One of the seven natural wonders of the world - The Grand Canyon - is just a gorgeous 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas.
Though millions of people visit Grand Canyon National Park each year, only about 10% of Grand Canyon visitors go to the park’s North Rim area. It’s the perfect destination for campers who want to experience the Grand Canyon and avoid tourists.
The most important thing to know: The North Rim closes in mid-October for winter and re-opens for the season in May.
There also aren't an abundance of campgrounds to choose from. Most van campers choose to stay at the North Rim Campground where sites are $18-$25 per night.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is less developed and more serene compared to the South Rim. That means you’ll enjoy quieter camping accommodations, lightly traveled trails, and more opportunities to see wildlife.
This handy National Park Service pocket guide gives a good overview of the park and a general map of the area.
Your 3-day trip from Las Vegas to the North Rim will require at least 530 miles of driving altogether.
You’ll need to pay a $35 entrance fee to the park, which is good for seven days after purchase. Camping is $9-$50 per night.
Arrive at the park and head to the North Rim Visitor Center to check the weather and trail conditions for the duration of your stay. You can also learn about any upcoming ranger-led activities and mule rides.
From the Visitor Center, get your first taste of the Grand Canyon with a quick 0.5-mile hike on the Bright Angel Point Trail. Find the trailhead near the Visitor Center and make the easy hike to one of the most famous views of the North Rim.
Wake up early and get ready for an exciting hike along the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs. The long hike is strenuous and very hot in the summer, but it boasts some of the park’s best views. Along the way, stop at Ribbon Falls, the Coconino Overlook and the Pumphouse Residence to take in more sights. Turn back when you reach Roaring Springs.
Give yourself enough time to get to Cape Royal to watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the viewpoint from the Visitors Center.
Early risers can tackle the 10-mile Widforss Point Overlook trail, which offers both forest and canyon views. The entire hike takes about 5 hours to complete, but you can turn back for a shorter excursion.
An easier option is the 2-mile hike to Cape Final, which is accessible from the Cape Royal parking lot. The short hike begins in a forest and ends at one of the most stunning views of the canyon.
While you’re out, keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that roams the park including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, and other smaller critters.
If you’re not up for another hike, take a mule ride along the rim of the canyon instead. Register for the ride at the Grand Canyon Lodge.
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