Time Running Out This Year For A Visit To Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim

Views from the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, such as this one of Wotan's Throne, will soon be hard to get this year, as the rim is moving toward's closure for the winter. Photo by QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks, used with permission.

Though Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim bears the bulk of the park's tourist traffic, the North Rim is truly sublime, with its pine and aspen forests, spectacular views, and fewer crowds. Sadly, time is running out for you to visit the North Rim this year.

Though the North Rim will remain open to visitors traveling by automobile through November 28 -- unless weather closes Highway 67 earlier -- most of the concession operations will shutter for the year on October 15 or 16. As of 8 a.m. November 29 the gates across the road will be closed at the North Rim entrance, meaning only hardy hikers and cross-country skiers will be able to access the rim...as long as they've obtained the requisite backcountry permits.

According to park officials, reservations for the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim, operated by Forever Resorts, will be accepted through the night of October 15. All other concessioner-related visitor services, with the exception of the gift shop and gas station, will close at the end of the day on October 15. The last meal served at Grand Canyon Lodge will be breakfast, which ends at 10:00 a.m., on October 16. The final day for mule rides on the North Rim will be October 15. Self-service gas and diesel fuel will continue to be available in the park through November 28 or until Highway 67 closes.

The Park Service’s North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore as well as the Backcountry Permit’s Office will remain open through November 28. From October 16 until closure, operation hours will be 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Regularly scheduled ranger-led programs, as advertised in The Guide, will be offered through October 15.

Starting October 16, campsites with limited services, such as portable toilets, will be available for a $12 fee on a first-come, first-served basis. Water will only be available outside the National Park Service administrative office. Gas and diesel fuel will continue to be available at the gas station located inside of the park. Entrance fees and campground fees will be collected through the end of the day on November 28 or until snow closes Highway 67.

As in previous years, hikers and cross-country skiers will be permitted to use the park’s group campsites on the North Rim throughout the winter months if they have obtained a backcountry permit through the park’s South Rim Backcountry Information Center or at the Visitor Center at Pipe Spring National Monument, located in Fredonia, Arizona. The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open year-round and can be reached by calling (928) 638-7875, Monday through Friday, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST. Permit requests can be faxed year-round to (928) 638-2125. Backcountry information can be found on the park’s Web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.

The Kaibab Lodge, located four miles north of the park boundary, will have full services through October 31. The Kaibab Lodge will close for the season after breakfast November 1. The North Rim Country Store, also located outside of the park boundary across from the Kaibab Lodge, will remain open through November 2, weather permitting.

Jacob Lake Inn, restaurant and gas station, located 45 miles from the North Rim developed area, remains open year-round. The Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake will have reduced hours starting mid-October.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials will try and keep Highway 67 open through the end of November, but a major storm with heavy snowfall could close the road earlier. After October 15, visitors are encouraged to call Arizona Highway information at (888) 411-7623 in advance of their trip to check on the status of Highway 67.

Visitors can contact the North Rim Visitor Center at (928) 638-7864 for additional information on North Rim operations.

Comments

Better hurry. The aspen are gold.

I was up there last Saturday and Sunday and it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

28 degrees at sunrise each morning at DeMotte campground six miles outside the park.

Fall weather can be treacherous there, though. Remember a few years ago when some young men parked their truck at a trailhead in terrific, sunny, warm Indian summer weather for a hike into the canyon? Remember how, when they returned to the rim in a raging storm a few days later they found their truck buried in snow so deep they couldn't drive out? And remember how they were wisely prepared for possible problems so they were able to just hunker down for several stormy days until a helicopter could finally fly in to reach them?

They went back for their truck the following spring.