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Cape Royal Trail, AZ

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Guide 29 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > North Rim
4.3 of 5 by 12
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,865 feet
Elevation Gain 10 feet
Accumulated Gain 50 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 30 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.45
Backpack No
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7  2019-06-15 ddgrunning
8  2018-08-31 cabel
8  2018-06-03 Tortoise_Hiker
8  2014-09-27 chumley
1  2014-09-18 Crzy4AZ
17  2013-08-30 tibber
5  2013-07-08 Dave1
24  2012-09-01
Cape Royal Exploits
Page 1,  2
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 574
Photos 25,551
Trips 838 map ( 10,398 miles )
Age 63 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
Seasons   Summer to Summer
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
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The Best Grand Cyn Vista - You decide
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
Some say this is the best view from any of the Grand Canyon vistas... you decide. You start out on a paved tree-lined interpretive signed pathway. You will see pinon trees and cliff roses with other specimen trees and flora along the way including a Utah Juniper.

There are a couple spots on the north side of the pathway that you can go off path and look out across the Rim and toward Angel's Window (a somewhat square opening in the Kaibab limestone). If you get in just the right spot, you can see the Colorado River through the opening. The natural arch was caused by water seeping through the cracks, then across planes between rock beds, eventually eroding the rock from underneath.

You can opt to go north to the top of Angel's Window or continue to the tip of Cape Royal, the southernmost viewpoint on the North Rim. From the tip you are treated to a 360 degree view with the first massive thing you see being flat-topped Wotan's Throne, a broad mesa that curves to the west. To your left you will see Vishnu Temple and Freya Castle. And if you look across to the South Rim, you can catch a glimpse of the Watchtower at Desert View as well as the 12,633 foot Humphreys Peak of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. There is an interpretive sign that points out some of the landmarks.

As you make your way back you will come to the walkway that goes about 150 yards out on the peninsula to the top of the fin rock that holds Angel's Window. It's quite the place to stand due to the drop off that surrounds you on three sides (there is railing/fencing that surrounds). This fin rock is is made of Kaibab limestone..

NPS Report: Cape Royal Trail 0.6 mi. / 1.0 km round-trip; 30 minutes approximate round-trip hiking time. An easy walk on a flat, paved trail providing views of the canyon, Angels Window, and the Colorado River. Markers along the trail interpret the area's natural history. Trail begins at the southeast side of the Cape Royal parking area.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-10-19 tibber
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Cape Royal Trail
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Headed out from the parking lot about an hour before sunset. Like the other viewpoints, this one didn't have a heck of a lot of standing room at the railing, nor on the rock outcroppings below. As it got closer to sundown, it got more and more crowded, especially with other photographers vying for the prime tripod real estate on the rock outcrops. I said "screw em all" and retreated to an outcropping a little further back on the west side of the point that still had a great view up was free of people :D . At one point, I could look over at the other outcrop and see a few teenagers sitting on the edge of a sheer 500 foot drop, with the terrace behind them packed full of people. One of the said teenagers had his entire torso turned so that he could not see the Canyon, but was planted right on its edge, and was throwing pebbles at his friends. His torso would occasionally lean back toward the empty space while winding up for throws. I've seen plenty of stupid people at the Canyon rim before, but this kid was king of stupid. And if he would have fallen, from where I was sitting, I would've witnessed the full fall plus the impact on the Toroweap shelf below. As for sunset, there were no clouds, except for the smoke blowing in from San Bernardino. Had a nice time, but the negative human factors at this location were more than I care to deal with when viewing a Grand Canyon sunset.
Cape Royal Trail
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This will be our third and final stop of the day. We pulled up to the parking area and the weather looked bad! A fog rolled in and some light rain fell. We started the walk out to Cape Royal as most tourist returned to their cars. We reached the end and could only see fog. It was actually kind of funny. We spent a few minutes and actually turned around to return when we noticed a break in the weather. Soon after the fog started to lift and the views opened up and man what a sight! The Canyon with sporadic clouds is a thing of beauty! We spent several more minutes admiring and talked to two other people that were braving the elements.

