The North Rim provides one of the best perspectives of the Grand Canyon because of its higher elevation and a greater personal experience given its relative isolation.
While the fewer amenities means that you’ll be less likely to find crowds on this side of the park, it also means that finding a place to stay is going to take some serious planning.
Lodging On the North Rim
Since the North Rim only receives ten percent of the park’s annual visitors, it provides significantly less on-sight lodging options. That being said, the sheer tranquil atmosphere and historic beauty of The Grand Canyon Lodge will reinforce that quality is always better than quantity.
I really hope you are looking at this a full 13 months ahead of your trip because that’s how long ahead you should reserve your North Rim lodging.
The Grand Canyon Lodge
Located literally a few steps from the rim, the Grand Canyon Lodge is the only lodging available on the North Rim. The accommodations here include a choice of western cabins, pioneer cabins, frontier cabins and motel rooms.
The western cabins, located near the rim, are very spacious and feature a porch, the better to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the rim. These cabins are big enough to fit four people, so they are excellent for small families.
The pioneer cabins are smaller and require a bit of sharing (bathrooms), however they offer all the amenities- including that coffee maker to invigorate your morning.
Better suited for small groups or couples, the frontier cabins and motel rooms offer more privacy, but smaller spaces and more basic amenities.
Lodging Below the North Rim
Most of the visitors who flock to the North Rim are serious hikers, and with this comes a fondness for camping. Given that the North Rim is such a remote area, features some of the greatest primitive trails, and is usually the start-off point for a rim-to-rim hike, camping is a great option for staying overnight. If camping is not an option, there’s always the rustic Phantom Ranch.
Keep in mind that whenever you are staying below the rim, a backcountry permit is required- and reserving a campsite or a cabin at Phantom Ranch is absolutely necessary.
The only lodging available within the canyon itself is at the famous Phantom Ranch- that is, if you get a reservation.
The accommodations at Phantom Ranch consist of dormitory-like cabins fitted out with bunk beds. The stone and wood cabins are basic, providing simply a place to rest and a communal shower to clean off the grit of the day.
The Phantom Ranch canteen offers snacks and drinks as well as some amazing lemonade and a dinner of steak or stew. The dinners are by reservation only- so are the bagged lunches.
Most people start their hikes early, so breakfast is served early and fresh coffee is available at 5:30am at the window.
Phantom Ranch is only accessible via hiking, horseback, or rafting- and remember that once you’re in the canyon, you must somehow get back to the rim.
Another excellent way to spend the night below the rim is by camping and if you’re coming from the North Rim, the best place to camp is Cottonwood Campground.
Located halfway between the rim and the river, along the famous North Kaibab Trail, Cottonwood Campground facilitates rim-to-river hiking. Hiking from the rim to the river usually takes about 2 days, so the campground is ideally located.
Since the North Rim is quite remote and receives only ten percent of annual visitors, Cottonwood Campground is also quite isolated. Developed campground and no crowding? Sounds about perfect.
Lodging Near the North Rim
Since the Grand Canyon Lodge is the only accommodation within the North Rim itself and is in very high demand, most visitors who are set on staying in something sturdier than a tent have to look elsewhere for lodging.
Most lodging near the North Rim can be found in southern Utah, Page, or Fedonia. You’ll also find that unlike lodging near the South Rim, lodging near the North Rim is further away.
Located in the gorgeous North Kaibab National Forest, the Kaibab Lodge is an excellent lodging alternative for your visit to the North Rim.
At a mere 5 miles from the park’s boundary line, (18 mi from the North Rim entrance), the lodge couldn’t be a better compliment to your primary destination. Like the remote North Rim, this place encourages an appreciation of nature. There are purposely sparse amenities and little to no reception here.
The Kaibab forest itself is a gorgeous place to relax, which will only maximize your outdoor experience. At an elevation nearing 9,000 ft (2,743 m), the forest will remain fresh, even during the summer heat.
Jacob Lake Inn
Located 44 miles (71 km) from the North Rim, Jacob Lake Inn was built in 1923 and has been serving as a place for North Rim visitors to stay since then.
Located within the Kaibab National Forest, this inn differs from the namesake inn because it offers more amenities. Excellent for families or large groups, Jacob Lake Inn is one of the best places to stay while on your North Rim trip.
Camping On the North Rim
North Rim Campground
There is only one campground on the North Rim itself, appropriately named the North Rim Campground. At an elevation of 8,200 ft (2,499 m), the campground offers an unparalleled vantage-point of the canyon and a refreshing place to rest (the higher elevation means that the atmosphere will be cooler).
Located on the border of Transept Canyon, staying at this campground means that you’ll have access to one of the best places to admire the sunrise or sunset.
The campground offers reasonable amenities, including picnic tables, campfire rings, water spigots, and laundry and shower facilities within walking distance.
With 90 campsites, it’s very likely you’ll find a spot and as a bonus? Pets are allowed!
Camping Outside the Park
There are also some camping options outside the North Rim, giving you greater flexibility.
Located about 7 miles (11.2 km), from the North Rim entrance, DeMotte Campground is a great place to stay overnight while visiting the remote North Rim.
The campground offers 38 campsites, all of which can easily accommodate a small family (or 4 individuals). The campsite also allows recreational vehicles.
Jacob Lake Campground
Located conveniently along the route toward the North Rim entrance, Jacob Lake is one of the most popular campgrounds for people visiting the North Rim.
With over 51 campsites, it is one of the bigger campgrounds available outside the park and offers a variety of amenities and activities.
The campground itself offers a couple of hiking trails, some biking trails, and horseback riding opportunities.
Kaibab Camper Village
Kaibab Camper Village is one of the best campgrounds to stay while visiting the North Rim as it offers full RV hookups for those traveling in a recreational vehicle and is as remote and tranquil as the North Rim.
Located within the outstanding Kaibab National Forest and right beside Jacob Lake, the campground is set up to provide the best outdoor environment.
Kaibab Camper Village offers full amenities, including electricity, drinkable water, picnic tables and fire pits, laundry and shower services, and clean toilets.
Recreational Vehicle Use
If you’re traveling in an RV, trailer, or small motor home, there are definitely places you can stay while visiting the North Rim.
DeMotte Campground accommodates recreational vehicles, however don’t expect utility hookups as none are available at the campsite.
Kaibab Camper Village also accommodates recreational vehicles and does offer full RV hookups.