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  • Writer's pictureCraig Zerbe

Grand Canyon - North Rim - Lodge area - Vol.3

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

The North Rim Lodge sits at over 8,000 feet, which is about 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim, 10 miles across from it. It's a mile down to the Colorado River. The North Rim Lodge sits near the end of a rim peninsula that stretches well over a mile "into" the canyon. Beyond the Lodge, the plateau narrows to just a few yards wide and continues its thin "rocky finger" another quarter mile to end at Bright Angel Point.

North Rim Lodge

There are photo opportunities on the large stone terraces behind the lodge as well as some nearby overlooks. There are also numerous places on, and just off, the short .25 mile paved trail down to Bright Angel Point.

Historic Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge Sunset, photo guide
Historic Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge after Sunset

As you can see from the above image, the sun is setting over the adjacent side canyon wall, not over the main canyon. Even in August the nights get cold and you can see a large fire burning in the patio fireplace.

Map Grand Canyon national park - north rim, photo guide

Bright Angel Point

The Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim is directly across the canyon. The deep canyon cutting left to right is formed by the Bright Angel Creek, that empties into the Colorado River. This was shot along the trail, shortly before the final overlook. Here, I was able to get some foreground trees in the picture for added interest. This short trail is the busiest area on the North Rim.

Bright Angel Point - Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim - Photography advice
From Bright Angel Point - Late Afternoon

I also tried some night photography, as there was no moon out, making for very dark skies. There was a forest fire going on to the east and to the south a lightning storm, with the Milky Way showing above it. It made for great entertainment. These were shot at f4, ISO 3200, 16-18 mm for 15 seconds. On the 3 images of the south rim, you can see the faint lights of the hotels, 10 miles away .

Forest Fire - Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim

Grand Canyon night sky milky way -  photo workshop

Grand Canyon night sky milky way -  photo guide

Grand Canyon night sky milky way -  photography advice

Uncle Jim Trail

This trail begins from the mule coral and North Kaibab Trailhead parking area. You start on the Ken Patrick Trail. The entire trail is relatively flat and well marked. They run mule trains over this area too, so there will be mules and mule poop to contend with. The image below is from the "Overlook" at the far end of the trail loop. You can see portions of the North Kaibab Trail winding down the right side of the massive canyon walls. There are a number of nice composition opportunities from this spot. I also hiked out to Uncle Jim Point (see map above), but the trail is not obvious and it required some bushwacking. While the views were nice, I would say it is not worth the considerable effort and additional time.

Uncle Jim Trail Overlook - Grand Canyon - Photo Guide
Uncle Jim Trail Overlook - afternoon - Grand Canyon

Widforss Trail

The trailhead for the Widforss Trail is just a couple minutes drive from the Lodge. The last, short segment, is on a dirt road. This is an easy, mostly level hike. There are some good views from the trail and much of it is shaded, but I would skip this one if you are short of time. Most hikers do just the first 2 miles (4 miles round trip), which have the best views and are well marked.

Widforss Trail - Grand Canyon - photo workshop
View from the Widforss Trail - Grand Canyon

North Kaibab Trail

This is the most used trail for hiking from the North Rim to the South Rim. The first portion is very popular with day hikers and mule trains as well.

Coconino Overlook is the first stop on the trail. It is steep, with numerous switchbacks, but well maintained. You descend about 800 feet over 0.7 miles. I made this hike a couple times and it is well worth it. Near the bottom, of the picture below, you can make out the Redwall Bridge (about 1400 feet below).

Coconino Overlook on the North Kaibab Trail - Grand Canyon National Park - Photo guide
Coconino Overlook on the North Kaibab Trail - Grand Canyon

Coconino Overlook on the North Kaibab Trail - Grand Canyon - Photo Guide
Coconino Overlook on the North Kaibab Trail - Grand Canyon

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