From there we walked out to Angels Window and enjoyed the wonderful views. It didn’t last long as the fog returned and the rain started. It was all good because we saw enough and were ready to make the drive back to the Lodge. The rain intensified on our return drive. We timed our morning just right.
Cape Royal Trail
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What's after Final? Royal!

Headed over to Cape Royal, and got caught in the storm. Ended up being the only people out there but not before I got yelled at by a motherly woman who was concerned about me standing on the highest rock on the cape in a lightning storm. I figured at that point we were all completely exposed and the extra 2 feet of elevation wasn't going to make any difference.

The visibility sucked. We got soaked having not taken our gear down this short trail. It was nice to enjoy this popular viewpoint without any other tourists! Eventually the storm broke and the visibility opened up again.
Cape Royal Trail
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In spite of the canceled ABC picnic, we still drove up here to catch the waning sunlight on Wotan's Throne :y: from the picnic area of Cape Royal. It really is a special place and we were all by ourselves except for a raven keeping us company (and yep, he even made the video).

a shorter video of the weather and sun and clouds from the Cape Royal picnic area -
Cape Royal Trail
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Cape Royal Exploits
After we hiked the Uncle Jim trail, the plan was to wander out to Cape Royal - taking all the little side-hikes we could fit in - and have a sunset/moonrise picnic out at the point. It was a delightful plan that (for once) went pretty much as expected. Shocking!

We started out by driving out to Point Imperial for lunch. Imperial is the highest point on either rim, and it's lofty vantage gives some real perspective. You can see the flat of the plateau on the South Rim like nowhere else, and it's a straight shot right down the middle of the Little Colorado River Gorge if you have a strong enough camera lens (I don't). The countless spires, temples and points that make up the north rim are all outlined in great relief here, especially when there are summer thunderstorms rolling through the canyon as there were that day. Not a bad spot for lunch!

Then we hiked out to Cape Final. This trail was an unexpected gem, it was easy hiking but had very nice forest, some fantastic views and not many tourists to get in the way (well, except for us). The trail leads out to a point with amazing views of the east portion of the canyon, including the infamous Supergroup formations of the Escalante. We picked up one of our scattered hikers along the way, which added even one more pleasant surprise to the trip. I would definitely do Cape Final again, particularly if I needed a nice place to get away from the crowds of Cape Royal and Point Imperial.

Then we explored the Cape Royal area, including the 'Wedding' site and the picnic area where we had an amazing dinner spread out. There's no denying that the ABC group eats well when they get together, and this was certainly no exception!

By the time the moon was rising, we were tired and ready to head home, so I didn't get to spend much time moonlight gazing. Clouds would have made it difficult anyhow.

Another great night with fun people, and an easy day to get us ready for the big attempt on the old BA in a couple days!
Cape Royal Trail
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This hike was our final stop of 3 for the day. The ultimate goal would be a picnic under a full moon. Well it ended up being more by sunset but nonetheless, it was totally awesome :y: .

The clouds had rolled back in and were hovering above us as we made our way to look at Angels Window. The last time I was here we had bright sunshine, blue skies and a green Colorado. Today was pretty much the opposite of that. It's still a wonder to look through and around the window at the incredible landscape. I took plenty of photos and videos; especially thru the window. I got my focusing to shape up after putting the setting to Scenery so that the lens wouldn't focus on the flora in front of the window.

Next it was time to walk out on the terrace above the window. It was somewhat windy; however, we got the terrace to ourselves. You could see down to the Colorado and up to Humprheys Peak all in one fell swoop. After lingering a short time, we headed to the highlight of the day, the tip of Cape Royal. It is so unlike me to go past a railing but since there were other folks doing it, I followed suit. It looks like this happens quite often.

