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Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

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Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

Postby youngdoc » Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:52 pm

My April hike is in the books -- a great day hike up to the summit of Cloud's Rest and back in Yosemite. I began planning a May hike on the flight home and I had the idea that it might be fun to flip the mountain over for a change and do a rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon in May. As usual, I am late to the party, as it appears that May is a popular time for this trip, something that everyone except me probably realized months ago. Businesses on the North Rim seem to open around mid-May and although my planned hike would not occur until the weekend of May 29th (which is NOT Memorial Day weekend, by the way), all lodging appears to already be booked on the North Rim. If anyone has any ideas as to how I might still make this work, I would love to hear them. My constraint is time -- I have only four days (Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon) to make it happen, which is about the minimum to fit in flights, car travel, shuttle, etc. for a R2R hike. I probably don't have the time to do a R2R2R hike and I live in the Midwest, so travel takes time. Anyway, here is (was?) the plan; if there is another way to do it that solves the North Rim lodging problem, I am all ears:

Fri: Morning flight to Flagstaff (arrive FLG 2:23 p.m.); drive to South Rim (80 miles) (arrive ~ 5 p.m.); check into hotel on South Rim
Sat: Hike R2R (24 miles); check into lodging on North Rim
Sun: 7 a.m. catch shuttle at North Rim to return to my car at the South Rim (arrive 11:30 a.m. at South Rim); eat lunch at South Rim; drive to Flagstaff (arrive mid-afternoon); check into hotel; hang out in Flagstaff
Mon: 7 a.m. flight home

I could obviously reverse the South-to-North R2R hike direction, starting on the North Rim the night before the hike rather than the night immediately following the hike, but there is no lodging (that I am aware of) available on the North Rim that entire weekend. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the only way I can get back to my car on the opposite rim after the hike is by shuttle bus, which presumably means that I cannot stay very far from the North Rim -- I have to be able to get to the shuttle at 7 a.m. I suppose that if there was a way to catch a ride back to the South Rim on Saturday evening after my hike, that would be feasible, although not terribly appealing, considering that my R2R will be a long day and that drive would be something like 4+ hours long after hiking all day. Still, that would get me back to my car and to the South Rim, where there may be more options for lodging.

Am I out of luck?

Many thanks.
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Re: Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

Postby Tonka » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:20 pm

We had the same problem as it seems people book the North Rim long in advance and we never plan that far out. We booked air and everything else and then called the North Rim lodge every day and we ended up getting a room (single room cabin). There are hundreds of rooms spit between motel and various cabin types so your chances are good. It's an amazing lodge and after being there I'd almost be comfortable showing up without a reservation due to the number of room options and probability of a cancellation. It's a great hike!
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Re: Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

Postby splattski » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:28 pm

Consider camping?
The campground on the North side is closer to the trailhead than is the hotel, saving you some steps. It's also right by the store.

http://www.splattski.com/2010/grand_canyon/index.html
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Re: Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

Postby youngdoc » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:01 pm

Thank you both. A combination of those two suggestions might work -- I could carry the bare minimum of camping gear (1-person tent, sleeping bag) and take a shot at the lodge when I arrive. Do you have any recommendations as to the logistics of camping options (locations, reservations, etc.)?

I should add that I just searched this site: http://www.recreation.gov/campsiteSearch.do and from what I can see, not a SINGLE campsite is available for the night of Saturday, May 30th! Ack!
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Re: Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging

Postby youngdoc » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:56 am

Just an update for anyone who is reading along: I did manage to secure a campsite on the North Rim. I will monitor the North Rim Lodge's availability daily to see if any reservations open up -- I called the Lodge and Tonka's advice (above) is sound: they do often get cancellations.
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