Scenic USA - Arizona

North Rim Parkway

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North Rim Parkway, view from the Widforss Trail - Arizona

Photo by Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Reports

     Found on the quiet side of the Grand Canyon and nearly 1000 feet higher in elevation, Arizona's Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway is one of the state's most dramatic byways. The 42 mile drive wanders through the Kaibab Plateau, varying over the miles with open meadows, dense conifer forests and large stands of aspen. Not seeing near the amount of traffic as the South Rim, this section of the national forest offers a good chance to see the area's wildlife. Depending on the time of year, the park's large mammals, such as black bear, mule deer, pronghorn, and elk can be seen on the move.
     The parkway's stopping point is at the rim, creating a dramatic end to this byway. The best viewpoints on this side of the Grand Canyon are seen from Bright Angel Point, Point Imperial and Point Sublime (noted as the most stunning Grand Canyon View reachable from a road). For those that want a closer look, the Widforss Trail follows the canyon rim for a little over two miles. Hikers should allow a few hours for the five mile roundtrip, with a cautionary note for those not accustom to high altitudes. The entire 10 mile trail, named for early 20th century artist Gunnar Widforss, is another great place to see wildlife any time of year. It's no surprise to see wild turkey, coyote, porcupine, bobcat and the Kaibab squirrels, native only to the Kaibab Plateau. Here along the rim even a short hike can be extremely rewarding.

   North Rim Byway Map

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