This post is part of the “Weekend Inspiration Wednesday” series, meant to provide some adventure-planning inspiration in the middle of a long week.
I’m a little hesitant to give away this secret gem. But lucky for me, this blog doesn’t have enough readers for me to seriously worry that this phenomenal little camping spot will be overrun overnight! So, for those of you who are reading, go now before the rest of the world discovers this perfect, peaceful place.
Where is it, already? It is on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, at the end of the Cape Final trail. Here are the basics, as well as the details:
What: Cape Final Trail, 4 miles round trip, optional camping on the rim
Where: North Rim of the Grand Canyon
When: Spring, Summer, Fall
While You’re There: Check out the lodge on the north rim, have a beer or a coffee on the porch, walk out to Bright Angel point, and car camp at the beautiful North Rim Campground
The Gorgeous Details
Like all the best spots, we found out about this spot through a friend of a friend. This friend of a friend had worked at the North Rim for a few seasons and knew all the best spots. We applied for a backcountry camping permit in advance, and made a reservation to car camp at the North Rim Campground the following night. We went in September, when the aspen leaves were quaking brilliant shades of yellow all over the place – it was sublime!
Upon arriving to the North Rim, I had to do a cheesy blindfolded reveal for my husband, since it was his first time at the Grand Canyon. People looked at us strangely on our blindfolded walk up to the rim, but he loved it so that’s all that mattered.
We stopped at some gorgeous viewpoints, picked up our backcountry permit, and made our way to the trailhead. The hike was peaceful and not too busy at all. Once dusk settled in, we had the whole point to ourselves and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise before watching the stars come out.
Talk about a one-of-a-kind dinner spot. The food was crappy (never let anyone who you’re going to share a tent with eat one of those freeze-dried camping meals with beans). But the view was one I hope I’ll remember forever. Bonus – knowing this was just a two-mile hike without much elevation gain, we even packed a cheap bottle of wine to have with our evening dinner!
It was surreal pitching a tent on the edge of the canyon. It felt like we were sleeping on the edge of the world. There appear to be two permitted tent sites, the one we used on the rim as well as one set a bit farther back. We were lucky enough to reserve a backcountry pass during an off peak time and the other site was unoccupied.
This place is NOT for sleepwalkers! We had to be very, very aware of where we were at in space so as to not walk off the edge in the night. (I have to mention that we did this sans-kids. At the current moment with young kids, I cannot yet imagine a day when I would feel comfortable enough taking kids around the edge of the Grand Canyon during daylight hours, let alone at night).
Sunrise was perhaps more spectacular than sunset, and we had the spot all to ourselves. We got up before first light to watch the rays slowly creep over the horizon and illuminate the rocks layer by layer.
This fairly secret spot on the edge of the world is really worth checking out. Plus, a side benefit of being out there all on your own is that you can do some really groovy (read cheesy) yoga poses and snap a pic, an no one will ever know (unless you post it on a blog one day).
Do you have a secret outdoor spot that you’re willing to share? Come on – give it up!