What’s open and what’s closed? South Rim operations shift as colder weather arrives and pandemic numbers increase
GRAND CANYON, Ariz — Winter at Grand Canyon is a season like no other. Dramatic weather, smaller crowds and winter wildlife are just some of the reasons to visit the park in the off-season.
The park remains open year round for visitors, but those planning to visit during the winter months should plan for unexpected changes in the weather along with some seasonal closures, and adjustments for COVID-19.
Because of lockdowns on the Navajo Nation to limit the spread of COVID-19, the east entrance to Grand Canyon National Park has been closed most of the year, and remains closed. Desert View Drive is open between Grand Canyon Village and Navajo Point, however, most Desert View visitor facilities are closed. These include Desert View Watchtower, the Tusayan Ruin and Museum, the trading post, the visitor center, the campground, the gas station and the market.
On Dec. 1, Grand Canyon National Park announced the seasonal closure of the North Rim. This includes the North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon Lodge, the North Rim Visitor Center and the General Store.
The only way to reach Grand Canyon National Park by car at this time is via Highway 180 out of Flagstaff or State Route 64 from Williams.
The park has implemented automated fee machines at the entrance stations, or visitors can purchase a pass in advance from nearby third-party vendors or online at recreation.gov.
Hermit Road shuttle is suspended, but the road is open to private vehicles December, January and February.
Rim Trails and backcountry
• The Canyon Rim Trail and the Greenway Trail system on the South Rim are open to the public. Canyon trails are open for day hiking, and overnight backcountry permits are available.
• The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is closed, however, the park is accepting backcountry campsite reservation requests by mail or fax. Visit nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm for more information.
• The Hiker’s Express shuttle bus to the South Kaibab Trailhead leaves the center at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. through the months of December, January and February. Parking at the South Rim trailhead is not permitted.
• Water at the 1.5 Mile Resthouse and 3 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail is closed for the season. Water is still available at the trailhead, Indian Garden and Plateau Point.
Shuttle bus operations
• The Hiker Express Shuttle runs daily from the Backcountry Information Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Cars can park in Lot D at the center.
• The Kaibab Rim shuttle bus provides service between the Visitor Center and the South Kaibab Trailhead from 5 a.m. until 1 hour after sunset.
• The Village Route reopened Dec. 1. Westbound stops include Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Market Plaza Westbound, Shrine of the Ages, Train Depot and Bright Angel Lodge.
Eastbound stops include Hermits Rest Route Transfer, Maswik Lodge, Backcountry Information Center, Center Road, Village East, Shrine of the Ages, Mather Campground, Trailer Village, Market Plaza Eastbound and Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
• The Tusayan Shuttle is suspended
• Shuttle capacity is limited to 15 passengers, face masks are required, social distancing in place
• Shuttle updates can be found at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm.
• Mather Campground is open year-round, but switches to first-come-first-served operations for December, January and February. Online reservations are no longer accepted beginning Dec. 1. Campers can use the automated fee kiosk at the entrance to the campground.
• The campground capacity is capped at 50 percent occupancy at this time.
• Campers should be prepared for frequent restroom cleaning.
• Delaware North’s Camper Village is open year-round at the South Rim. Reservations can be made at www.visitgrandcanyon.com/
• El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and Thunderbird Lodge are managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts and can be reserved at grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging.
• Yavapai Lodge is managed by Delaware North and can be reserved at visitgrandcanyon.com.
• Maswik Lodge is closed for remodeling and reopens April 1, 2021.
• Phantom Ranch Lodge and Campground, at the bottom of the Canyon, is accepting applications for lodging at visitgrandcanyon.com. Reservations are by lottery and extremely limited.
• El Tovar Hotel restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., reservations are required for lunch and dinner. They can be made at grandcanyonlodges.com.
• El Tovar Hotel Food Truck is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting
• Bright Angel Coffee House is open 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
• Bright Angel Fountain is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Yavapai Lodge restaurant and tavern are closed.
• Maswik Lodge restaurant is closed.
• Canyon Village Market and General Store are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The deli is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Mule Rides are suspended for the season
• Bright Angel Bicycles and the Grab & Go Cafe is closed for the season
• Chase Bank at Market Plaza is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
• Grand Canyon Post Office is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
• Grand Canyon Clinic is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are taken at (928) 638-2551.
• The South Rim Kennel is closed.
Gift shops and museums
• Hopi House is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Lookout Studio is open 9 am. To 5 p.m.
• Hermits Rest is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• The South Rim Visitor Center and Theater are closed.
• Grand Canyon Visitor Center Park Store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Park Headquarters Information Desk is closed
• The Backcountry Information Center is closed
• The Grand Canyon Conservancy Store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• The Yavapai Geology Museum is temporarily closed.
• Verkamps Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Kolb Studio is temporarily closed.
• All interpretive park ranger programs are cancelled.
Grand Canyon closures and conditions information can be found at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit.
Current weather and road conditions can be found by calling (928) 638-7496. Arizona road conditions are updated at www.az511.gov.
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