- By Kevin
- On May 24, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Some travel advice of Grand Canyon be shared: Tour around the South Rim Grand Canyon & the North Rim Grand Canyon.
The South Rim has great views, of course, and each viewpoint offers up a slightly different angle. I was really impressed with Desert View, but less impressed by a few of the others. The colors weren't as vibrant on the South Rim, though that could have been because the viewpoints didn't make you feel like you were IN the canyon like Bright Angel Point on the North Rim. I saw a sunset on the South Rim, though, which made up for some of the other less-impressive views. Sunset at the Grand Canyon is nothing short of stunning.
This item, to me, is the most important. Especially in the summer months, the Grand Canyon is such a popular destination. I hate having to jockey for position just to snap a photo, so the density of tourists is so important to mention here.
The North Rim sees, by far, the least number of Grand Canyon tourists. Since it's more difficult to get to and less well-known, many visitors to the park simply skip the North Rim, heading straight for the South Rim instead. This means that the North Rim is blissfully empty, even during the busy summer season. I visited on a slightly overcast afternoon in August, and there were only maybe a dozen other people out on Bright Angel Trail. There was no need to worry about someone getting in your photos, and there was no rush to move away from the edge of the viewpoints so others could get a look.
The South Rim, by contrast, was much more crowded. Which is not surprising, since this rim sees 90% of the Grand Canyon's tourists each year. I visited this rim in the evening, though, so there wasn't the crush of tourists that I was fearing. But there still were plenty of people at each of the viewpoints. And, come sunset time, the viewing platforms at Mather Point filled up to the point where you had to pick a spot along the rail and stay there if you had any hope of getting good photos. While this didn't bother me too much, it was a far cry from the relaxing atmosphere at the North Rim.
The price to enter Grand Canyon National Park is the same no matter where you enter ($25 per vehicle for a weeklong permit). However, some prices of popular activities differ from rim to rim. For example, half-day donkey rides at the North Rim run $75 per person. These mule trips do not go to the bottom of the canyon, but still take you beyond the rim. At the South Rim, a 3-hour mule trip will set you back almost $120 per person.
*Note: I didn't include things like “hiking” or “activities” in the smackdown, because many of the cross-canyon hikes, rafting trips, helicopter/flightseeing tours, and donkey rides can be begun on either side of the canyon. The activities are generally not rim-specific, though the South Rim does have more tour operators based there.