Park facilities and services are closed mid-October-mid-May, when the only way into the park is on foot, skis, or snowshoes. But for experienced and prepared winter campers, an off-season visit to the North Rim can be peaceful and rewarding.
Winter conditions on the Kaibab Plateau vary. Deep snowpack, extreme cold, and blizzard conditions are possible. Some years, snows may arrive late, but travelers should be prepared and stay aware of changing conditions. The meadows and forests north of the park’s boundaries often get heavier snowfalls than along the rim, where updrafts from the canyon create warmer microclimates.
Though the park’s entrance road is closed after Thanksgiving, winter at-large camping is allowed from the park’s northern boundary to the North Kaibab trailhead (though not at the trailhead itself). Between the North Kaibab trailhead  and Bright Angel Point , camping is permitted only at the North Rim Campground’s group site.
After Thanksgiving, reservations can be made for the winter yurt, located about 200 feet from the North Kaibab trailhead in an administrative area of the park. The yurt accommodates up to six people, with a table, chairs, wood-burning stove, and nearby portable toilet. Groups reserving the yurt are limited to four nights. During winter, all overnights at the North Rim require a backcountry permit .
Water is turned off seasonally at the North Kaibab trailhead and below the rim at Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs day use area, and Cottonwood Campground. Water is available at the North Rim’s Backcountry Information Center (near the campground) during winter months. However, bring extra water in case of a pipeline break.
Jacob Lake Inn (928/643-7232) stays open year-round, becoming a hub for winter activities. Kaibab National Forest roads and meadows offer snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Forest roads east of Highway 67 and south of U.S. 89A are closed to vehicular use, making this area ideal for cross-country skiers and snowshoers in search of silence and solitude.
During the winter months, Highway 67 is gated at the entrance to the park. North of the park entrance, the highway often closes due to snow, with little or no advance warning. Check with the Arizona Department of Transportation (dial 511 or 888/411-7623, www.az511.gov ) for road conditions. If the highway is closed, it’s a snowy 50-mile trek to the rim.