Grand Canyon North Rim vs South Rim – which is best?

Grand Canyon South Rim vs North Rim – which is best?

Where is the best place to visit the Grand Canyon? North Rim vs South Rim

Comparing Grand Canyon North Rim vs South Rim – Wondering what is the best part of Grand Canyon to visit? 

Look no further I compare what is the best rim of the grand canyon and list out the pros and cons to help you decide on visiting the Grand Canyon North Rim or South Rim.

grand canyon north rim vs south rim
Grand Canyon sunrise

These are the things to consider when you are trying to choose the best rim in Grand Canyon:

  • Location and where you are coming from
  • The time of year
  • If you want to deal with the crowds
  • Weather and temperature

I will compare the grand canyon north or south rim to find out which is the best side of Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Rim – Grand Canyon North Rim vs South Rim

If you are looking for the Grand Canyon best rim there is something I need to tell you. 

There are actually three grand canyon rims –

  • North Rim (less touristy and only open in the summer),
  • the popular South Rim (with the most viewpoints and tourists),
  • and the new West Rim (with the Grand Canyon skywalk).
Grand Canyon North Rim vs South Rim

TLDR: If it is your first time visiting the Grand Canyon, you will want to visit the South Rim. The South Rim is the most popular.  The South Rim is also the most easily accessible and has some of the best views in Grand Canyon.

If you are coming from Vegas you may want to visit the West Rim. Please note this is not actually part of the Grand Canyon National Park. It is touristy and expensive.

If you get the change to visit the North Rim, you will not be disappointed. It is beautiful and untouched. Please note it is only open from May-October due to the road conditions.

Grand Canyon Entrances to plan your Grand Canyon visit

To reach the Grand Canyon South Rim Arizona, you can reach the entrance in two places – Tusayan and Cameron, Arizona.  Both are about 4 hours from Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Grand Canyon West is managed by the Hualapai Indian tribe and is about 125 miles from Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon North Rim is only open from mid May to mid October and is 275 miles from Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon in January

Choosing which one is best for you while visiting the Grand Canyon depends on your location and where you are coming from.

If you visit the grand canyon, just know that the North Rim is located 277 miles north of the South Rim.  It is easier to visit the North Rim from Utah or Las Vegas than from Phoenix.

For me, the South Rim is the best choice as it is closest.

When are you visiting the Grand Canyon sites?

Another consideration for choosing the north rim versus south rim grand canyon is the time of year.

best viewpoints grand canyon

The North Rim is only open from mid May to mid October so if you are visiting outside of that time the North Rim and the roads leading to the North Rim will be closed due to snow.

The South Rim is open every day of the year including Christmas and this is the best part of Grand Canyon.

Seeing the Grand Canyon the first time is magical.  Choosing where to see the Grand Canyon should not be hard.  Continue reading to find out where is the best place to visit Grand Canyon.

Where to see the Grand Canyon – Best View of the Grand Canyon

This is where the real comparison comes in when deciding between the North Rim vs South Rim Grand Canyon.  I have listed the best view at Grand Canyon South Rim vs North Rim.  Here is what you need to know when visiting Grand Canyon.

Best South Rim View Points

Pima Point

Pima Point provides a 40 mile long panoramic vista along the northernmost corner of the South Rim at the Grand Canyon.

Visitors at Pimpa Point can take in the views of the red canyon of Hermit Creek, in contrast to this deep red rock there is also impressive green vegetation which is located towards the lower end of Hermit Creek. The creek has flowing water year round.

The eastern view from Pima Point encompasses Monument Creek and the Granite Rapids as well as The Alligator. Located only 1.5 miles from Pima Point is the Hermit’s Rest which is a facility that has bathrooms, a cafe and a small gift shop.

The Abyss

The Abyss is unique along hermit road in the Grand Canyon. All of the other points tend to protrude out into the canyon but the Abyss is a steep notch in the canyon. It has a 3,000 foot vertical drop down to the Redwall Formation.

The Hermit Road Shuttle stops at 9 points along the trail and the Abyss is one of these points. During the off season visitors can drive their own vehicles if they would prefer. The Abyss is a frightening deep drop that gives impressive views of the Colorado River, Granite Rapids and Tonto Plateau.

Monument Creek and The Monument are also viewable from The Abyss. The Monument is a large sandstone column located in the Grand Canyon.

Mohave Point

Mohave Point provides spectacular views that include The Abyss and Pima Point. Visitors that look towards their West are also rewarded with a glimpse of Yuma, Cocopa and Havasupai points.

Once situated on Mohave Point viewing area visitors can also look down and take note of the Boucher Rapids and Granite Rapids. The Abyss and the 3,000 foot high cliffs that surround it are the show stealer when it comes to visiting Mohave Point.

An added perk to Mohave Point is the fact that it tends to be less frequented and there are several look out points which helps to disperse the visitor’s that do make the trek to Mohave. It is extremely peaceful at Mohave Point.

Hopi Point is the best Grand Canyon view

Hopi Point is the best view in Grand Canyon.  Hopi Point is the northernmost spot along the Grand Canyon’s Southern rim. Hopi has a fenced in viewing area as well as the vista on Dana Butte which is over the canyon.

Salt creek runs on one side of the viewing area and runs into the Colorado River and produces some impressive rapids. Monument Creek is on the other side of Hopi Point and it also merges with the Colorado River and creates the Granite Rapids.

Hopi has some of the Grand Canyon best views and makes an ideal spot for visitors to catch some impressive and awe-inspiring sunsets.

Mather Point is one of the best views of Grand Canyon

Mather Point is quite possibly the most popular viewing point at the Grand Canyon on the South Rim and is the best place to view Grand Canyon.

best views grand canyon south rim

The popularity is due to the accessibility of this viewing point. Mather Point is located nearest to the entrance station and parking for this point is easily located slightly south of Mather Point near the visitor’s center.

The views at Mather are extremely impressive and extensive. It has 2 railed over looks that are slightly narrow but located on projecting rocks that provide great views towards the west. Visitors can view the Bright Angel Trail over the canyon of Pipe Creek.

A portion of the Tonto Trail is also visible from near Pipe Creek at Mather Point. Parking is located nearby and this is a popular photo opportunity point at the Grand Canyon.

Ooh Aah Point

Ooh Aah Point is a heavily traveled trail along the South Kaibab Trail route that extends for 1.8 miles.

Grand Canyon January

This trail is beautiful and does allow for year round bird watching as well as natural wildlife viewing prior to reaching the outlook.

Once visitors reach the Ooh Aah viewing point they are rewarded with panoramic views of the Eastern canyon.

Yaki Point

Yaki Point is the easternmost stop along the Kaibab Trail. It was once accessible by vehicle but the parking lot is far too small to support the amount of traffic that it was receiving.

grand canyon south rim best views

Visitors visiting Yaki Point can now park along the streets near the picnic areas and walk in to take in the impressive views of Cremation Creek and Clear Creek.

The views at Yaki are slightly different than the others in the area because they encompass a westward vista and give the optimal view of the South Kaibab Trail.

Best Place to see Grand Canyon on the North Rim

Bright Angel Point

Due to the easy accessibility from the road, the bright angel point is the most popular viewpoint on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The walk to the viewpoint is an easy stroll along a mostly paved trail.

The viewpoint is at an elevation at of 8,148 feet, 1,000 higher than the south rim! Bright Angel Point offers exceptional views of the Bright Angel canyon below as well as a series of rugged points along the center of the canyon.

Cape Royal

The Cape Royal viewpoint has the widest and best panoramic view of the entire Grand Canyon. It is also located the most southern tip of the North Rim. It is quite a trip however to get to the viewpoint, including a very narrow and windy road followed by a paved trail that takes you down to the point over looking exceptional panoramic views and is the best place to see the grand canyon on the northern rim.

Cape Final

The Cape Final viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of the eastern side of the Grand Canyon. Due to the lack of trees in the area, the entire view is viewable from one single spot making it stand out from the other points. Similarly, Cape Final is a must visit due to the solitude it offers as many people fail to make it the full 2-mile hike through the forest tracks.

Places to see in Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon points of interest

Take a Short hike in the Grand Canyon

Hiking in the Grand Canyon in winter my seem impossible but I’ve listed a few short hikes that can be done.  Most of the trails will be extremely icy so if you are planning to do any more hiking you will need extra gear for it.

All the Trails are monitored and open most days.  Check with the visitors center to see what the conditions are like.

Take a hike to Shoshone Point

The trail begins along the Desert View Drive at a discrete gate. The trail in its

entirety is only 1.7 miles, making it a short and easy hike to do during the

winter months. The trail is along a dirt road and only has a slight almost

unnoticeable upwards incline along the way. The end of the trail offers

magnificent panoramic views of the beautiful canyons below and due to the

privacy of this trail, almost always offers a tranquil and calming experience in


Take a hike to Ooh Aah Point

Grand Canyon January

Located about 0.9-miles down the South Kaibab Trail is a beautiful viewpoint

and great end to short winter hike. Although the hike is short it isn’t

necessarily easy. The hike down to Ooh Aah Point is relatively downhill,

therefore coming back up takes approximately double the time. This is a fantastic

hike for those who want a small challenge along with a great view along the way.

Check out my post on the best hikes in the Grand Canyon

Drive the Hermits Rest Scenic Drive.

Hermit Road located at the west end of the south rim is a popular 7-mile route

that takes you along many scenic viewpoints before finishing at Hermits rest.

There are shuttle buses provided by the Grand Canyon on offer along this route.

Hermit’s Rest Grand Canyon in March

In the summer months, you must take the shuttle as there are too many people at the Grand Canyon and

not enough parking spots.  In the winter months, the road is open to private vehicles.

Along this route, there are some of the best views that the canyon has to offer, including the views from

Hopi Point, Mohave Point and Pima Point.

Conclusion – The South Rim has the most points of interest Grand Canyon

The South Rim is the most beautiful, accessible part of the Grand Canyon, places to visit and things to do.

As you can see from the list of Viewpoints, Hiking Trails, and Grand Canyon places to visit are the best in the South Rim.

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grand canyon south rim vs north rim

Continue Reading more on my website:

Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Trails

Best Grand Canyon Viewpoint on the North Rim

15 Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints you won’t want to miss

Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon – which one is best?

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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