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Grand Canyon North Rim, Arizona
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ACTIVITIES
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IT'S ALL IN THE ACTIVITY
 

North Rim

 

Photo by National Park Service

The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park offers families a true backcountry experience that can be easy or extreme. Hike through ponderosa pine forest along the canyon rim. Trek and, if the children are 12 years of age or older, take a mule trip to Roaring Springs more than 3,000 feet (915m) below. And depending on the age and experience of the kids, partake in a multi-day backcountry adventure. Yet regardless of the grade of the hike, a family vacation on the remote and much less visited North Rim is sure to be all about the great outdoors.
Getting There
 
The Grand Canyon North Rim is best accessed from points north, Las Vegas, Nevada and Page, Arizona, and can easily be combined with a trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks as well as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell. The North Rim is 270 miles (435 km) from Las Vegas, 107 miles (172 km) from Zion National Park in Utah, 193 miles (311 km) from Flagstaff and 212 miles (341 km) from the South Rim. Trans Canyon Shuttle provides a daily rim-to-rim shuttle service, roughly 4.5 hours, for a fee from mid-May to mid-October.
Getting Around
 
The North Rim hiker shuttle makes the run from the Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Kaibab trailhead twice each morning (early!). A nominal fee is charged. Numerous hiking and backcountry trails depart from various points along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Day hikes ranging from easy to extreme vary in difficulty and length. Review both before departing on a hike with kids. Of note, none of the hikes into the Canyon are easy. North Kaibab Trail is 14 miles, one way. This hike is extreme and cannot be completed in a single day. Ranger led nature walks are a great way to enhance your child's knowledge and appreciation of the Grand Canyon. Backcountry permits are required for camping outside of the designated campgrounds. Bicycles are permitted on all paved and unpaved Grand Canyon National Park roads. They are prohibited on all other trails. Mule trips provide an alternative means of exploring the North Rim. Age restrictions apply.
When to Travel
 
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim is during the dry summer months - May, June, July and September. North Rim facilities and visitor services are open from mid-May to mid-October only. Weather permitting; the North Rim is open for day use only from mid-October to mid-May. The North Rim sits at 8255 feet (2576 m) above sea level and receives 60 percent more rain and snow than the South Rim. And while it may be cool on the rim, the temperature rises with each step you take below.
Health & Safety
 
All points on the North Rim are more than 8000 feet (2438 m) above sea level. Give your body a chance to acclimate to the elevation before you set out on a serious hike. Visitors with respiratory or heart problems may experience difficulties. Select your hike with care. Be sure the trail does not exceed the ability of the slowest and least experienced walker in your family. Take similarly graded walks and build up your endurance prior to departing on a family trip. Particular attention is warranted during summer months and peak heat hours.
Hours & Seasons
 
North Rim facilities and visitor services are open from mid-May to mid-October only. Weather permitting; the North Rim is open for day use only from mid-October to mid-May. Ranger programs are offered free of charge at various North Rim locations throughout the summer season.
Admission & Fees
 
Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park is charged per vehicle unless you are traveling on foot, bike or motorcycle in which case the fee is per person. Commercial vehicles are charged on capacity. A back country fee is charged for all multi-day trips into the canyon and camping outside the designated campground. Admission to the visitor center and ranger-led programs are free of charge.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
All North Rim services are located at the Bright Angel area. Biking is not allowed on trails. The minimum age for mule trips varies with the length of the trip.
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