What to expect when booking a stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. You may be surprised to read about our experience staying in a cabin on the North Rim.
Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim Grand Canyon National Park
The night of moths, mice, and bright lights…
We were so excited when we booked a cabin at the north rim of the Grand Canyon! It was the perfect location for getting up early to watch the sunrise over the canyon walls.
When we checked into the room we learned a few things about what it takes to stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge.
One of the first things is the parking is the same parking as general visitors so you may have to battle to get a parking spot “near” the cabin you are staying in. I say near because they are across the road and some of them are a bit of a distance from the parking lot, especially when hauling luggage.
Once we were in the room and settled for the night we realized that we had a lot of new moth friends flying around over our heads. On our way to our cabin, we had seen the neighbors standing outside with their flashlights trying to entice their moths to exit their cabin. This probably should have been a hint that we were going to be in for the same.
While we were winding down and chatting about what we wanted to do in the park the next morning my wife saw movement out of the corner of her eye. We had a new little 4 legged mouse friend running around the floor near our bags and under the beds.
Thankfully once we started moving around trying to figure out where he came from he ran to the back wall and disappeared. There was a crack in the floor and 1st log of the cabin that our new little friend was able to squeeze through.
You would think that would be the end of our fun night and we would be able to get a good night's sleep but we have to talk about the bright lights of Grand Canyon Lodge.
The cabin has an amazing fan that helps cool it down and allows you to close the windows so more moths do not enter the cabin. When we were going to turn in we tried to turn off the cabin lights only to realize that the fan was connected to another light so if you turned off the power you turned off the fan.
We made the choice to sleep with the light on and keep the fan going so the cabin did not get super hot and stuffy instead of opening the windows and dealing with more moths and who knows what coming inside.
The windows do have screens on them but the number of moths between the screens and the windows told us they would find a way inside.
I am going to say that this was a night at a National Park Lodge, unlike many other nights we have had. I am pretty sure in a few years we will be laughing about our night with nature on the North Rim.
The night of moths and mice and bright lights was not how we planned our stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge to go that is for sure.
When I went by the front desk in the morning to drop off the keys I asked if moths and mice were a normal problem. The person I talked with nonchalantly told me that mice were a given but moths were a new problem they really needed to work on. She was a lot more worried about the moths compared to the mice.
Frontier ADA Cabin with 1 twin/1 full-size bed
We ended up with an ADA Cabin so the configuration was a bit different than some of the other cabins, especially in the bathroom. There was a twin-size bed and a full-size bed in the cabin along with a small table, 2 chairs, and a mini-refrigerator.
If you are a pillow person you are going to want to bring your own pillow with you. The twin-size bed had 1 small pillow while the full-size bed had 2 small pillows. We actually ended up stacking extra towels under the pillows to get some cushion.
The cabin is rustic and bare bones. There is one plug-in on a far wall that can be used to charge your phones just make sure you bring your plugin. There are no USB adaptors in the room.
The ADA Bathroom was amazing! The water pressure was shocking being on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The bathroom was honestly the best part of the entire cabin.
Accommodations at the Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim consist of Frontier, Western and larger Pioneer cabins (located close to the rim) as well as motel rooms located within a short walking distance from the lodge.
Some of the cabins have front porches with chairs but not all of them.
Western Cabins have 2 queen-sized beds and include standard and rim view cabins.
Pioneer Cabins have One Queen, One Full and Two Twin Beds (Bunk Bed) and include standard and rim view cabins.
Frontier Cabins have One Double Bed and One Single Bed and come in standard view cabins.
Main Lodge Dining Room - Reservations are recommended if you plan to enjoy dinner in the main lodge dining room. When I stopped by to ask about dinner availability the person in front of me was screaming they were so upset they couldn't get in for dinner. Another person was trying to cancel a dinner reservation and 2 other guests were fighting over who was going to take it.
Save yourself the headache and make reservations online before heading to the park. To make a reservation, please call 928-645-6865 (February 1st through April 15th) or 928-638-2611 (May 15th through Oct 14th).
Deli in the Pines - The Deli in the Pines is open daily from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. You can find easy grab-and-go food including pizza by the slice, sandwiches, breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, and so much more. We found the staff at the deli to be the nicest staff we encountered during our stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge. I made it a point to visit the deli because they were so friendly and made me smile each time.
Roughrider Saloon - Stop by the Roughrider Saloon from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm to grab a cocktail or beverage to go. This is a great place to grab a drink and head out and enjoy it while soaking in the rim views.
Things you need to know when planning to stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge
Season - May 15th through October 15th - on average
Reservations - Reservations can be made in advance on February 1st of the year that you plan to arrive. To make a reservation, please call 928-645-6865 (February 1st through April 15th) or 928-638-2611 (May 15th through Oct 14th).
Rim Views - There are six cabins specifically designated as "Rim View" rooms, and fourteen cabins that sit on the rim with wooded views. Not all rooms have a direct view of the canyon but all are within walking distance of a spectacular view.
Check-In Time - 4 pm
Check out Time - 11 am
Smoking - All rooms are non-smoking
Wi-Fi - There is no Wi-Fi available in the cabins.
Cell Phone Service - Cell phone reception is limited at the North Rim. Depending on your service provider you may get service on the Rim.
Pets - No pets are allowed. There is a $200 fee charged if pets are found in a room
Address - AZ-67, North Rim, AZ 86052
Phone Number: (877) 386-4383
Cancellation Policy: Please notify Forever Resorts 72 hours prior to your arrival, 4:00 P.M. Arizona Mountain Standard Time, to avoid the loss of your deposit.
Where is Grand Canyon Lodge located?
The Grand Canyon Lodge is located on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The lodge is within the park next to the visitor center.
