The North Rim is the quiet side of Grand Canyon National Park. Only ten miles from the South Rim as the crow flies, its takes 4 hours driving time to get to the North Rim from Grand Canyon Village. The North Rim is on average 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim resulting in a very different ecosystem. This higher elevation also results in higher snowfall, which closes the North Rim from the first major snowstorm (usually in late November) until May 15th. Facilities at the North Rim are open May 15th through October 15th every year.
The North Rim is a great place for those looking for more solitude on their Grand Canyon vacation. This part of the Canyon really feels like a National Park, and is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the other side. The North Rims alpine like environment is more reminiscent of a drive through the mountains than a trip to Arizona. Towering Ponderosa Pines, Aspen Groves, and beautiful meadows will great visitors here, alongside a laid back atmosphere.
There is only one lodge inside the Park, but there are two other options between the North Rim and Jacob Lake. There are a few tours and fewer scheduled activities, but for those of you who love to hike and explore one of the seven wonders of the world without mobs of people around, you're heading to the right place.
From Jacob Lake, AZ you'll follow highway 67 on a one way trip to the North Rim. Kaibab National Forest parallels the highway on both sides all the way to the park entrance station. There are many dirt access roads into the National Forest where you can find some great campsites, and access backcountry trails into Grand Canyon National Park. A drive along highway 67 will also bring you to the Kaibab Lodge, and Demotte Campground, the only developed camping and lodging close to the park if the North Rim lodge and campground are full. From the North Entrance you can access two scenic paved roads to Point Imperial and Cape Royal. If you continue on highway 67, you'll reach the North Rim, where you'll find the North Rim Lodge, campground and Visitor Center, as well as services like gift shops, stores and a gas station. Although the North Rim has less visitation, there is no shortage of activities for the more adventurous Grand Canyon explorer. Hiking is awesome from the North Rim, and includes the the North Kaibab trail, where backpackers start or end an epic Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike. There are also limitless backroads to explore, including the 4X4 road to Point Sublime, one of the most scenic viewpoints in Grand Canyon National Park.