In the summer, everything and everyone, on two legs or four wheels, gather
around the South Rim. This side draws 10 times more visitors than the
higher and more heavily forested North Rim.
The instant you step back from the canyon's edge you enter a world of
overpriced curio shops, expensive lodges and never-ending tour buses.
If you plan to visit during this time be sure to make reservations for
lodging, campsites and mules if you want them well in advance - and be
prepared to battle crowds. During the winter there are fewer tourists,
but the weather is brisk and many of the hotels and facilities in the
area, are closed.
If you want a more solitary Grand Canyon experience, consider the North
Rim. The 20 km that separate the rims are a two-day adventure for sturdy
hikers. The around 220 km of road are a good five hour drive for those
who would rather explore it from above. The North Rim is open from mid
May to mid October and is not served by public transportation.
Here the canyon is a bit wilder, a bit cooler, and much more serene. The
view is just as inspiring as that from the South Rim.