David, one of our fellow ABCers had been rapelling somewhere around here. Looking to the west, there was unusual light getting through creating that layered look we are so fond of when looking at distant landscape. Gradually the sun would break through and WOW WOW WOW, did we ever get a show by Mother Nature :y: . It was so unexpected and such a treat as the sun made its way up the canyon.

We were all starting to get hungry and thirsty so it was time to head to the picnic area. I stopped one more time at the Angels Window vista and then headed to the picnic ground. We rushed our stuff to the tables but then spent the next 20 minutes watching the sun set on Wotan's Throne which was made even more special by David's guitar playing. It was a magical time that went by way too fast!

So now it was time to prepare the potluck we would spread across 3 picnic tables. One ABCer, Dan, made this incredible Thai entree that put the rest of us to shame. But we also had fondue and salad and meats and cheeses and orange delight. It was such a grand dinner in such a grand place. You all would have loved it.

The next event was the moonrise. It wasn't quite as spectacular due to cloud cover but we enjoyed it for about 1/2 hour as we gathered everything back to the vehicles. We watched the moon rise and lightning to the west in the parking lot as that was the best visual. All I can say is what a morning :D , what an afternoon :) , what an evening : app : .

Here is the video from Cape Royal including Angels Window, the Cape, the sunset, the lightning show (the lightning show didn't film well but I still had to document it):
Oh, may I suggest you change the quality on youtube to HD1080. You can find that setting next to the minutes just below the video screen (or next to the clock icon)
Cape Royal Trail
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After walking the loop at Roosevelt Point, we headed to our last stop on this winding road. This is, of course, a great little walk to several different viewpoints off of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. You are welcomed by blooming cliff rose bushes flanking each side of the walkways with some junipers interspersed. There are also interpretive signs. You eventually come to a fork and we decided to take the Cape Royal Trail viewpoint first.

The views are simply incredible. Ambika pointed out several landmarks including where she had lunch when she was down in the canyon overlooking the Colorado River. Horseshoe Bend is in this area too as you look across where you can also just barely see the Desert View tower where I was a little over a year ago.

You know how overwhelming such grandeur can be when you can't close your mouth and get your eyes back in your head?... well that was me. It's hard to grasp :worthy: all the thrones and temples and castles and gates and mountains and peaks with one big river thrown in for good measure.

We walked out on another viewpoint before heading for the top of Angel's Window. Take a deep breath: :y: and try to breath normally.

My short video is from atop Angel's Window: It was an incredible introduction and end to my first visit on the North Rim.
Cape Royal Trail
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While staying at the North Rim, Cheryl and I decided to drive over to Cape Royal to check out the views. As we expected they were spectacular! This was my first trip to the North Rim and found myself in heaven!

The Cape Royal area has a ton of parking and several different areas to overlook the canyon. We started directly south of the parking area and found a wedding site that looks directly south over the canyon. From there we made our way over to the paved trail and worked our way to Angel's Window. Seeing it in person was truly remarkable! If you stand just right you can see the Colorado River in the background. It looks like its a hundred miles away!

We explored the area and tried to find all the lookouts and eventually went back to the car. On the ride out we encountered a fallen tree blocking the road! At first look I thought we were going to be blocked in for hours. Everyone got out of their cars to discuss the situation. We found that the tree was rotted out and the limbs broke right off. Our group busted off all the branches and then a half dozen people picked up and moved the tree off the road. We then cleaned up all the loose debris and declared "Road Reopen!". We continued back to the campground and laughed the whole way there! All in all we spent 15 minutes at the down tree and it could have been hours!
Cape Royal Trail
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I headed to the North Rim for a long weekend.

