GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is now closed to vehicles for the season. Arizona State Route 67 leading to the North Rim closed on Dec. 2. The Park Service expects to reopen State Route 67 and all services on the North Rim on May 15, 2014.
The North Rim campground and yurt will still be available for winter camping, and are accessible via inner canyon trails from the South Rim or by cross-country skiing and snowshoeing - a 45-mile trip from Jacob Lake.
"Although winter on the North Rim can provide a great wilderness experience, visitors are advised to plan ahead and prepare for winter conditions and weather that can change rapidly," North Rim District Ranger Jeff Webb said.
To camp at the North Rim during the winter months, visitors will need a backcountry permit, which can be obtained from the Backcountry Information Center located at the South Rim. Permit requests can be faxed year-round to (928) 638-2125. Backcountry permits for North Rim winter camping are also available at Pipe Springs National Monument west of Fredonia and at the Bureau of Land Management Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah.
"Trails that normally are well traveled in summer, have almost no traffic during the winter," Webb said. "Backcountry travelers to the North Rim in winter must be self-reliant and understand that they are undertaking a difficult trip where cell phone coverage may or may not be available and where emergency response may be limited or delayed."
More information on winter camping on the North Rim can be found by calling the Backcountry Information Center at (928) 638-7875, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., on weekdays, excluding holidays or by visiting the park's backcountry web page at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm.