We headed north from Cottonwood on past Flagstaff to Navajo Bridge along the Colorado River. In 1929 this bridge was the first bridge within 600 miles to cross the Colorado River and was big news at the time. In 1995 an additional bridge was built and the original bridge was then and still is open to pedestrian traffic only. There is a Visitor Center at the bridge and a number of interpretive signs along the pedestrian bridge. Nearby is Marble Canyon and further west is a great scenic overlook offering views over the Colorado Plateau.
We continued on to Jacob Lake and headed south to the Grand Canyon North Rim Entrance. It is at least a 30 minute drive from Jacob Lake to the entrance passing by beautiful scenery with lots of trees and open meadows and a few campgrounds scattered here and there. We saw signs for bison but never saw any. It was a beautiful drive.
Campground: North Rim Campground
Location: North rim of Grand Canyon National Park (south of Jacob Lake, Arizona)
Site: 13 (pull thru)
Cost: $9 (includes half off with Interagency Pass)
Services: Dry camping
Comments: A beautiful campground on the North Rim. Reservations are quite difficult to get and it took months of trying but we scored 2 nights. Yay for us!! The sites across from us (sites 14, 15, 16) had the best Grand Canyon views of the campground but our site allowed us some views too. The sites vary between pull thru and back-ins and many are unlevel. It took us awhile to level at our site but we finally made it. The campground has a few hiking trails which lead to the North Rim Lodge (1.2 miles) and also hikes all around the area. We love the North Rim!
The campground sits at 8,200 feet in the tall pines with 90 sites of varying size. We had no problem driving through the campground but a few big 5th wheels were going slow and getting some help trying to navigate around some narrow roads with trees. There is a general store at the campground with souvenirs and food and a dump station on site. The dump station is bordered by trees and when we used it to fill our fresh water tank we had to maneuver to ensure we could get our utility compartment open without hitting the trees! Ha, ha….
The Transept Trail was across from our site and leads to the lodge in just over a mile hike. There is also the Bridle Path trail which also leads to the lodge and is a bit more level, parallels the main road, and allows dogs and bikes (which the Transept Trail does not). We hiked both of them and enjoyed them both. We hiked to the lodge and checked out the view points and the lodge and cabins. The North Rim is so much nicer than the South Rim. Not only do you get the same fabulous views of the canyon but you have less commercialism, less crowds, and overall just a nicer feel to it. Norm always has to stop and smell the Ponderosa Pines as they smell like vanilla.
The only other area in the park is a drive to Cape Royal with several overlook points and trailheads along the way. One of the most interesting areas is Point Imperial which at 8,803 feet is the highest viewpoint in the park (south rim included). At Cape Royal there is a view point you can walk out on which sits on top of a big rock with an opening in it called Angel’s Window. Quite cool! The drive is spectacular and offers lots of great views.
The weather was cool and we had a few scattered showers which was a welcome relief from the Phoenix summer heat. We love it!!