I stopped by the Back Country Office and made some changes to my permit with Ranger Robin Roberts. Then I proceeded to the Lodge where I was able to get a dinner reservation. I drove to Point Imperial and the Ken Patrick Trail. Monsoons were threatening. I hiked north on the Ken Patrick Trail to the Saddle Mountain TH. Then back to Point Imperial and south on the Ken Patrick Trail for a ways. I cut it short so that I could get to Cape Royal and still make my dinner reservation at the Lodge. I had a very nice dinner of Utah Ruby Trout and a Cactus Cosmo - prickly pear vodka and cranberry juice. After dinner I hiked around the Lodge area and out to Bright Angel Point. I wish I had brought my tripod to get some great lightning strikes on the San Francisco Peaks. I drove back to Point Imperial. No camping is allowed at Point Imperial but there are permitted areas surrounding it. I hiked a few hundred yards into the Thompson Canyon use area and pitched my Copper Spur UL2. Shortly after sundown the gentle thunderstorm lulled me to sleep.

I got up for the sunrise at Point Imperial. Not particularly spectacular today. I used my Granite Gear lightweight pack setup today. I was going to take my OR Bug Bivy (16oz) and Integral Designs siltarp (8oz) but because of the monsoon threat I took my MSR Hubba (3lbs 6oz). I took my Esbit stove (4oz with fuel) instead of my Jetboil (1 lb 3oz with fuel). I headed to the North Kaibab TH and hiked leisurely to Cottonwood Campground. The campground was empty. I set up in campground 10 because it has the best shade and is close to the water spigot and toilets. The plan was to head to Upper Ribbon Falls and the granary ruins. I headed on my way. Halfway across the bridge my better judgement kicked in. It was about 102° and getting hotter. So instead of turning right and heading up the steep hill and the couple of miles to Upper Ribbon and the granary, I turned left and hiked the 1/2 mile to Ribbon Falls. I spent a couple of hours just chillin' and reading and headed back to camp. At 1600 I was still the only party at Cottonwood. I explored a little and found the special pool in Bright Angel Creek just west of the Ranger House. I relaxed in the pool for a while then headed back to my campground. An NPS volunteer came by to check permits and we had a nice talk. I thought he said his name was Clyis. He had been a teacher in Mesa but his contract wasn't renewed. So he had moved back to the Grand Canyon where he had grown up. He was hoping to get a position with the Park Service. I didn't realize it at the time but I was speaking to a legend. He headed back to the Aiken house. Around 1730 a commercial group of 4 backpackers Lawrence from Pigmy Guides arrived. I don't think these 4 had ever backpacked before. I helped them set up and learned some cooking tips from Lawrence. Around 1800 a group of 5 Aggies showed up. I went back to my camp to make dinner. Between my camp and the water I saw a pink buzzworm (Crotalus abyssus) crossing the trail. Just about the most docile buzzworm I have ever seen. I fashioned a sophisticated Flintstone windbreak for my Esbit and enjoyed dinner. A German couple showed up about 1830. So only these 4 groups for the 11 campsites at Cottonwood. No rain.

I slept in a little. I started my climb back to the North Rim. I made great time up to the Supai Tunnel. The mule train was ready to head out so I rested to put some distance between us. The thermometer at Supai Tunnel already was reading over 90°. At 7,200' with about a mile and 800' to go I started bonking. I would walk for a couple of hundred steps then find some shade to rest in while I caught my breath. I could tell I was getting close because of all of the tourons (a special breed of moronic tourists) on the trail. I got to my truck, set up my chair and savored the accomplishment.
I drove to the Visitor Center to buy a Bruce Aiken book of paintings. I found out that Clyis was Silas Aiken, Bruce's son and the lemonade stand kid. I wandered around the North Rim and Jacob Lake savoring every last second before heading home to the heat.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
To reach Cape Royal from Grand Canyon Lodge, travel north on Highway 67 for three miles, turning right on Fuller Canyon Road (also known as Cape Royal Road). The road forks at about five miles, with the left fork leading another three miles to Point Imperial, the right to Cape Royal.

Take the right fork to continue toward Cape Royal, 16 miles away. The paved road is narrow and winding--watch for oncoming traffic, and take your time. A number of worthwhile sights are en route, and it's nearly impossible to backtrack if you've zipped past an enticing overlook.

The trailhead parking area is located at the end of the paved Cape Royal Road.
page created by tibber on Oct 19 2010 1:54 pm
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