By Robert Stieve | Photo Courtesy Grand Canyon Museum Collection
To say that a room has the best view in the world is saying something — to say the least. That said, Cabin No. 310 on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon outshines all the rest. If there were a cabin at the top of Half Dome in Yosemite or Angel's Landing in Zion, well ... maybe Cabin No. 310 wouldn't be such a slam-dunk, but that's not the case. And so, with its rustic splendor and unparalleled views of the Seventh Natural Wonder, this cabin is the one. It's that simple. Getting a reservation, however ... not so easy.
Like Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon and El Tovar on the South Rim, the best cabins on the north side tend to fill up at least a year in advance. Fortunately, there aren't any bad options up north. All of the cabins and motel rooms, which serve as the "lodging" component of the Grand Canyon Lodge, are close to the rim. Therefore, no matter where you lay your head, you're never more than a few minutes' walk from the main lodge itself, which is even more impressive than its sister to the south.
Built by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1928, the Grand Canyon Lodge, a national historic landmark, clings to the edge of its namesake — literally — making it possible to relax on the observation decks and drink in the incredible views of the Canyon without ever getting your feet dirty. Even if you're too earthy-crunchy for the stereotypical "lodge scene," dust yourself off and take a stroll through this historic beauty. What you'll see is the second installment of the lodge. The original was destroyed by fire in 1932, and then rebuilt using native stones and logs to mirror the Kaibab Limestone cliffs of the Canyon below. It's remarkable.
In addition to the observation decks and the massive indoor lounge with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, the main lodge features an excellent restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and an auditorium where rangers extol the virtues of the North Rim. About the only thing you can't do at the main lodge is sleep. For that, there's Cabin No. 310 and dozens of close-seconds, like No. 306 (pictured).
The lodge and its cabins, some of which include front porches, wooden rockers, fireplaces and kitchenettes, are managed by Forever Resorts, a company based in Scottsdale. To the average visitor, that might seem unimportant, but to Mother Nature, it's a big deal. Here's why: In addition to maintaining the Smokey Bear ambience and north woods nature of the village, Forever Resorts is going green in a big way. Among other things, 75 percent of the trash on the North Rim is now being sorted for recycling, and all laundry is being done off-site, thus preserving the area's most precious resource of all: water.
Although most of these efforts are taking place behind the scenes, in many ways, they're just as impressive as the natural and manmade wonders you'll see in front of you. It's not enough for Cabin No. 310 to have the best view in the world; the park around it has to measure up too, and in this case, it certainly does.
Grand Canyon Lodge, which is open mid-May through mid-October, is located at Bright Angel Point on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. For more information, call 877-386-4383 or visit www.nps.gov/grca.