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  • Writer's pictureCraig Zerbe

Grand Canyon - North Rim - Cape Royal Road - Vol. 4

The first time I visited the north rim, the entire Walhalla peninsula, which includes the iconic Cape Royal Point was closed due to a forest fire. So, I was anxious to visit this area upon my return.

Sunset at Cape Royal Point - view of Wotan's Throne
This is the "money" shot. Sunset at Cape Royal Point - view of Wotan's Throne

With the exception of some dirt road accessed overlooks, Cape Royal is the most remote overlook in the National Park. It's about an hours drive from the North Rim Lodge. It's accessed via a somewhat narrow, but well maintained paved road, and you are traveling at 20-35 mph the whole way. There are a number of overlooks and the Cape Final trailhead on the way to final, Cape Royal, stop.

Roosevelt Point, is the first overlook you pass. It has some nice views across the canyon as well as a close by formation to the left of the overlook. I hiked over closer to the near by formation, to get the shots I posted here.

Rising sun on Mount Hayden - Point Imperial - Grand Canyon National Park - Photo Workshop
Roosevelt Point area at Sunrise

Roosevelt Point Overlook at Dawn

Cape Final is another overlook accessed from the Cape Royal Road, but it requires a 4 mile round trip hike to get to it. The trail is well marked, mostly in the shade and fairly flat, with a little scrambling around at the very end, to get the best views. There is an additional overlook opportunity you pass about 2/3 of the way there, where I took one of my shots.

Cape Final Trail

Side overlook on the way to Cape Final

Cape Final Overlook - view of Jupiter Temple

Walhalla Overlook is the next official overlook, and is just a couple minutes before you get to the Cape Royal parking area at the end of the road. Just before you get to Cape Royal, there is a very small pull off on the left where you can see Angels Window, a small natural arch.

Late afternoon - Walhalla Overlook - Freya Castle

Cape Royal has a large parking area and a restroom as well. There is usually no one here at sunrise or early in the day, except maybe another photographer. There can be lots of visitors later in the day and at sunset. The main viewing area is a short, level 5-10 minute walk from the parking lot. On your way, you can make a short detour to the Angles Window Overlook (you are standing on top of the little arch, not looking at it). This is the best place to see the actual sun rise, but once the sun makes an appearance, the view and the light are more interesting at the Cape Royal Overlook. There is also a good size picnic area, that is just adjacent to the parking lot. It is somewhat hidden and accessed from the western end of the parking lot. It has a nice open area to view and photograph from too, and gives a different perspective than the main overlook.

Cape Royal Picnic Area - setting up a timelapse

At Cape Royal, you can photograph from the fenced viewing area, but I often climb over the short rail and shoot from the small flat area just in front and slightly below it. Over the railings on the west (right) of the main viewing area there is even more room to take photos, but likely more visitors too, and fewer options to include a foreground element in your photo.

This is certainly the premier sunset location on the North Rim, and one of the top sunset spots anywhere in the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon sunset at Cape Royal

Grand Canyon sunset at Cape Royal

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