Explore the wilder side of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the busiest yet most disappointing tourist sites in the world. But as with all the most popular tourist attractions, there is a hidden gem lurking around the corner, and it’s bigger, better and puts the rest of the Grand Canyon to shame.

Point Sublime on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is, well, sublime. The remote landscape and jaw-dropping view of the canyon is worlds apart from the glimpse of a few rocks the South Rim offers (not least because you’re sharing it with precisely no one) and after all, the view is what you’re there for. Only 10 per cent of the people visiting the Grand Canyon go to the North Rim – and even fewer to Point Sublime. The area has lots of nooks and crannies to explore, as well as fantastic hiking routes – and it’s a photographer’s dream. It also has a more alpine climate than the South Rim, which means the desert heat will be much more bearable.

The adventure begins
The downside? Well actually, for thrill-seekers it’s part of the adventure – you’ll need a four-wheel drive, two extra hours and a liberal helping of determination to reach Point Sublime, which is on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, following a very rough track. It’s a really fun drive through forested landscape and it’s certainly an adventure.

Make the most of your trip by camping overnight literally on the canyon’s rim for a once-in-a-lifetime experience (don’t forget to get a camping permit). However, if you’re not the sleeping-under-the-stars type, you can stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge, which is the only accommodation option on the North Rim.

One traveller has this to say:
“There are no words in the English language to describe the view that greets you at the rim. No safety bars, no visitor information boards telling you what to look out for. Just the Grand Canyon. Up, down, east, west… Everywhere you look are the most majestic views – each one more amazing than the last.

“Looking back now at the photographs we took, and trying to explain to people what it was like all seems a bit futile. Cameras just can’t capture even a fraction of what the eye can see and when you try to describe the experience, you don’t know where to start.

“The best thing I can say about Point Sublime is that a visit there will stay with you for the rest of your life.” (tripadvisor.co.uk)

Who is it for?
People who appreciate peace and quiet and don’t mind not being told exactly where to look and what they’re looking at. You’ll also need a big helping of adventurousness.

Who is it not for?
Nervous drivers and the unadventurous. You’ll also need to have a little extra time to invest, so it’s not a great idea for those on a short holiday.

How to get there
From the North Rim area, head northeast towards the AZ-67 N, then turn left onto it. When you see Point Sublime Trail, turn left onto it. Follow it all the way. The journey is 18 miles and will take a couple of hours.

Extra tip
Make sure you have emergency equipment in your car, just in case. A spare tyre, a jack (and knowledge of how to use it), spare car keys, extra petrol and some sleeping gear, food and water are all essential. Also, the North Rim area is closed in the winter, so check with a park ranger before setting off.

Images:
© H Dragon
© Arizona Traveler
© jerbec