After getting settled at the campground we drove the 40 miles to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
A little background: about 70 million years ago the Rocky Mountains began to form, pushed up as the North American Plate overrode the Pacific Plate. In the process a large section of what is now Utah, northern Arizona, western Colorado, and a corner of New Mexico rose from sea level to elevations of thousands of feet forming the Colorado Plateau. This set the stage for the carving of the Grand Canyon. The many formations and canyons we have already seen on this trip were also the result of these events, plus rivers, wind and time. Five or six million years ago the Colorado River flowed across the Colorado Plateau on its way from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. The flow of the water and the erosion that resulted over time cut and deepened the canyon.
At 8200 feet, the North Rim is 11 miles north of the South Rim (as the crow flies) and a good 10 degrees cooler, although it is 215 miles to drive from the North Rim around to the South Rim. The Visitor’s Center for the North is next to the Grand Canyon Lodge, which sits at the edge of the Canyon. It is truly a beautiful setting and introduction to the Grand Canyon. Starting at the back porch of the lodge is the Bright Angel Point Trail (.3 mile one-way), which goes to a narrow finger of an overlook with unobstructed view of the mesas and buttes of the canyon below. The weather was picture-perfect which made it even better.
The lodge has porches on each side of the back, with rows of chairs, for guests to enjoy the panoramic view. Afterwards we drove the scenic, twisty road to view the other spectacular overlooks. The Colorado River can only been seen slightly from the Cape Royal lookout.