Grand Canyon’s North Rim is home to one of the park’s best hotels: Grand Canyon Lodge. There are also a handful of great hotels near the North Rim in the small towns just outside the park. But getting to the North Rim is no easy matter. Although the North Rim lies just 10 miles from the South Rim as the condor flies, those of us confined to the ground have to drive 200 miles around Grand Canyon to get there. The North Rim is remote. The closest major airport, McCarran in Las Vegas, is 280 miles to the southwest. Traveling to the North Rim also means driving through one of the least densely populated places in the continental United States. As a result, fewer than one in ten Grand Canyon visitors makes it to the North Rim. But those who do are rewarded with limited crowds and some of Grand Canyon’s most spectacular views. That’s why the North Rim is one of my favorite places in Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon North Rim Hotels
Grand Canyon Lodge
Perched right on the rim of Grand Canyon, this rustic lodge offers the park’s only overnight accommodations on the North Rim. Motel-style rooms and private cabins are available, but both are often booked months in advance during the summer.
Grand Canyon Lodge offers tremendous views of the Canyon from its two open-air terraces. During the day, these terraces are great places to relax and take in the views. At night, a fire often crackles in the stone fireplace on the eastern terrace. Sandwiched between the terraces is the indoor Sun Room, where comfy leather chairs face giant picture windows that gaze out over the Canyon. The Sun Room is a great place to watch the summer monsoon storms. It’s also home to a bronze statue of Brighty the Mule (rub his nose for good luck), and over the fireplace is a large statue of a Hopi Tihu. Several spectacular Navajo Rugs are also draped around the lodge.
The original Grand Canyon Lodge, built in 1928, was the brainchild of Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. In the 1920s Mather championed the construction of grand lodges in national parks. Beautiful lodges helped lure visitors to national parks, which, in turn, justified the existence of the fledgling National Park Service. Designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood—the architect behind Yosemite’s famous Ahwahnee Hotel—the original Grand Canyon Lodge was built out of native ponderosa pines and Kaibab limestone. But just four years after it opened, the original structure burned down in a tragic fire. Only the small buildings on either side of the structure were spared, and they are still in use today. The current lodge was built in 1936. When completed it boasted improvements such as steel beams (as opposed to flammable pine beams) and sloped roofs to deflect the North Rim’s heavy snows.
Hotels Near the North Rim
North Rim Hotels in the Middle of Nowhere
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