You can look through Angel’s Window at Cape Royal Point to see the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon! Wow, the river and the scenery is spectacular!
If you drive from the Grand Canyon’s north rim main lodge directly to Cape Royal Point it will take about 45 minutes. But I believe you would stop at vistas along the way; the scenery is beautiful! Or, maybe you will drive to Cape Royal Point and stop at scenic spots on your return. Can do!
Once at the parking lot at Cape Royal Point, you will walk a short trail to Angel’s Window. At some points along the trail you can see the Colorado River framed by the rock window. Walk along the main trail further and you are at Cape Royal Point with views of the canyon. Quite honestly, you need to visit since no photo will really do it justice! What are your plans for next year? Add in a stop at the Grand Canyon’s north rim, but realize it is only open May to October if the weather cooperates.
Point Imperial has the highest elevation on the north rim of the Grand Canyon at 8803 feet. You’ll drive north from the north rim’s main lodge on the park road and turn east onto Cape Royal Road. After some miles of driving, you turn left and this road takes you to Point Imperial … lodge to point is 11 miles and about a 25 minute drive.
There is a huge parking area, a picnic area and a short trail with scenic vistas overlooking the Painted Desert and the eastern end of the Grand Canyon. Here are some photos from that trail:
Some people were picnicking, volunteers were collecting native seeds, and I was time bird-watching. I saw 11 different species of birds. Here are a couple of bird photos:
Back on the road our next stop, and blog post, will be at and about the end of the road at Cape Royal and Angel’s Window … 17 miles from Point Imperial to Cape Royal Point, taking about 35 minutes to drive. However, you may also stop at other vistas along the way as we did and the drive then is longer, but all wonderful to explore and enjoy! Do so, since who knows when you’ll ever return!
Grand Canyon National Park is visited by millions of people on the south rim and only by thousands of people on the north rim. We often visit the south rim in the winter when there are fewer visitors. The north rim is only open from May till October each year as it is 1,000 feet higher in elevation and facilities are not winterized as they are at the south rim. This year the north rim did not open till July due to heavy snow and water pipeline issues.
Wow, what spectacular sights of the canyon from the north rim! No words can adequately describe it so I have included photos. Hiking the short Bright Angel Point trail is a must for everyone, unless you are concerned about edges and altitude. If so, then hang out on the back deck behind the main lodge to catch canyon views from there.
Another must-do is to drive the Cape Royal Road. Plan at least 3 hours to drive its length and stop along the way. I cannot imagine not stopping at Point Imperial, the highest point at 8803 feet, on the north rim. Here you can view the eastern end of the Grand Canyon. Continue your drive, stopping at various vistas along the way to the end of Cape Royal Road where you can hike to Angels Window.
Our favorite vista was Roosevelt’s Point where we hiked the trail. Each vista has something different to check out. As a result 3 hours may not be enough time for your visit, so start early in the day to make this drive and to enjoy all the views. We were on the road by 9:30am and back to the main lodge on the rim at 3:30pm to enjoy a beer we bought at the saloon. A great day!
Another day, another trail!
We had never hiked the Transect Trail so we checked it out on another day. It is an easy trail except we got caught in a monsoon rain storm and spent time at the campground’s general store. Our plan was to hike the Bridle Trail back to the main lodge area. Fortunately a very kind couple drove us back the short distance and we did not have to be on the muddy trail in the pouring rain. (We had our raincoats, snacks, water and wore low hikers, but we would have been drenched … we appreciated the ride!)
We stayed in a frontier cabin. There are larger cabins available called the western cabins. Reservations need to be made ahead of your visit. Even the campground is fully booked. Dinner reservations are needed, but not for breakfast or lunch at the main lodge. We enjoyed some ranger programs and watching the rain, thunder and lightning storms roll across the canyon. It is important to be hydrated and to know the weather prediction as you do not want to be caught out on a trail unprepared! Someday I hope you visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon!
It’s now winter! We beat the closure of Interstate 40 in northern Arizona. We were already relaxed in a warm Maswik Lodge room at Grand Canyon National Park. Driving the interstate highway the previous day was a breeze. We were ahead of the snow storm that eventually caused the highway’s closure.
Coming to this national park when fewer people visit is what is best about the winter season. Unfortunately Covid is still in the air so facial masks are required in every building. Due to less staff and various supplies, we did find some restaurants with limited menus. We were here for the beauty of the place, so we were okay with how things were at the moment.
It is easy to spend 4 winter days here. We walked many parts of the rim trail. We stopped in at the art exhibit at the Kolb Studio and the geology museum. I do not think we missed any shop on the rim either. At Desert View we climbed the watchtower to see the eastern end of the canyon. Then we drove all the way to the western end at Hermit’s Rest to walk the rim trail. Meals were eaten at the historic El Tovar, Bright Angel Restaurant and AZ Steakhouse.
The day of our arrival there was no snow, but overnight the winter snow came! Unfortunate for those on the highway, but we woke to at least 6 inches of snow! Mule deer and elk were walking about during our visit. We bundled plenty of clothing layers on our body … it was cold weather! This was our 4 days of winter before returning to southern Arizona where we rarely see snow at our doorstep. It was a wonderful winter!
Is visiting Grand Canyon National Park on your list of places to travel? I hope so! Everyone should see this place at least once in their life. The biology, geology, anthropology and ecology of the area would be appreciated as one sits at the canyon’s edge. To view miles of territory discovered many years ago and still today there are many places where a human foot has not walked upon the land. Be sure to visit someday.
Many park visitors enter Grand Canyon National Park from its southern entrance. Arriving from the east gate entrance recently was a nice change of pace even for me who has visited this park often. One can spend time at the Desert View tower and see more of the Colorado River from the various viewpoints along the road eventually leading to Grand Canyon Village 20 miles to the west. The village area was congested with traffic and people and so I drove through and will save it for another time. I was glad to spend more time on the eastern end during this visit.
In 2014, Grand Canyon was designated as a Globally Important Bird Area. It is a flyway for hawks. From Lipan Point to the north rim of the park many birds go from forest to forest crossing an eight mile distance. On this visit, I saw violet-green swallows, ravens and black-throated gray warblers. Other times I have enjoyed seeing condors, mountain chickadees and other birds.
Here are photos from Grand Canyon National Park:
Leaving the park, elk were crossing the road so motorists need to be aware of wildlife on the road! I loved the elk sitting roadside watching all the action!
Again, if you have never been to Grand Canyon National Park add it to your list of places to see sometime in your lifetime! Come visit and enjoy nature! Remember, there is a south rim and a north rim to visit, but it takes a few days to accomplish that even if you are hoping to drive to both. Of course, there is also time to be spent down at the river whether on a river trip, hike or mule ride to Phantom Ranch, or backpacking to Bright Angel Campground. Hopefully when Covid-19 is history, we will be able to get back to enjoying those options.