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North Rim campsite under new ownership, reservations now online

The Kaibab Camper Village has full RV hookups in addition to tent sites. (Photo/WGCN)

The Kaibab Camper Village has full RV hookups in addition to tent sites. (Photo/WGCN)

JACOB LAKE, Ariz. — Finding a campsite with full hookups near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will soon get a little easier.

Chris and Ellen Winchester, purchased Kaibab Camper Village in January and are now planning to put the campground’s 98 RV and tent sites and two rental cabins online at www.KaibabCamperVillage.com.

“All of our campsites and cabins should be available online in early March,” Ellen said, adding that Kaibab Camper Village will be open from May 14 to Oct. 14, coinciding with the May 15 to Oct. 15 period when the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is open to the public.

Located at nearly 8,000 feet, Kaibab Camper Village is the only privately owned and operated campground near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It features tent and RV sites with 30 amp electrical connections as well as water and sewer service, coin operated laundry and shower facilities and a camp store. The campground also includes a pond called Jacob Lake.

Prior to purchasing Kaibab Camper Village, the Winchesters worked as concessionaires and managed two primitive Forest Service campgrounds for five years, Jacob Lake Campground and DeMotte Campground, located on the Kaibab Plateau.

They have also owned and operated the historic Kaibab Lodge since 2004, when they decided to leave their previous jobs in Flagstaff for an opportunity to own and operate the historic lodge.

Chris Winchester was previously director of information technology for Flagstaff Medical Center. But when he learned that the historic Kaibab Lodge was for sale, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Winchester had stayed at the Kaibab Lodge during his college years, when he worked with a Forest Service helitack firefighting crew.

“He fell in love with the place,” Ellen said. “So when he saw that it was for sale, he said, ‘We have to go look at this.’”

Ellen, who ran a successful bounce house rental business in Flagstaff, fell in love with the lodge, too.

Built in the late 1920s, the lodge includes a restaurant with a stone fireplace with 31 rooms in separate buildings and cabins, all of which were built on 27 acres of ponderosa pines

The lodge building includes a 63-seat restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner during the summer season.

“We do a chicken cooked in beer that is out of this world,” she said. “We also do lots of specials. Our homemade lasagna night is very popular. We also serve ‘Ellen’s homemade key lime cheesecake.’ We describe it as rich and creamy, light and fluffy, sweet and tart at the same time.”

The menu also includes lots of gluten free menu options, including gluten free homemade pies.

Ellen said visiting the remote Kaibab Plateau and the North Rim is very different from the South Rim.

“We describe the North Rim as getting to see the canyon as it was 50 years ago. It’s a really different experience. There’s 4 to 5 million visitors to the North and South Rim combined, but only 15 percent of them go to the North Rim,” she said.

But while the North Rim is remote, it is a popular place for hikers, many of whom seek campsites during the first couple of weeks of June and the last two weeks of September into early October.

“We encourage people to make reservations as soon as possible,” Ellen said.

More information about the Kaibab Lodge and Kaibab Camper Village is available at www.KaibabLodge.com and www.KaibabCamperVillage.com.

Kaibab Camper Village is affiliated with the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which hosts a travel planning website at www.GoCampingInArizona.com.

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