Grand Canyon Cross Country Skiing

Grand Canyon Skiing

If Grand Canyon Skiing brings to mind a vacation carving perfect turns from Grand Canyon Village to the Colorado River…we'll you're going to be disappointed.  However, with elevations from 7,000 feet all the way to 9,000 feet there is some great cross-country skiing available on a good snow year and if the snow melts off there are quite a few other Grand Canyon Activities to choose from for a back-up plan. The North Rim offers the best snow pack, and therefore the best cross-country skiing, but the South Rim can be fun on the right day.  The best places to ski are rim trails and forest service roads in Kaibab National Forest that go unused in the winter season.  The North Kaibab Ranger District, South Kaibab Ranger district, Grand Canyon Trails Illustrated Topo, and the BLMs Arizona Strip Maps are your best bet to find your way.  Giving the National Forest or National Park Service a call to check on current conditions is also a must do. Read the guide below to learn more, or check out our map for Grand Canyon cross country skiing trails.

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More about Grand Canyon Skiing

Cross Country Skiing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon can receive over a foot of snow in a good storm.  If you live close by or happen to be around during this winter event, you'll wonder why there isn't a Nordic Center on the Rim.  This can be a unique way to enjoy the solitude the winter months bring to this bustling destination, but snow does tend to melt off the South Rim fairly quick after a storm. Any of the South Rim trails or dirt roads make for good options, just remember groomed trails and tracks are non-existent at the canyon.

Cross Country Skiing on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

The North Rim on the other hand actually gets a snow pack due to its average elevation of over 8,000 feet.  The Road to the North closes after the first snow (usually some time in later November) and does not open until May 15th.  The Park and all facilities close on October 15th due to the winter weather, so anyone attempting a trip to this area needs experience and preparation.  A Winter Rim to Rim is popular with hardcore Canyon hikers and entails a 30-mile Nordic Trek from Jacob Lake to the North Kaibab trailhead, followed by a 24-mile Rim to Rim hike across the Grand Canyon.  There are also limitless forest service roads, as well as a couple trails on the North Kaibab ranger district.  These are great areas for cross country skiing and snow camping with numerous places to access Grand Canyon vistas filled with solitude. 

Skiing Options near Grand Canyon National Park

If you’re looking for downhill skiing and snowboarding options Arizona Snowbowl is right down the road from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Located on the slope of Mt Humphrey’s near Flagstaff, AZ Snowbowl has 55 runs and an average annual snowfall of 260 inches. For cross country skiers looking for groomed trails and other Nordic activities head to the Arizona Nordic Village. The Nordic Village is close to Snowbowl and also offers rentals for cabins and yurts.

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