It’s been a great summer but historic North Rim facilities weren’t built for the cold temperatures found at 8200 feet in elevation. From October 16th to December 1st the North Rim becomes pretty much a day use area. And that all hinges on weather conditions.
Ranger programs run through Oct 15th with a few of us staying to help operate the Visitor Center until it’s early closing beginning October 20th. The inside of the Visitor Center is getting a facelift so we’ll all see something new in the spring.
The last night of cabin/hotel lodging is October 15th with the last meal breakfast the 16th. (The boss usually takes us all out on that day.) Think about reserving now for a visit next year.
The General Store also closes after October 15th. Being this is the only internet hotspot in the park don’t expect much in the line of signal and only if standing on the rim looking south. Usually the best signal with Verizon.
Campground reservations are need until the end of October and after that are available by permit only. If you plan to visit in 2015 think about making a reservation ahead of time as the campground is usually full all season. Alternate camping located outside the park includes DeMott National Forest camp 7 miles from the park entrance and Jacob Lake campground, both close after October 15th. Plus free dispersed camping on the Kaibab National Forest which includes places right on the canyon rim.
October 15th is also the last day for mule rides on the North Rim. You can experience either a rim ride or descending two miles into the canyon on the North Kaibab trail. North Rim mules do not go the 14 miles to the bottom.
The North Rim entrance station remains staffed until November 1st, weather permitting. After that entrance fees are paid at the self-pay station behind the Visitor Center at south end of the main parking lot.
The Forever Resort gift shop at the Grand Lodge will be open until December 1st from 9am to 4pm and will offer coffee and limited snacks.
After October 15th the North Rim becomes pretty much day use. With no food services and self-serve fuel you need to come prepared. It can snow and be very cold so remember warm clothing. Water to fill your own containers will only be available by the Administration building.
Rim to rim canyon hikers can get a permit for the yurt or camping online or at the backcountry office on the South Rim. Daily roundtrip van service by Trans-Canyon Shuttle between the North and South Rims will continue into November. For specific times and reservations call 877-638-2820.
Facilities outside the park are also limited. The North Rim Country Store 6 miles from the park entrance will remain open until noon on November 1st, weather permitting. Jacob Lake Inn, restaurant and gas station, located 45 miles from the North Rim developed area, remains open year-round.
According to a Grand Canyon news release, “Arizona Department of Transportation officials will try to keep Highway 67 open through December 1, but a major storm with heavy snowfall could close the road earlier. After October 15, visitors should be prepared for winter driving and travel conditions and 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 to the area are reminded that Highway 89A remains open year-round.”
For more information check out the Grand Canyon National Park website.