South Rim vs. North Rim
Which should you visit - the South Rim or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon? It's a question more and more visitors are asking each year. The answer depends on several factors and ultimately comes down to whatever makes the most sense for your vacation. Here are some basics to help you figure out what you expect to get out of you Grand Canyon visit, and choose the Rim that's right for you.
The majority of visitors come to the South Rim each year. Compare 5 million annual South Rim visitors to 1 million yearly North Rim visitors and 200,000 annual visitors at the West Rim. There is a good reason people flock to the South Rim; it's part of Grand Canyon National Park; it's stunningly beautiful; it's more developed by way of visitors centers and services; there's more lodging nearby; you can hike, backpack and camp; it's easier to access; it's more centrally located for Arizona visitors; and it offers more activity and tour variety.
The North Rim is a very remote destination there is very limited lodging and services, and one visitors center. There is little variety among the activities and tours offered; there are few if any commercial tours to the North Rim, and once there, activities are typically limited to camping, hiking, walking, mule rides and river rafting. If you're willing to make the trek, the North Rim's beautiful rugged views and trails do offer world-class hiking, backpacking, camping and river rafting opportunities, which makes the North Rim a fantastic choice for visitors who seek a more primeval, natural, quiet and uncrowded Grand Canyon experience.
The South Rim is open year-round. The North Rim is open from mid-May through mid-October. Weather extremes and moderates occur at all three rims at different times of year.
To put it simply, popularity, availability of services, ease of proximity and weather are some of the major considerations when deciding whether the South Rim or the North Rim is right for you.
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Book Grand Canyon hotels in or near the park. Reservations are often made a year in advance. See All Hotels Near Grand Canyon »
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The road to the North Rim is remote and beautiful. Get easy-to-follow directions right here. Driving Directions to the North Rim »