Snow is melting, the air is warming, and that means you'll soon be able to drive to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Park officials say that Arizona Highway 67 is scheduled to open on Tuesday, May 15, and so that's when the North Rim will open for the summer season. Opening along with the road will be the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim, and Grand Canyon Trail Rides will begin operations, as well.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim operations include lodging, groceries, camper services, food services and a gas station. All concessioner facilities will open at 10 a.m. with the exception of the dining room, which will open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch. Lodge check-in will begin at 4 p.m.
All services provided by the National Park Service, including the Visitor Center, backcountry permitting office, and campground, as well as the Grand Canyon Association bookstore will be available on May 15 at 8 a.m.
The first scheduled ranger program, Grand Canyon Geology, will be on the back porch of the Grand Canyon Lodge at 3 p.m. followed by a program about the California condor at 4:30 p.m. The first evening program will be held on May 15, at 8 p.m. in the Lodge auditorium. All ranger programs will be listed in “The Guide” (North Rim: 2012 Season), a free publication distributed at the North Entrance Station, the North Rim Visitor Center, other contact stations in the park and online at www.nps.gov/grca once it is available.
For your long-range planning purposes, know that the last day for most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2012. The National Park Service will continue its operations including the North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore, as well as the Backcountry Permits Office through November 25, unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. During this shoulder season, campsites with limited services such as portable toilets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, it is anticipated that Forever Resorts will keep their gift shop and gas station open.
While Highway 67 closes seasonally, U.S. Highway 89A, to Jacob Lake, typically remains open as weather permits for businesses and visitors to the area.
The North Rim, which lies at the southern end of the Kaibab Plateau at approximately 8,500 feet in elevation, is only open during the summer and offers spectacular canyon views. Points of interest include Point Imperial, Cape Royal, Point Sublime, North Kaibab Trail, and Bright Angel Point. The South Rim, which sits at approximately 7,200 feet in elevation, is open year round.
For a copy of the park’s free Trip Planner please call 928-638-7888 or write, Trip Planner, Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023. The Trip Planner is also available on the Internet at this park page. “The Guide” for the North Rim will be available on-line by May 15.