Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sunset at Cape Royal

(Continuing the recap of my mid-October trip to southern Utah and Northern Arizona...)

I was worried my first sunset on the Grand Canyon would be a no-show.  While driving to Cape Royal, my hubby and I had the sky blotted out by a thick fog bank.  Things weren't looking good for seeing any canyon views, let alone the sunset.

Outstanding scenery!

Earlier that same day, we'd arrived at the Grand Canyon's North Rim.  After setting up camp and exploring the immediate area, we decided to drive over to Cape Royal, 20 miles away, to witness a sunset.

I'm not the only photographer!

Cape Royal is the southernmost viewpoint on the North Rim, and is reputed to have the widest panorama of any Grand Canyon overlook.

Angels Window

The road was narrow and winding.  Through the white curtain we kept climbing, higher and higher.  I kept fretting all this driving would be for naught.  Then, about three miles from Cape Royal, a miracle happened.  The fog suddenly cleared.

Narrow viewpoint on top of Angels Window

We happened to be driving by a viewpoint at the time.  Roger pulled over and we both walked over to the canyon's edge.  Oh boy was it gorgeous!

Lovely red rock formation

After spending several minutes soaking in the views we thought we wouldn't be able to see, Roger urged me back into the car and drove the final miles to Cape Royal's large gravel  parking area.  Cape Royal couldn't beat the views I'd just witnessed.....could it?

The river is far, far below

Well, I'm sure you know the answer to that question.  We parked, I packed up all my camera gear while Roger galloped ahead on the trail.  He quickly returned telling me to grab all my stuff and hurry.

Tiny bit of the sun's last rays

Oh the landscapes were even better than the previous viewpoint!  It was a half mile to the first overlook, a narrow ledge on top of Angels Window, a natural arch in the limestone that, if you looked through it at the right angle, framed a small section of the Colorado River, 5000 feet below.

Western views

As you can imagine, I kept my camera's shutter busy, capturing image after stunning image.

Taking in the panorama

While I was clicking away, Roger continued down the trail to the it's very end - a high plateau with a 270 degree canyon panorama.

Sun's final blast

While atop Angels Window, my hubby came hustling back urging me to follow him.  He said the views down the way were even better.

Storm clouds in the distance

And he was right!  Atop a small rocky peninsula I gazed upon an incredible sight.  Rumpled rocky peaks and deep wrinkled canyons spread out in all directions.

Canyons stretch out for miles

The fading sunlight occasionally broke through the clouds spotlighting a distant canyon wall, or very top of a nearby peak. 

Fabulous evening colors

But the cloudy skies produced even lighting and the low light made the colorful canyons pop.

Last light on distant canyon walls

Although we were worried about rain and thunderstorms, the clouds seemed to stay away.  Instead, they hovered in the distance, creating some dramatic skies.

Waiting for sunset

After searching the nearby area, I finally decided upon a rocky plateau for my sunset shots.  Setting up my tripod, Roger and I bundled up, and waited for the sun to drop.

Pink clouds

We weren't alone - there was a couple dozen people strolling around, and a few folks set up tripods nearby.  Then a large group of teenagers invaded.  We learned they were workers at the nearby Jacob Lake resort.  But the kids were quiet and well-behaved and didn't interfere with my photographic pursuits.

The sun is finally down

As light faded from the sky, temperatures plummeted.  I pulled on all my layers, a knit hat and gloves.  The thick cloud bank prevented any spectacular sky colors and produced only subdued light on the canyon's walls.  But I liked the even lighting and kept shooting anyway.  At least the fog had left and I could see the scenery.

Evening twilight

Finally, realizing we were the last people left on Cape Royal, Roger and I packed up, and drove the winding road in darkness, back to our campsite.  We arrived to a wet tent.  While we'd enjoyed a dry evening at Cape Royal, it had apparently rained at the campground.


After a late dinner by flashlight, I snuggled into my sleeping bag.  Driving back, our car thermometer had read 38 degrees.  It was gonna be a cold night!  But I had big plans for the next day - I was going to wake up early and catch the sunrise, and then Roger and I were hiking down into the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail.

