Getting around Grand Canyon’s North Rim  in your own vehicle is a breeze. With the exception of the large public parking lot shared by the lodge and visitors center, and the occasional wait at the entrance gate, you’ve left traffic congestion far behind you on the canyon’s other rim.
The flip side is that you won’t find the South Rim’s guided motor coach tours or free shuttle bus service here. But if you like back-road drives and outdoor recreation, you’ll wonder why more people don’t visit the canyon’s wilder side.
The ideal jumping-off point for exploration is Bright Angel Point , with accommodations at the lodge or the campground. Most activities and services are centered here, including food, ranger programs, and hiking trailheads. The nearest lodging and campground outside the park are 18 miles away, a manageable drive if Grand Canyon Lodge and North Rim Campground are full.
In that case, look for lodging at Kaibab Lodge (18 miles), Jacob Lake (45 miles), Fredonia (75 miles), or Kanab  (82 miles). You may find yourself commuting to Bright Angel Point, but what a commute—Highway 67 passes through meadows surrounded by forest, where deer graze morning and evening and dark skies are studded with stars at night.
Highway 67, which originates at Jacob Lake, is the only paved route to the rim. U.S. 89A intersects Highway 67 from the east (Marble Canyon area) and northwest (Fredonia and Kanab).
The nearest sizable city is St. George, Utah  (156 miles). United and Delta fly into the St. George airport from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Many North Rim visitors begin their trip to the North Rim from Las Vegas (275 miles), where it’s easy to sign up for a tour or rent a car. There is no public transportation to the North Rim other than the Trans Canyon Shuttle, which travels the 212 miles from the South Rim daily during summer months.
The hiker shuttle to the North Kaibab Trail  (1.5 miles away) is available twice daily in the morning (5:45 and 7:10 a.m.), with reservations required 24 hours in advance. The cost is $7 pp, payable at the lodge’s front desk.
The Trans Canyon Shuttle (928/638-2820, www.trans-canyonshuttle.com ) offers daily round-trip van service between the North Rim  and South Rim  ($80 one way, $150 round-trip). The shuttle leaves the North Rim at 7 a.m., arriving at the South Rim at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required.
Kaibab Lodge (928/638-2389), located outside the park, 18 miles north of the rim, plans to offer shuttle services to Bright Angel Point.
It’s smart to keep your gas tank full if you plan on back-road explorations. You can fuel up at the Chevron station (7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily mid-May-mid-Oct.) along the entrance road to the North Rim Campground. Pumps are accessible 24 hours a day with a credit card. Minor car repairs are also available here.
The nearest fuel available outside the park is at the North Rim Country Store (928/638-2383), across the highway from Kaibab Lodge, about seven miles from the park entrance station. Basic mechanic services and propane can also be found at the service station next to Jacob Lake Inn.