Grand Canyon - North or South Rim?

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by jlittle, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. jlittle


    Feb 28, 2006
    Hey all!

    I'm going to be out in southern Utah/northern Arizona later this month, along with my sister and niece, who have never been to the desert southwest before. I've been to the South Rim, over 10 years ago, but I drove into the park before dawn, parked at an overlook before anyone else got there and waited for the sun to come up. After taking pics there I did a hike down into the canyon, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I know the North Rim is a) higher in altitude and cooler in temperature, b) less developed, and c) has fewer tourists. I also have heard that it's more challenging to shoot pix from the North Rim because of the angle of the sun and the fact that you're looking *down* into the canyon more than you are from the South.

    But I'd like to hear from fellow photographers which side of the canyon you prefer and why. Feel free to post example pix. :smile: Since I've been to the region numerous times, my sis and niece are deferring to me as "tour guide." :wink:

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Hi Janet...
    Don't know anything about which rim,
    but I really like your avatar. Lovely.
    Is that a spider mum?
  3. DBrim


    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    I've been to both, although it wasn't sunny when I was at the North rim. There was actually a thunderstorm brewing over the canyon, but my only photos of it were (slightly) blurry because I was using a P&S and no tripod. The North Rim is also more forested, so people may have trouble knowing it's the Grand Canyon at first. I can show you the example photo I have from the North Rim when I get home, I took it back when I posted stuff on flickr and that's blocked here at work.
  4. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    We're going to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah in a few weeks as well. If it were up to me this isn't the time of year we'd go, but I have to attend a wedding in Vegas at that time.

    I chose the North Rim for several reason: Fewer crowds, slightly cooler temps, and more above-the-rim hiking trails (which will also hopefully be less crowded). It's also more convenient for us location-wise given the direction we're coming from and the other places we plan to visit. As for the photography being easier or harder I don't really know, but I've seen some great shots from the North Rim and the fact that's it's somewhat less photographed is a postive, I guess.

    I'm sure we'll visit the South Rim some day, but it won't be during the summer.

    One thing though, if you don't already have reservations, it may be too late to get them for the North Rim. There's only one lodge in the park and one campground, and both fill up well in advance this time of year. If you end up having to stay up at Jacob Lake, it's going to make getting to the rim for sunrise that much more difficult.
  5. DBrim


    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Here's the best photo I got. Lightning handheld! Not the greatest photo, though, since at larger sizes it is rather blurry.

  6. Donniec


    Jan 6, 2007
    Harvest, Alabama
    Donnie Claxton
    I bought a book entitled "the photographer's guide to the Grand Canyon" by John Annerino when I was on the south rim a couple of years ago. It tells about photo viewpoints not only on the North and South rim but also points of interest from Glen Canyon Dam west to someplace called Guano Point. It might interest you. I wish that I had known about it before I went.

    I enjoyed Yaki Point the most on the South rim.
  7. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I was actually somewhat disappointed with the Annerino book. It has some interesting historical info but not as much info about actually photographing these places. I found two other books far more useful in planning my trip:

    Laurent Martres' Photographing the Southwest series (2nd edition).
    Photographer's Guide to the Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona by Joseph K. Lange

    The Martres books are the most thorough, but depending on where you're going you may have to buy more than one book since AZ and UT are separate volumes. IMHO it's worth it though, as he not only gives you advice on the best seasons and times of day, but also detailed directions, estimated travel times, etc. And he covers a lot of lesser-known locations as well.
  8. jlittle


    Feb 28, 2006
    Hi Chayelle,

    Thanks! Actually it's the center of a water lily -- I cropped in on that part of the flower since the form really appealed to me.

  9. jlittle


    Feb 28, 2006
    Jeff, I have Martres' books and they're well dog-eared and used -- so his advice is noted! Donnie and Daniel, thanks for the info. I'll see what my sister and niece are up for, since this is their first time there, but I'm leaning toward the north rim. There are pros and cons to each side, but I'm sure it's spectacular either way!
  10. If I could only go once, it would definately be to the South rim, as the views are a bit more spectacular. But, after seeing South rim, North rim is a lot less crowded and less touristy.
  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Janet :

    I was just at the North Rim several weeks ago, coming down from Zion NP.

    Frankly, the lower crowd density is a real relief there, as is the shorter driving path from southern UT.

    And don't let folks tell you that photography from the North Rim is lacking. I shot this at sunset, lots of clouds, downwards into the canyon at Port Royal, with substantial haze. How I took this shot is discussed at : Sidestepping...


    Something else that others have alluded to is that many trails on the North Rim are forested, which offers cover from the sun. I can attest to this and say that it makes a substantial difference ! There are also a lot of trails in the National Forest north of the park that lead to spectacular views.

    John P.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
Similar Threads Forum Date
Grand Canyon Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements Mar 23, 2009
Travel from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements Nov 3, 2008
North Rim of Grand Canyon Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements Jun 27, 2006
Bryce, Zion, and South Rim of Grand Canyon Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements Apr 26, 2006
Grand Canyon Photo Workshop Trip Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements Mar 4, 2006