The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is often overlooked by visitors; in fact only about 10% of folks that flock to the more popular South Rim actually venture up north. The result is a more relaxed and less crowded national park experience for everyone. Additionally, Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim (www.grandcanyonforever.com) continues to make access improvements to their facilities, which makes this property an excellent choice for wheelchair-users and slow walkers who want to overnight in a rustic log cabin surrounded by a mature pine forest.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim features a main lodge building surrounded by cabins that are dotted throughout the parcel. There’s accessible parking near the main lodge building with level access to the front door, and a barrier-free pathway over to the registration desk. It should be noted that visitors with an accessible parking placard can drive beyond the “no vehicles beyond this point” sign, and park in the accessible parking spots near the front door of the lodge. Porter service for luggage delivery, and guest transportation to and from the cabins (in golf carts), are also available.
There’s good wheelchair access to all areas of the main lodge, but some facilities — like the gift shop and saloon — are accessed from a ramp in the back. Just follow the signs. Accessible restrooms are located next to the Deli in the Pines, with level access along the pathway from the front lobby. Additionally, there’s lift access up to the auditorium in the front lobby, where evening ranger programs are presented.
One of the best features of this property is its location. Since it’s perched on the canyon rim, it offers an excellent view. There’s lift access from the front lobby to the Sun Room, which affords visitors a panoramic, yet sheltered, view of the canyon. From there, a level path leads out to the east terrace, which is the perfect place to enjoy a Grand Canyon sunset.
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim offers eight accessible cabins, which are equipped with either a roll-on shower or a tub/shower combination. The Western cabins are the most spacious, and they are also the only cabins with a front porch. Two of the accessible Western Cabins have roll-in showers, while the other two have have accessible tub/shower combinations. The accessible Pioneer Cabins, which were upgraded in 2009, are each equipped with a roll-in shower. The property also offers two accessible Frontier Cabins, including newly remodeled cabin 29.
Previously this cabin was classified as “semi accessible”, and it would only work for some slow walkers and part-time wheelchair-users. It lacked wide doorways and it had a low-step (five inch) shower with a corner shower seat. There was a toilet grab bar attached to the back wall, and an additional set attached to the seat itself.
But all that has changed, as the cabin was recently gutted and has been transformed to a fully accessible model. Access features in the new incarnation include wide doorways, lever handles and good pathway access. There’s ramp access to the cabin which is furnished with a 23-inch high double bed, a 27-inch high twin bed, a desk with a chair, and a refrigerator. It’s a very large cabin, with even enough space for a roll away bed.
The spacious bathroom is equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower bench. The toilet grab bars are located on the left and back walls (as seated), and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink. Other access features include a lowered robe hook and lowered towel bars.
All in all it’s a beautiful renovation. Additionally, new accessible cement walkways have been added near the cabins to allow wheelchair-users easier access. Forever Resorts did a great job with these access upgrades, which help make this property even more accessible to wheelchair-users and slow walkers. So check it out on your next Grand Canyon visit.