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

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

Whether you're a first-timer or have visited 100 times, theNorth 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 Vegasand 375 miles north of Phoenix. Depending on snow, facilities areopen mid-May to mid-October; whenever roads are clear, there isaccess to trails and overlooks ($25 per vehicle for 7-day pass).Always carry plenty of water and food when hiking, and check onweather conditions, especially lightning, before heading out. Formore information, contact the Grand Canyon National Park(928/638-7888).

LODGING, CAMPING, AND DINING

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

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

Kaibab Lodge Eighteen miles from the Grand Canyon, itoffers 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 spacesin a first-come, first-served campground. See "Nearby Areas."

BEST HIKES

North Kaibab Trail Hike just a short distance for a lookbelow 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-mileround-trip (including a 2,000-foot return climb) to RedwallBridge.

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

Widforss Trail An outstanding, mostly level 10-mileround-trip through aspen forests leads to the gorgeous WidforssPoint overlook.

NEARBY AREAS

Kaibab National Forest Adjacent to the park, the forest hasaccess to rim-front overlooks (Timp Point is one of its best) andhiking trails. Stop by the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at JacobLake for more information. North Kaibab Ranger DistrictOffice; 928/643-7398.

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

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