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NPS Image

Know Before You Go, Grand Canyon North Rim


You’ve seen the photos and heard the stories, now, prepare to experience the wonder of the Grand Canyon for yourself!

Here’s what to expect on your Shaka Guide North Rim adventure.

Start Planning!

grand canyon north rim map

Here are a few things to know in order to have the best experience on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

  • The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open from May 15th to October 15th. It is completely closed and not accessible in the winter and early spring.
  • The tour has several starting points:
    • -If you’re coming from the Las Vegas area, you’ll start the tour on Highway 389 East just before the Pipe Springs National Monument. 
    • -If you’re coming from southern Utah and/or Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks, you’ll start the tour on Highway 89 South in Kanab, Utah. 
    • -If you’re coming from the Grand Canyon South Rim, Cameron, AZ, Page, AZ, or Flagstaff, AZ, the tour will start just north of Page on US Highway 89A at Marble Canyon.
  • Many Grand Canyon shops and attractions close by 5:00 pm - check hours of operation in advance.
  • You can purchase a park pass at the North Entrance Gate or online here 
  • The entrance costs $35 per vehicle. Entry fees are credit/debit only.
  • All camping and overnight trips require a backcountry permit.
  • Cell reception is spotty in and around the canyon. Don’t worry, Shaka Guide tours work completely offline - no wifi or data necessary! 
  • Rafting in the canyon requires advanced booking. Check the NPS river trips page here for more information.
  • Phantom Ranch, the popular inner-canyon lodging site, is booked out months in advance. To check availability, or start planning your trip, check here.

What to Expect

forest in grand canyon north rimKaibab National Forest, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To Get an Early Start

It’s important to set out with realistic expectations. Sure, the North Rim is much less busy than its South Rim brother, but it’s still pretty popular.

You probably won’t encounter the large crowds of the South Rim, but you will likely experience some congestion.

It’s best to get to the canyon early to make the most of your day — that way you can spend more time exploring and less time waiting. 

We recommend that you arrive at Grand Canyon North Rim by 8 a.m. After that, you may have to wait in line at the entrance gate.

Plus, with so many highlights closing in the early evening, it’s important to make the most of those precious early hours.

To Spend 8-10 Hours Exploring

Our Shaka Guide North Rim tour is designed to allow you to glimpse every area of the park in just one day.

During your tour, you’ll explore:

  • Jacob Lake Lookout Tower
  • scenic Cape Royal Road
  • the historic Grand Canyon Lodge
  • the breathtaking Bright Angel Point

It’s definitely a busy day, packed full of all of the North Rim highlights you won’t want to miss! Check out our itinerary for more details.

To Be Active

hiker hiking the edge of a cliffCC BY 2.0

Whether your ideal day in the North Rim consists of hiking through lush forests to beautiful overlooks or getting up early to beat the sun to the canyon below, you can anticipate an active day of fun-filled activities.

For those who want to take things slowly, or who may be traveling with children, the Grand Canyon has plenty of viewpoints that are both accessible and breathtaking.

If you’re on the more adventurous side, consider taking some of the more challenging scenic hikes that can be found in our North Rim Hiking Guide.

To Learn

The story of the Grand Canyon's formation, like the canyon itself, is unlike anything else on the planet.

And we'd be doing you a disservice if we didn't tell you about it.

On your tour, you’ll learn not just about the geology of the canyon, but also about the indigenous peoples, pioneering women, and forward-thinking conservationists who have played such an important role in its history.

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  • $10 per person: Snacks
  • $10-15 per person: Lunch
  • $20-30 per person: Dinner
  • $35.00 per vehicle: Grand Canyon Weekly Park Pass

What to Bring With You

hikers grand canyon north rimCC BY 2.0

As with most national parks, a little preparation can make all the difference in your Grand Canyon experience.

Check off this list for suggestions on what to bring before you set out on your canyon adventure.

  • Headphones 
  • Car Charger- Very important!
  • Layered Clothing - Easy on-and-off layers are a must for changing canyon temperatures.
  • Refillable Water Bottles
  • Hiking/Walking Sticks
  • Good Shoes/Boots
  • Crampons/Spikes - Trails may be icy, even in the Spring.
  • Blacklight - Bring one if you want to spot the scorpions that live in the canyon.
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Hats/Sunglasses
  • Camera/Phone Cleanser - The bottom of the canyon can be very dusty.

Leave No Trace

overview of grand canyon north rimNPS Image

The Grand Canyon is a stunning, sometimes spiritual place, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

To preserve that wonder for others, be sure to practice safe and respectful travel, the Shaka Guide Way. 

During your visit, be sure to adhere to the leave-no-trace principles.

Pack it all out, pick up your trash, take nothing but pictures, respect the wildlife, and stick to the path. 

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know before you go north rim

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.
For more information and to check out the tour, be sure to check out the accompanying itinerary.


Flagstaff to Grand Canyon North Rim: 8 Stops Along the Way

Zion to Grand Canyon North Rim - What You Need To Know


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