North Rim views

Cape Final Trail

General Description

The Cape Final Trail is an easy 4-mile-roundtrip hike to a secluded and majestic viewpoint.  The trail itself has gentle inclines and declines and you meander through a fire-scarred ponderosa pine forest, prime habitat for the endemic Kaibab squirrel.  Eventually you reach the tip of the rim where there are several rocks to scramble onto, revealing a panoramic vista of Grand Canyon, highlighting Vishnu Temple, Juno Temple, Jupiter Temple, and the Palisades of the Desert. The Cape Final Trail has lots of shade and is suitable for kids, although you will want to be careful of drop-offs at the end of the trail.  If you’re heading out to Cape Royal, make a stop at Cape Final and see one of the best North Rim Trails.

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Getting to the Cape Final Trailhead

The Cape Final parking area is well signed, about 2.5 miles north of Cape Royal on Cape Royal Road.

3 Best Day Hikes on the Near Cape Final Trail

Located off the Cape Royal Road, Cape Final Trail can be easily tacked on to a great day of canyon-gazing and short hikes at Cape Royal.

Below are the primary options for day hiking near Cape Final.

Destination Miles Difficulty Style
Cape Final 4 mi Easy Out and Back
Cape Royal 1 mi Easy Out and Back
Cliff Springs 1 mi Easy Out and Back

1. Day Hike Option 1 : Cape Final Trail

Cape Final is an easy 4 mile roundtrip hike through ponderosa pine forest out to a secluded vista on the edge of the Walhalla Plateau.  The spectacular view from Cape Final highlights Vishnu Temple and the Palisades of the Desert. This is a great hike for those who want the splendor of Cape Royal without the crowds.

2. Day Hike Option 2: Cape Royal Trail

The Cape Royal Trail is a paved pathway that leads from the dirt parking area, along the rim through native vegetation to Cape Royal proper- the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the canyon providing dramatic panoramic vistas.  A half-mile-long spur trail leads out over fossil-laden Kaibab Limestone across the top of Angel’s Window to a dramatic view of the Unkar Delta.

3. Day Hike Option 3: Cliff Springs Trail

The parking area for the Cliff Springs Trail is a pull-off about 0.4 miles before you get to Cape Royal parking area.  Look for a small sign on the west side of the road marking the trail. This forested trail leads down a wooded ravine to an overhanging cliff where fresh water trickles out of a natural spring.  The water should not be drunk, but provides a micro-oasis of mosses and ferns in the alcove under the cliff. The trail loses about 200 ft of elevation en route to the spring. This is a great hike for kids and families of all ages.

Maximize Your Visit to Grand Canyon on a Day Hiking Tour

Guided day hike tours and multi-day packages allow visitors the opportunity to make the most of their time in Grand Canyon National Park and to do it hassle-free. Guided tours include gear (backpack, trekking poles, crampons in winter), meals, accommodations on multi-day tours, local transportation, and a professional Grand Canyon hiking guide. Through their knowledge, stories, and personal passion, guides can bring a place to life in a way that’s much more difficult to do on your own. Read more about Grand Canyon Hiking Tours.


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3  Backpacking Trips Near Cape Final

1. Option 1 : Cape Final Overnight (2 days)

A night on Cape Final offers excellent vistas and solitude. Experience the sounds of the desert and feel time slow down as you are humbled by the immensity of Grand Canyon. Enjoy a night by yourselves on the edge of the world and take in unparalleled night skies. There is only 1 overnight permit issued for Cape Final per day. For more information on Grand Canyon’s permit system, click here.

