See it, and you’ll understand immediately why the North Rim is regarded as the Grand Canyon’s “best side.” While visitors at the South Rim jostle with crowds and endure daytime temperatures nearing 100°, those fortunate enough to see the Grand Canyon from it’s North Rim will have a whole different experience; one the travel magazine Conde Nast once described years ago as “the Connoisseur’s Grand Canyon.”
Grand Canyon’s North Rim is only open from mid-May through mid-October. At 8,000’ above sea level, the North Rim is cooler and typically experiences heavy winter snows, hence the shorter season. At the South Rim, you’ll find primarily evergreen trees. On the North Rim, maple, aspen, birch and oak trees stand side by side with Ponderosa pines, making autumn a particularly special time to visit when these trees put on a radiant display of colorful foliage. Unique animal life abounds here, too, most notably, the gray Kaibab Squirrel with its distinctive tufted ears.
Visitor facilities at the North Rim are fewer in number and smaller in scale. While the South Rim area has well over a thousand hotel rooms, the North Rim only has a couple hundred. The South Rim sees approximately five million visitors a year; the North Rim receives maybe one-tenth that number. In addition to cabins and some motel rooms, the North Rim also has a campground, restaurant, deli, cocktail lounge, gift shop and a mule trip outfitter.
In-park lodging books 9 months to a year in advance. Other lodging is also available at the Kaibab Lodge, Jacob Lake Inn, and in the gateway communities. Stay in Kanab, UT hotels, St George, UT hotels or Lake Powell/Page, AZ hotels. In-park visitor services close in mid-October, after which time, day visits only are allowed until first snowfall when Highway 67 from Jacob Lake closes. Once the highway closes, access to the North Rim is only granted to individuals (i.e., cross-county skiers, snowshoers, hikers) with a backcountry permit