One Week Away: Grand Canyon's North Rim Set to Open

Dustin George | Grand Canyon North Rim

As temperatures rise in Arizona, visitors and residents are looking for ways to escape the heat. And there's no better place to do that than the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, whose operating season begins a week from today — Tuesday, May 15.

For most of the state, the North Rim is much less accessible than the South Rim, which is open year-round. But that's part of its appeal, especialy for those looking for a bit of solitude at the Seventh Natural Wonder. Only about 10 percent of Grand Canyon visitors see the gorge from the North Rim, according to National Park Service statistics.

All Park Service facilities, including the North Rim visitors center and the Grand Canyon Association bookstore, will open at 8 a.m. May 15. Grand Canyon Lodge, the historic hotel and restaurant perched on the rim, will open for lunch and dinner that day.

Visitors who make the trek up north can enjoy numerous hiking opportunities — including the North Kaibab Trail, which runs all the way to the bottom of the Canyon, and the Nankoweap Trail, which was featured in the May issue of Arizona Highways. Those preferring to stay in the car can make the easy drive to Cape Royal, one of the North Rim's most stunning viewpoints, or travel a rugged dirt road to Point Sublime farther west. (For more ideas, check out our story from last year's North Rim opening.)

Besides Grand Canyon Lodge (where rooms and cabins tend to get booked up quickly), lodging possibilities in the area include Kaibab Lodge, just north of the park entrance, and Jacob Lake Inn, farther north.

Visitors to either rim of Grand Canyon National Park should be advised that entrance fees will increase June 1 to $35 per vehicle and $25 per motorcycle. With that in mind, consider purchasing an annual National Park Service pass, which provides entry for one vehicle (or four adults) at any Park Service site for $80 per year.

The North Rim's operating season runs through October 15. For more information about Grand Canyon National Park, visit the park's website.

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