2. Option 2: Rim to Rim (4 days)

No bucket list is complete without the iconic Rim to Rim hike. Beginning on the North Rim, hike down the North Kaibab Trail to Cottonwood Camp. On day 2, be mesmerized by the other-worldly beauty of Ribbon Falls. As you continue to descend to the Colorado River, the canyon broadens giving and great views of Oza Butte and the Grand Canyon Supergroup rock layers beofore the canyon narrows bringing you to the historic Phantom Ranch at the bottom of Grand Canyon. After enjoying a lemonade with your comrades and sending a postcard by mule, set up camp at Bright Angel Campground and enjoy dinner at Boat Beach beach on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, making sure not to miss the Ranger Program at the Ranch. On day 3 you say goodbye to Phantom Ranch and begin up one of Americas most famous trails, the Bright Angel Trail. Cross the Colorado River via the silver bridge and ascend the glorious Bright Angel through colorful Tapeats sandstone along Garden Creek before taking respite at Havasupai Garden Campground, where deer frolic under the canopy of cottonwood trees in their oasis beneath the cliffs.  Follow the 1.5 mile spur trail from Havasupai Gardens to catch sunset at Plateau Point, a true gem of a vista and one of the best viewpoints in Grand Canyon. On day 4, keep an eye out for California condors as you tackle the infamous switchbacks of the Bright Angel Trail before topping out in historic Grand Canyon village.

3. Option 3: North Kaibab to Cottonwood Campground (3 days)

Descend down the North Kaibab Trail into Roaring Springs Canyon.  The trail gets exposed as you traverse beside sheer cliffs of Redwall limestone. Past the cascades and pump station at Roaring Springs the trail continues to descend towards Bright Angel Creek. Dozens of brachiopod fossils can be found along the trail as you hike down, eventually arriving at the Manzanita Ranger station where you’ll find bathrooms and seasonal water.  Continue across the creek down Bright Angel Canyon, keeping an eye out for beavers as you make your way through the last few miles to Cottonwood Campground.  Spend the night listening to the creek as you marvel at the thousands of vertical feet of stone framing the jaw-dropping star-scape of Grand Canyon. Enjoy a day trip up a wet side-canyon lush with maiden hair ferns and cardinal monkeyflowers to the mysterious and ethereal Ribbon Falls, before ascending through the pines back to the North Rim.

Join a Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip

Joining a Grand Canyon backpacking tour is a worry-free, adventurous way to experience Grand Canyon National Park. With your gear, meals, local transportation, permits, and fees taken care of for you, you can travel light and focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience, while the guide company takes care of everything else. Also, by going with local experts you’ll enjoy a greater level of safety and gain a much better understanding of the history and ecology of this remarkable region. Read more about a guided Grand Canyon backpacking trips.


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When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations

The North Rim visitor services and facilities are seasonal and are closed from October 15 to May 15. The North Rim is at 8,000 ft above sea level and typically has much cooler weather than the South Rim, especially at night. Make sure to check North Rim weather before your visit.

Necessary Permits

Day Hike Permits

No permits are required to day hike in Grand Canyon National Park

Backpacking Permits

Permits are required to camp in Grand Canyon National Park. For more information on Grand Canyon’s permit systemclick here.

Suggested Packing List

Day Hike Packing List (edit)

  • 3-6 liters of water (more in summer)
  • Salty, calorie-rich snacks
  • lunch
  • backpack
  • trekking poles
  • crampons (in winter)
  • wide-brimmed hat
  • sunscreen, sunglasses
  • cotton t-shirt (spring-fall)
  • non-cotton t-shirt (winter)
  • rain jacket
  • warm non-cotton layer
  • 1st-aid kit

Backpacking Packing List (edit)

  • all items listed for day hikes PLUS
  • multi-day backpack
  • 3-season tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • backpacking stove and fuel
  • backpacking meals
  • 3 pairs wool socks
  • extra t-shirts

Please Respect Our National Parks – Leave No Trace

We strongly recommend abiding by all Leave No Trace ethics guidelines and practices so that our national parks and public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and for the people and animals who call these places home. Simple things like packing out your trash, obeying national park rules, and respecting the peace and quiet of our national park trails is a great start. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, you can read about more about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

About WildlandTrekking

Wildland Trekking, a home-grown USA adventure travel company started in 2005, has become one of the world’s leading trekking companies. Learn about the origins, mission and people of Wildland, America’s #1 source for Unforgettable Hiking Vacations!

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