North Rim Of Grand Canyon National Park Has Limited Winter Access

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Reaching the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is difficult in winter, but the payoff is spectacular. Patrick Cone photo.

While the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park isn't technically closed in winter, getting there can be difficult, especially now that the state highway leading to the rim is closed for the winter.

Arizona State Route 67 was closed on December 2, and it isn't expected to reopen until next May.

That said, the North Rim campground and yurt will be available for winter camping, and can be reached via inner canyon trails from the South Rim or by cross-country skiing and snowshoeing-- a 45 mile trip from Jacob Lake.

To camp at the North Rim during the winter months, visitors need a backcountry permit, which can be obtained from the Backcountry Information Center located at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Permit requests can be faxed year-round to (928) 638-2125. Backcountry permits for North Rim winter camping are also available at Pipe Springs National Monument west of Fredonia, Arizona, and at the Bureau of Land Management Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah.

“Although winter on the North Rim can provide a great wilderness experience, visitors are advised to plan ahead and prepare for winter conditions and weather that can change rapidly,” said North Rim District Ranger Jeff Webb. “Trails that normally are well-traveled in summer have almost no traffic during the winter. Backcountry travelers to the North Rim in winter must be self-reliant and understand that they are undertaking a difficult trip where cell phone coverage may or may not be available and where emergency response may be limited or delayed.”

For additional information on winter camping on the North Rim, you can contact the Backcountry Information Center at (928) 638-7875, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, weekdays, excluding holidays, or visit the park’s backcountry web page.

The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is open year-round. Additional Park information can be obtained by calling 928-638-7888 or by visiting the park website.