Grand Canyon’s North Rim to Open May 15
PHOTO: Grand Canyon gears up for a busy summer season. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
After its annual winter closure, the Grand Canyon’s North Rim will open to visitors on May 15. The gate to the northern entrance will open on at 7:30 a.m. and the Grand Canyon Lodge and Grand Canyon Trail Rides will begin their 2016 seasonal operations. Highway 67, the road that leads to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim will reopen on May 13 at Jacob Lake at 1 p.m.
According to the National Park Service, All services provided by the National Park Service, including the visitor center, Backcountry Information Center, and campground, as well as the Grand Canyon Association bookstore, will be available on May 15 at 8 a.m. Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim operations including lodging, groceries, camper services, food services, and gas station, which will also open May 15. Lunch will be served starting at 11:30 a.m., lodge check-in will begin at 4 p.m., and seating for dinner will begin at 4:45 p.m.
Scheduled ranger services will also be available. The first scheduled program will be “Grand Canyon Geology” on the veranda of the Grand Canyon Lodge on opening day at 3 p.m.
The North Rim will be open through Oct. 15 for most regularly scheduled ranger-led programs and concessioner services. The visitor center, the bookstore and the Backcountry Information Office will remain open until Oct. 31. The North Rim will be open for day use only (no overnight parking) unless Highway 67 is closed due to snow. Those walking or hiking in may camp at the North Rim Campground and yurt so long as they obtain a backcountry permit. Permits can be obtained at the South Rim Backcountry Information Center and at the visitor Center at Pipe Spring National Monument located in Fredonia, Arizona.
READ MORE: Celebrate 100 Years of US National Parks
The National Parks Service is expecting a busy year in the park with record visitor numbers in 2015 continuing this year, the celebration of the National Parks Service centennial and low gas prices contributing to a surge in visitors.
"Warm, sunny weather, low gas prices, and the National Park Service's Centennial year make Grand Canyon a perfect spring break destination," said Fee Business Manager Marlon Avantyr. He added, "there's no reason not to expect more visitors this year than ever before." Avantyr and other park staff encourage visitors to arrive to the park early, take advantage of the free shuttle bus system, and consider parking in Lot D at the Backcountry Office or parking Lot C on Center Road.
For those looking to avoid crowds into and out of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon Railway is another way to access the park. Originally completed in 1901, the train departs daily year-round (except Christmas Day) at 9:30 a.m. from Williams, Ariz., and rolls almost due north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, arriving at 11:45 a.m. Each train lays over at the Grand Canyon (steps from the rim itself) for 3 1/2 hours. The railway will run two trains daily from May 28 through Sept. 5, 2016.
The parks service is encouraging visitors to also explore other neighboring parks such as Petrified Forest National Park and Wupatki National Monument in honor of the centennial.
More by Janeen Christoff
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