Cape Final on the north rim of Grand Canyon

Cape Final on North Rim


Mileage: 4.2
Elevation gain: 535 feet
Time to complete: 2-3 hours
Stars: ★★★★
Difficulty: 1/5 (Ratings explained)
Good trail, shade

From Cape Final on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, you can enjoy sweeping views of the south rim and the Little Colorado arm. The trail is not very difficult, but your effort will be rewarded with more solitude and a more natural setting than many of the other viewpoints.

Trail Description

If you visited Bright Angel Point or Cape Royal already, you shared the trail with a lot of other people taking the paths of least resistance. Maybe paved trails and restrictive railings aren’t really your thing, though, or maybe you want a little reprieve from the really loud talker guy so you can soak in the aura of this magnificent canyon. You need to hike to Cape Final.

When you arrive at the dirt parking area, don’t worry if there are other cars there because you still might have the view to yourself, and even if you don’t, there are a few alternative views nearby. I guarantee you will be able to find somewhere to commune with God, nature, or whatever it is that stirs your soul here.

Cape Final Trail

From the parking area, the trail is an obvious double-wide path heading up the hill. The trail is blessed with numerous pines the whole way, so shade will never be a problem, and the grade is mild enough that you can do this even when it’s fairly warm out.

Cape Final Trail
Typical view of the Cape Final Trail

As you near the end of the trail, you will begin to get glimpses of the canyon that you always knew had to be around there somewhere. There are short spur trails leading to viewpoints, but you’re not there yet.

Even with GPS, I accidentally headed down a spur trail to what I thought was the end. It’s easy to do, and the good thing is it’s not disappointing. I’ll give you a little trick, though. Keep going until you see this sign.

Cape Final trail sign

Cape Final

By the time you reach this point, you’re just a few yards away. Get up there, on top, and enjoy the unfenced view of the grandest of the canyons. A few geological markers will let you know you’re at the right place.

Oh, and the view will clue you in, too!

The view from Cape Final

Across the canyon, you get a very clear view of the south rim, and you might get a glimpse of the Colorado River in the distance. To your left, you can see the canyon carved by the Little Colorado River as it joins the main canyon. The position of this promontory jutting out at a major bend of the Grand Canyon means the views are absolutely huge. Go ahead and zoom out on the map below to see what I mean.

We shared the trail with others, but we were surprised to spend a good 30 minutes alone up there. Maybe they got lost on a spur trail, too, or maybe they just didn’t want to share the top with us. It’s okay—there’s something for everyone there. Find your truth. This right here is mine.

Cape Final north rim Grand Canyon
My truth

Map & Directions

Location Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim

From Jacob Lake, head south on Highway 67 into the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Three miles before the lodge, turn left onto Cape Royal Road. Keep right at the fork for Imperial Point and continue about ten more miles. The parking for this trail is clearly marked and will be on your left.

Fees/Passes There is a $35 fee to enter Grand Canyon National Park, or you can use your America the Beautiful pass. You have one, right?

Trailhead Facilities None

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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