Southwest - Grand Canyon North Rim this Summer
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05-19-11, 03:55 PM
Thinking about heading down there from Seattle this summer for vacation. GF and I are planning some bike rides and hikes.
Wondering what kind of weather and temps we can expect in August and if you think that it's too hot at that time if September would be better.
Any other advice on camping, places to eat, rides, hikes etc. greatly appreciated.
05-19-11, 04:27 PM
I used to work for the Forest sevice on the North Rim. It gets quite cold at night and not too horribly hot in the day. It is dry and it is at elevation, some of the areas around there are at nine thousand feet. I was there in 91-92 and it was a pretty remote place with few towns and little to do but camp and hike and of course ride your bike. Things may have blossomed but since it is mostly federal land I am not sure how it would. It is absolutely one of the most gorgeous places. The Forest Service in Fredonia should have some good info for you on trails and etc.
05-19-11, 10:37 PM
Years ago we tandemed from Jacobs Lake to the North Rim. 45 miles one way.
Motel/camping at Jascobs Lake (Note: there is NO lake there).
There are no stores/gas stations/7-11s/bike shops or anything like that on the way to the North Rim.
Elevation over 8,000 feet (bit higher than Seattle). Rolling hills, lots of wildlife and quiet!
We did it on Memorial Day weekend and there was still snow on the ground in the shade, but it was a nice 70 degrees and sunny.
Reservations at the Canyon are deemed necessary, although we didn't have any and it worked out fine.
August would be good; be prepared for the thinner/drier air. You'll need lotsa sunscreen and extra water.
Cabins are bit cramped and primitive and pricey. No other commercial hotel/ motel at the canyon.
Food at the Lodge is excellent but $$.
However, the hiking and views are well worth it!
05-20-11, 12:53 PM
Since you will be in that area, try to check out Zions and Bryce Canyons. They are real works of art. If you have a mountain bike along there are tons of dirt roads and trails that get back to some Narrows type Canyons. You will be surprised by what there is to see in that area.
05-23-11, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the replies. We don't have mtn bikes, just road but it sounds like there are several nice low traffic rides in northern Arizona. We've been several times to Utah including Zion a couple of years ago. The Narrows were crowded but awesome. My GF has been to the South Rim and Havasupai a few years back but neither of us have been to the north rim.
Wondering if areas around the south rim and Flagstaff would have temps in late August that are rideable. Anything mid-90's or less would be ok, just can't handle the 100+ stuff the Phoenix and other areas can get.
05-23-11, 03:50 PM
You'll probably be fine then. August midday temps around Flagstaff will vary according to the monsoon; active days will be mostly cloudy and mild in the 70s with numerous thunderstorms, while less active days will be mostly or entirely sunny and warmer. Temps above 90 can occur during a dry phase, but aren't too common. It's a great area to ride in, but be prepared for some rain or even hail.
05-25-11, 01:01 PM
Flagstaff has never had a 100 degree day recorded, so you won't have to worry about it being too hot, though the thin air will take a lot out of you (even if you are acclimated).
To echo other replies, August is right in the middle of monsoon season. If you ride in the Seattle rain then the monsoon won't be a problem for you (sometimes it really pours, but it's mostly light rain).
05-25-11, 01:27 PM
2010 I did a North Rim MTB trip during June. Weather was nice but hot during the day (80's) and chilly at night (40's). I think like all high desert areas, you have to assume for everything - hot, cold, wet and dry. It is beautiful. Last year there was still snow laying around here and there so too cold for lots of wildflowers to be out, but it was lovely. I camped but was never uncomfortable at night During the days, struggling with the altitude and heat I wilted a bit. Also it can be dry and becoming dehydrated is an issue.
We did Rainbow Rim and the Arizona Trail. Different as night and day. Want good photos? These guys did the trip right after me:
05-27-11, 09:42 AM
Thanks for all the posts. Have to do some further research and look at the logistics. Looks like a stunning place though, really like the photos in the trip report linked above.
07-01-11, 04:39 PM
just stumbling onto this thread after getting back from road biking zion and bryce canyon a week ago. wanted to do north rim grand canyon too
but simply not enough time so going 3rd week in july. the commentary here just makes me want to do it even more. looks like fueling up properly
and taking three water bottles are a must with there being zero services between the grand canyon and jacob's lake. good to know..
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