Easy in Grand Canyon North Rim
Cape Final Trail. This 4-mile (round-trip) gravel path follows an old jeep trail through a ponderosa pine forest to the canyon overlook at Cape Final with panoramic views of the northern canyon, the Palisades of the Desert, and the impressive spectacle of Juno Temple. Easy. Trailhead: dirt parking lot 5 miles south of Roosevelt Point on Cape Royal Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Cape Royal Trail. Informative signs about vegetation, wildlife, and natural history add to this popular 0.6-mile, round-trip, paved path to Cape Royal; allow 30 minutes round-trip. At an elevation of 7,685 feet on the southern edge of the Walhalla Plateau, this popular viewpoint offers expansive views of Wotans Throne, Vishnu Temple, Freya Castle, Horseshoe Mesa, and the Colorado River. The trail also offers several nice views of Angels Window. Easy. Trailhead: end of Cape Royal Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Cliff Springs Trail. An easy 1-mile (round-trip), one-hour walk near Cape Royal, Cliff Springs Trail leads through a forested ravine to an excellent view of the canyon. The trailhead begins at the Cape Royal parking lot, across from Angels Window Overlook. Narrow and precarious in spots, it passes ancient dwellings, winds beneath a limestone overhang, and ends at Cliff Springs. Easy. Trailhead: end of Cape Royal Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Roosevelt Point Trail. This easy 0.2-mile round-trip trail loops through the forest to the scenic viewpoint. Allow 20 minutes for this relaxed, secluded hike. Easy. Trailhead: Cape Royal Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023. www.nps.gov/grca.
Transept Trail. This 3-mile (round-trip), 1½-hour trail begins near the Grand Canyon Lodge at 8,255 feet. Well maintained and well marked, it has little elevation change, sticking near the rim before reaching a dramatic view of a large stream through Bright Angel Canyon. The route leads to a side canyon called Transept Canyon, which geologist Clarence Dutton named in 1882, declaring it "far grander than Yosemite." Check the posted schedule to find a ranger talk along this trail; it's also a great place to view fall foliage. Flash floods can occur any time of the year, especially June through September when thunderstorms develop rapidly. Easy. Trailhead: near the Grand Canyon Lodge's east patio, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Uncle Jim Trail. This 5-mile, three-hour loop trail starts at 8,300 feet and winds south through the forest, past Roaring Springs and Bright Angel canyons. The highlight of this rim hike is Uncle Jim Point, which, at 8,244 feet, overlooks the upper sections of the North Kaibab Trail. Moderate. Trailhead: North Kaibab Trail parking lot, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Widforss Trail. Round-trip, Widforss Trail is 9.8 miles, with an elevation change of only 200 feet. Allow five to six hours for the hike, which starts at 8,080 feet and passes through shady forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen on its way to Widforss Point, at 7,900 feet. Here you'll have good views of five temples: Zoroaster, Brahma, and Deva to the southeast, and Buddha and Manu to the southwest. You are likely to see wildflowers in summer, and this is a good trail for viewing fall foliage. It's named in honor of artist Gunnar M. Widforss, renowned for his paintings of national park landscapes. Moderate. Trailhead: Point Sublime Rd., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
Ken Patrick Trail. This primitive trail, one of the longest on the North Rim, travels 10 miles one way (allow six hours each way) from the trailhead at 8,250 feet to Point Imperial at 8,803 feet. It crosses drainages and occasionally detours around fallen trees. The end of the road, at Point Imperial, brings the highest views from either rim. Note that there is no water along this trail. Difficult. Trailhead: east side of North Kaibab trailhead parking lot, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
North Kaibab Trail. At 8,241 feet, this trail leads into the canyon and down to Phantom Ranch. It is recommended for experienced hikers only, who should allow four days for the round-trip hike. The long, steep path drops 5,840 feet over a distance of 14.5 miles to Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River, so the National Park Service suggests that day hikers not go farther than Roaring Springs (5,020 feet) before turning to hike back up out of the canyon. After about 7 miles, Cottonwood Campground (4,080 feet) has drinking water in summer, restrooms, shade trees, and a ranger. Difficult. A free shuttle takes hikers to the North Kaibab trailhead twice daily from Grand Canyon Lodge; reserve a spot the day before. Trailhead: 2 miles north of the Grand Canyon Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, 86023.
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