We only spent one day at the Grand Canyon, having decided not to spend the two days or so it would have taken to drive around to the South rim. The South is the more tourist laden We stayed in Kenab, AZ which is the closest town to stay in, but which really isn’t that close — about an hour and half drive to and through the park to get to the hiking. If I were to make a return trip to the North rim, I would definitely stay at the campground, probably for two nights. It was cheap, and didn’t involve an hour and half drive in the morning to get where we wanted to be for the day. Two nights would have eliminated the need to pack up the next day and would have been good because we would likely be too tired to drive that night anyway.
Interestingly, on the drive into the Grand Canyon, we passed through a lot of former forests which had been taken out by what I can only assume were wildfires. I know sometimes controlled burns are done, but I can’t figure out what purpose it would have served here, so I have to assume the fires were from natural causes.
We got to the ranger station at the North rim, took a quick look around and headed toward our selected hike for the day. The general rule of thumb was leave twice as much time to return as it took to go down, so with that in mind, we started down into the canyon around 11 I think, which was rather late, thus the previous remark about staying at the campground. The path down started out as switchbacks and loosely stayed that way until the bridge. After the bridge we were following a path along the cliff wall.
Not sure how far we got, but we did not make it all the way to the waterfall. Not sure we had to turn back either, but again, we wanted to play it safe. The trail was getting rather narrow — and I’m not sure how narrow it would have gotten had we kept going.
We got back to the top with a decent amount of day left — so we probably could have hiked down another 45 minutes or so. We drove back up to the ranger station area to wander around. Walked out to the lookout to take some pictures and then headed back toward Kenab with a careful eye out for the multitude of deer now wandering around the burned down forest. Another issue with the North Rim is that Kenab is the last town on the way in, but also pretty much where you have to go back to before going anywhere else. We got there kind of late, and without a very specific plan for the next day, so we stopped and stayed the Sun & Sand Motel.