The secret Grand Canyon

You don't really know Arizona's Grand Canyon until you've explored its uncrowded, unforgettable North Rim. Here's where to hike, eat, and sleep

Matthew Jaffe

The last leg to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a 44-mile drive on Arizona's State 67 that passes through forests of ponderosa pine. It runs along rolling meadows that in spring fill with shallow lakes, where herds of mule deer dissolve into the morning mists.

Whether you're a first-timer or have visited 100 times, the North Rim is never anything less than a revelation. Full story »

GETTING THERE

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 270 miles east of Las Vegas and 375 miles north of Phoenix. Depending on snow, facilities are open mid-May to mid-October; whenever roads are clear, there is access to trails and overlooks ($25 per vehicle for 7-day pass). Always carry plenty of water and food when hiking, and check on weather conditions, especially lightning, before heading out. For more information, contact the Grand Canyon National Park (928/638-7888).

LODGING, CAMPING, AND DINING

Grand Canyon Lodge With its soaring dining room and expansive views, it's a national park classic. Accommodations are in duplex cabins; some have views and some are spacious, while others aren't, so ask about location and amenities. Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room; $$; reservations required for dinner; 928/638-2611 ext. 160. Lodge and restaurant open May 15. From $97; 888/297-2757.

Jacob Lake Inn Motel lodging and simple cabins, a restaurant ( $), and a store with an outstanding collection of Navajo rugs and Native American jewelry; about 44 miles from the rim. From $75; 928/643-7232.

Kaibab Lodge Eighteen miles from the Grand Canyon, it offers some newly built cabins and a restaurant ( $$). From $90; 928/638-2389.

North Rim Campground Running water and nearby showers, but no hookups. $18; reservations required; off State 67; 877/444-6777.

Toroweap Also known as Tuweep, this park area has 11 spaces in a first-come, first-served campground. See "Nearby Areas."

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park
Bluff, Utah, to Grand Canyon
What to see and where to stay
The town next door
BEST HIKES

North Kaibab Trail Hike just a short distance for a look below the rim. For a day-hike, take the 3.6-mile round-trip (including a 1,000-foot return climb) to Supai Tunnel or 5.4-mile round-trip (including a 2,000-foot return climb) to Redwall Bridge.

Transept Trail This perfect family day-hike (3 miles round-trip), with great views from the rim's edge, begins at Grand Canyon Lodge. Good for spotting condors.

Widforss Trail An outstanding, mostly level 10-mile round-trip through aspen forests leads to the gorgeous Widforss Point overlook.

NEARBY AREAS

Kaibab National Forest Adjacent to the park, the forest has access to rim-front overlooks (Timp Point is one of its best) and hiking trails. Stop by the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake for more information. North Kaibab Ranger District Office; 928/643-7398.

Toroweap National park area with an iconic canyon view. Check road conditions before heading out. From State 389, 7 miles east of Fredonia, drive 60 miles on dirt road.

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