The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is only visited by about 10 percent of the people who travel to the rest of the park each year. Then again, its beauty, spectacular views, and smaller crowds make it all the more appealing to many visitors.
If you’re planning to visit the North Rim this spring, you’ll need to put those plans on hold.
The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park usually closes for the winter season in mid-October and then reopens sometime in mid-May. This year, however, it is scheduled to open on June 2 due to what park officials call a record-setting amount of snow.
Northern Arizona has received a great deal of snow this winter. Indeed, in a typical winter, the North Rim receives an average of 126 inches, or 10.5 feet, of snow. In the 2022-23 winter, however, the North Rim received more than 250 inches, or 20 feet, of snow since October, according to the Associated Press.
Postponing the North Rim’s reopening to June 2 at 6 a.m. Mountain Time is necessary “to ensure the safe plowing of State Route 67 and allow staff to reopen visitor facilities on the North Rim,” according to the National Park Service.
“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our neighbors and visitors with this delay as our partners and park staff work to open the North Rim roads, trails, and facilities safely,” Superintendent Ed Keable said in a statement.
The Reopening Schedule
It wasn’t just snow that led to the decision to postpone reopening the North Rim.
From April 12–June 2, the North Kaibab Trail from Cottonwood Campground to the North Kaibab Trailhead will be closed.
“During the winter season, the North Kaibab Trail and North Rim pipeline received significant damage from rockfall and landslides, making many areas unsafe and impassable for inner canyon hikers,” the National Park Service explains. “The trail will be closed to safely rebuild and maintain the North Kaibab Trail and repair damaged sections of pipeline.”
The closure area will be from Cottonwood Campground to the North Kaibab Trailhead.
No hikers will be allowed to pass through this area under any circumstances.
On June 2, North Rim’s Visitor Contact Station will reopen, and daily ranger-led programs will resume. The Grand Canyon Conservancy Bookstore will also reopen that day, as will the Backcountry Information Center.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim operations — including lodging, groceries, retail, food, and beverage services; shower and laundry services; and the gas station — are all expected to open on June 2. The lodge dining room will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with reservations required for dinner service.
Then on June 9, the North Rim Campground will reopen.
You can book reservations for the North Rim Campground online at Recreation.gov.
Finally, on July 1, the Cape Royal and Point Imperial Roads will reopen. These roads will be closed until then to ensure visitor and worker safety while snow removal, damage assessment, and road repairs are completed.
The W1, W1a, W4, and the Fire Point Road which access the Widforss Trail, Point Sublime, the North Bass Trailhead, and other destinations on the Kaibab Plateau within the park will also reopen on July 1. Road closures are necessary while crews remove downed trees.
Know Before You Go
The entrance to the North Rim is 30 miles south of Jacob Lake, Arizona. The actual rim of the Grand Canyon is an additional 14 miles south of the park entrance.
While the North Rim remains closed for winter, you can learn more about planning a visit this summer.
In the meantime, the South Rim, which is about 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff, is open all year.
You can learn more and plan a visit to the South Rim.
And of course, you can monitor the current conditions at Grand Canyon National Park on the Alerts & Conditions webpage.
While you’re thinking about it, and possibly planning a trip, be sure to read all of our Grand Canyon National Park content, including: