The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is seen by many as the more authentic experience. With larger available wilderness, more freedom, less scheduling, and fewer tourists, the North Rim is often the destination of choice for serious outdoorsman looking for a more challenging experience. Of course, the North Rim, like the South Rim, has something for everyone, but it isn’t open year-round. Closed during the winter for safety purposes, the North Rim is only open for about half of a given year, and the 2015 season begins in less than a few weeks.
On May 15th, Highway 67 to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will be open to the public yet again, allowing tourists, sightseers, hikers, bikers, and more into the expansive and inviting northern wilderness. May 15th is a big day for the North Rim facilities as well, with most lodges and services resuming on May 15th. The North Rim will come to life all at once, so if you’ve been waiting for your chance to visit the wooded North Rim, May 15th is your first chance of the year to get the full experience.
Services and buildings available on May 15th include…
– Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim
– Grand Canyon Trail Rides
– Grand Canyon National Park services
– Backcountry Permits Office
– Grand Canyon Association Bookstore
– Camper and food services
– Gas stations
Lunch and dinner will be served at 11:30 and 4:45 respectively, but if you’re planning on coming by, be sure to bring a debit or credit card – these are the only payment methods accepted at the North Rim Entrance Fee Station.
Other events include the year’s first scheduled ranger program on the Grand Canyon Lodge’s veranda. Topics covered include Grand Canyon Geology and the majestic (and massive) California condor. Not sure what else might be available? Pick up a free copy of The Guide, a Grand Canyon publication, at the North Rim Visitor Center.
Act now, because the North Rim will be closed again before you know it. Most scheduled and ranger-led programs will cease yet again on October 15th of 2015. If you know your way around and just plan on soaking up the wilderness, the National Park Service will keep its North Rim operations open until October 31st, and (weather permitting) the North Rim will be open for day use through to December 1st. This is also the period through which pay-at-the-pump gas and diesel fuel will be available, and access to Point Imperial and Bright Angel viewpoints will also be closed off after December 1st. Camping will still be permitted (with a backcountry use permit) and campers will still be allowed to park overnight. After North Rim facilities have closed, a backcountry permit can still be obtained at the South Rim Visitor Center. As always, be sure to read up on safety and Grand Canyon Weather prior to camping in inclement weather.
So which side are you one – South Rim or North Rim? Each certainly has its appeal, and we’re interested to hear which one you prefer. What are your favorite Grand Canyon activities? Let us know in the comments section below!