North Rim Grand Canyon

~Here’s How You Do It

***We embarked on an encore trip to this exact FREE location Sept. 2015 and I’ve included the new info and photos at the bottom. This locale is an amazing find for those that wish to get off grid and avoid crowds.

This particular article gives us here at On A Dime a huge thrill because it is as on a dime as you can get. We spent nothing on camping and we did not end up paying the $25 Grand Canyon Park fee as this north rim area is not officially in the Grand Canyon Park but rather it is located in the Kaibab Forest (turn off is 4 miles from the entrance to the North Rim park). Now before we go any farther, it should be noted that On A Dime fully endorses paying park fees. The National Park system is an amazing gift and supporting the wonderful employees that keep it running is flat-out in everyone’s best interest, however, we also have a huge desire to get people out into nature that often are on very tight budgets. An interesting statistic is that 90% of the five million visitors to the Grand Canyon yearly, see only the south rim of the park from their car or free shuttle buses so if you opt for the the north rim and get out of your car, you are now in an elite group. Rock on!

For those that relish both a serene experience and outrageous view as well as require a getaway that is easy on the pocketbook, here you go.  And yes, there are hiking trails with mileage counts posted at the camping area, one leading to Fence (another lookout area).

You will begin at the Jacob Lake area and make sure you have a full tank of gas here as there will be no other chances to fill up. A store is located at the area you will turn off to camp but we came already prepared with ice, food etc.

Initial road in
This is Forest Road #22 at the start of the trip

**CHECK WEATHER as storms are the norm at certain times of the year for the canyon and the first trip here we ended up in the car, sleeping through a serious lightning storm. Please note that your are supposed to stay within 30 feet of accessible dirt roads so that in the event of a fire, your car is more possible to reach. We were told by a forest service employee that RVs have been lost to fire because the owners parked too far off the main road and the fire department could not find/get to them.

North Rim Free Camping **This location is prior to entering the Grand Canyon Park so there are no park fees. This is completely free.

Trailhead Locust

**There are stone fire rings (you are required to have a shovel and bucket for fire safety) and you may park within 30 feet of the dirt road. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE AND CHECK RESTRICTIONS AND PACK OUT YOUR TRASH!

Enjoy your campfire but be safe

This area is pristine and an amazing gift and it’s up to all of us to keep it that way. Even pack out what you consider “biodegradable” as anything introduced to the area that is not indigenous (meaning burying toilet paper and apple cores is a no-go) can be a big problem and finally, HAVE FUN and check out the wildflowers.

Freebie fun on Hway #67 near the North Rim. Jacob Lake Lookout Tower (80 feet) and yes you can climb it for free.

Tower climb
For kids (and some adults), the climb is half the fun
View from the tower at Jacob Lake, off H.way #67


My guy and I headed to this locale after visiting Zion and found it to be not only nirvana but also completely deserted. We had the entire place to ourselves!

Pano feet

Our campsite this time around was perched on the rim with a million dollar view so whether we were eating breakfast and sipping coffee or grilling steak, mushrooms, and potatoes while enjoying a glass of whiskey, this landscape was the star of the show.

We pitched our tent and sat back and enjoyed the production!

Morning tent

The hiking in the Kaibab forest is lovely however it’s good to know that there are no real views of the canyon between points so one should head out for gorgeous backcountry scenery and not with the vision of postcard canyon views. The views from the camping are stunning but the trails veer away from the rim.

These hike photos should give a good idea of what to expect and go ahead and embrace a little bit of silliness. 😉

Scott double

Post hike we found that observing the changes in the sky was all the entertainment we needed.

Sky view

Our days here were spent hiking, sky/star gazing, grilling, laughing, talking, reading, and just being. The only regret, it always feels too short. On the drive out the Aspen trees were in full glory and this was such a beautiful farewell that we filed it away with that ache that inspires yet another encore. We’ll be back.

Driving out Aspens Dirt road

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