting and seeing the canyon in a more unspoiled light. Now I understand the huge draw of the North Rim and the reason for the reverenced tone of its supporters.
But we still like the South Rim better. We like civilization mixed with our back woods nature hike. After a long day touring the rim, I still want a steak dinner in a restaurant and a bed not made of straw. We are headed to the South Rim next and it is not going to be a backpack, pup tent kind of trip!