The next closest lodging facilities would be the Kaibab Lodge (928-638-2389), located 18 miles from the Lodge and Jacob Lake Inn (928-643-7232) which is 45 miles from the Lodge. The next largest city from the North Rim is Kanab, Utah, where you can stay at the famous Parry Lodge.
Make sure to rub the nose of Brighty the Burro located near the rim view seating area in Grand Canyon Lodge. It is believed if you rub Brighty's nose you will have good luck and/or return to the Grand Canyon.
History of the Grand Canyon Lodge
The Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge is the only lodging located inside the Grand Canyon National Park on the North Rim. This Lodge is often the first thing visitors to the park see, even before the canyon itself, as the highway ends at the Lodge.
Grand Canyon National Park was established in February of 1919, but visitors had been flocking to the park long before this establishment.
From 1917 to 1927, William Wallace Wylie and his daughter Elizabeth Wylie McKee managed the first accommodations at the North Rim, now known as Bright Angel Point.
Wylie has been credited with creating the first “permanent camps” concept in National Parks around the west. Born in Iowa in 1848, Wylie moved to Montana at the age of 30 and began working as a school principal.
It was on a trip to Yellowstone that his love and interest in National Parks began. He led overnight tours of the park for teachers and visitors and as time went on, his interested camping groups grew larger and larger.
It became quite the hassle to tear down and then reconstruct his group camping areas each day. In 1893, Wylie asked and was given permission by Yellowstone to leave his camps intact while he brought visitors back and forth.
What was known as the “Wylie Way” to visit National Parks became popular and the Union Pacific Railroad asked Wylie to open similar camping spots at Zion National Park and Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
As National Parks and its lodging became a tourist attraction around the West, the Union Pacific Railroad took on many projects to build new lodges in the areas they ran lines to. By the early 1900s, the “Wylie Way” was not as popular as it used to be.
Many families riding the rails had the money to travel, and they wanted more luxurious lodging while staying in the National Parks. The Wylie’s were forced out as the area of the North Rim was sold to the Union Pacific and Utah Parks Company.
By this time it was 1920, and the National Park Service had control of the area and any construction happening within it.
Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the architect hired by the Utah Parks Company, agreed to the National Park Service terms of building the new Lodge.
The 1920s style of new architecture in the National Parks was a rustic theme, using natural materials from its surroundings.
Underwood designed a Lodge that used native stone and timber that matched the rocky environment of the North Rim.
The plan was a large central lodge with numerous cabins surrounding it.
The exterior of the lodge was made of native limestone, which served the goal of the NPS natural architecture, making it look as though the Lodge had grown up out of the North Rim.
The veranda to the south offered a gorgeous view and an observation tower as well as a stone fireplace were built on the exterior.
The rustic cabins and cottages blended into the environment as well. The cabins were divided into two categories:
Regular cabins located northwest of the Lodge and Deluxe cabins located northeast of the Lodge. Regular cabins were individual structures and the Deluxe were built as duplexes and quadplexes.
The construction crew included 125 men who were paid around 85 cents daily.
They worked long hours through the harsh winter to complete the entire project in 1928. At the time of its opening, the complex also included telegraph and postal service, hot baths and showers, and a barbershop.
The Utah Parks Company had built a state-of-the-art water system which is still in use today. This system involves vertically pumping water over 4,000 feet up to the tank at the rim.
The lodge allowed a small exhibit area created by the NPS to display historic items from the history of the Grand Canyon.
In 1932, just four years after its opening, a devastating fire destroyed the lodge.
Luckily, most of the cabins were spared, but when the Great Depression was plaguing the country, it was assumed the Lodge would not be rebuilt. The Utah Parks Company built a temporary lodge and also built more cabins.
The rebuilding of the Grand Canyon Lodge began in 1936 and was completed in 1937. Some original stone from the old Lodge was able to be salvaged for the construction.
Keeping in mind the strong winter snows, the design of the new Lodge included higher roofs, and the observation tower was not rebuilt.
The designers ensured the same rustic, natural feel of the lodge and made revisions such as using Ponderosa log siding, and exposed beams, and making the ceilings in the lobby massively higher.
The Lodge closed during World War II, but still rented out a small number of cabins to families that were traveling.
It was shortly after this time that the technology of the 20th century was changing and travelers were not riding the rails as they used to.
The automobile was the preferred mode of transportation for travel.
By 1972, the Union Pacific and then the Utah Parks Company relinquished control of the Lodge property to the National Park Service. Today, the Lodge is still considered to be in wonderful condition and affords the visitors a look back in time to the 1930s when it was built.
Additional Grand Canyon Resources
Things to do Grand Canyon - The top things to do in Grand Canyon that you don't want to miss during your trip!
Grand Canyon Restaurants - South Rim - Check out all the delicious places to enjoy a meal during your trip.
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus - Find out what you need to know to plan your trip.
Grand Canyon Winter - If you are heading to the park in the winter make sure to plan ahead.
Arizona National Park - Check out all of the amazing National Parks in Arizona you can visit. So many are close to the Grand Canyon!
Grand Canyon National Park Lodges - Check out all of the lodges you can stay in within the park including Bright Angel Lodge, Phantom Ranch, and the El Tovar.
National Park Lodges - The El Tovar is just one of the amazing National Park Lodges in the United States.
Check out all of our Grand Canyon National Park articles for additional information and great tips on planning an epic vacation to this beautiful Arizona National Park!
National Parks Near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to visit
Additional National Park Service sites near the North Rim include:
Navajo Bridge - This epic bridge over the Colorado River is part of Glen Canyon NRA.
Lake Powell Resort - The resort is also part of Glen Canyon NRA and offers the opportunity to enjoy epic views of Lake Powell.
Pipe Springs National Monument - Learn about the Mormon War and more history of this area.