Little did we know that the weather had other plans.....

Join me for my next post as I recap our second day on the Grand Canyon's North Rim.

Sharing with:  Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday


  1. A fabulous series of shots. Much as I like little details and cameos you can't really beat the grand view, can you? And they don't come any grander than the Grand Canyon itself.

  2. I'm really enjoying your posts.. of all your adventures from that trip. You captured so much beauty in so many places. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful!

  3. Wow, gorgeous images of the Grand Canyon. I love the view of the Angels Window. Lovely sky and sunset captures. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing. Have a happy day!

  4. Wow! One of those once-in-a-lifetime occasions! The twilight photos are amazing. You did a great job on photos that would actually capture the colours in the canyon!

  5. You're photos are making me want to go back there!

  6. Your last two shots are my favorites on this post. The variety of colors in The Canyon are stunning no matter the status of the sun! You two are hardy campers...or perhaps I'm a wimpy RVer! ;-)

  7. Bravo! Your photos are outstanding! Seeing those trails low down in the Canyon just make me want to be there! There is something about The Grand Canyon!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous and majestic, Linda! Fantastic series; beautiful place! :)

  9. Fantastic! "Sun's Final Blast".. my favorite among all these great shots, Linda!
    By the way, Roger sounds like about the best adventure sidekick ever, constantly scouting ahead as you shoot and urging you to the next view! High fives to you both. :)

  10. It's sweet that Roger scouted out all the good spots for you. Photography is normally a solo pursuit, so I liked that you worked as a team.

  11. WoW! I loved joining you. The twilight colours are a amazing.

  12. You sure got some great vistas, Linda! So glad the fog lifted. Your husband sounds like mine - a good scout and a good sport.

  13. Great photos. Didn't know about Angels Window view. Watched a programme recently about a kayak trip down the length of the Grand Canyon looking up. Amazing place from any perspective.

  14. Fotografias fantásticas uma maravilha.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

  15. The memories of my trip came flooding back as I gazed at your fantastic pictures! :-)

  16. Very nice pics from a place hard to photograph

  17. Incredible! In awe of your ability to capture these epic views so beautifully. Also impressed at how good your husband is to scout out the views for you and double back to let you know you need to hurry to catch the light!

  18. Sun, clouds, and the Grand Canyon - there's nothing like it in the world! I'm looking forward to your next morning; I bet you got snow overnight in those temperatures.

  19. Oh My Gosh!!! You sure achieved what you wanted to achieve! Magnificent photos! I could kick myself because I wasn't into photography as much when we hiked the Canyon, and only took a point & shoot anyway because of the weight and bulkiness factors. I have so few great Canyon photos. I just wish I could go back just for the pictures, and may have to do that this spring!

  20. This s such a fun read and your photos are beautiful. We ran into snow at the Grand was so cold and beautiful...and we had a local, cheap, but dry hotel room. Always glad to come back and read the rest of the story!

  21. Discovering these view points on the Canyon is a real treat. You won't be dissapointed no matter where you turn your head. The sunset is realy great, but I also love the shots from the dusk, since I didn't get to see the Canyon during that time of day when I was visiting.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  22. Wow you got some great sunset shots! What an amazing place:)

  23. It is just extraordinary scenery. Mind blowing I feel. And how beautiful are all the colours at sunset. Great photos Linda.

  24. SO stunning!! I want to go here so badly. Thank you Linda for sharing.

  25. Gorgeous photos! I don't think the Grand Canyon ever looks the same from day to day, season to season and that is one of the things what makes it so special!

  26. isn't this canyon the most amazing place ever. Have you ever read Colin Fletcher's book about hiking the grand canyon. It is a great book and was one of the first books I read that got me interested in hiking. You should check it out. My first hike ever, many years ago was with my husband, and we hike down to bright angel trail to the bottom of the canyon and back out in a day. I am amazed I ever hiked again as it nearly killed me . The beauty was incredible though .

  27. Wow, the views are magnificent! What an incredible place to visit.


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