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Towns near the canyon's South Rim include the tiny town of Tusayan, 1 mile south of the entrance station, and Williams, the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon," 58 miles south.
Tusayan has lower-priced lodging than within the Park, basic amenities and an airport that serves as a starting point for airplane and helicopter tours of the canyon.
The cozy mountain town of Williams, founded in 1882 when the
railroad passed through, was once a rough-and-tumble joint, replete with saloons and bordellos. Today it reflects a much milder side of the Wild West, with 3,300 residents and more than 25 motels and hotels. Wander along the main street—part of historic Route 66, but locally named, like the town, after trapper Bill Williams—and indulge in Route 66 nostalgia inside antiques shops or souvenir and T-shirt stores.
The communities closest to the North Rim—all of them tiny and with limited services—include Fredonia, 76 miles north; Marble Canyon, 80 miles northeast; Lees Ferry, 85 miles east; and Jacob Lake, 45 miles north.
Fredonia, a small community of about 1,050, approximately an hour's drive north of the Grand Canyon, is often referred to as the gateway to the North Rim; it's also relatively close to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks in Utah. Marble Canyon marks the geographical beginning of the Grand Canyon at its northeastern tip. It's a good stopping point if you’re driving U.S. 89 to the North Rim. En route from the South Rim to the North Rim is Lees Ferry, where most of the area's river rafts start their journey. The tiny town of Jacob Lake, nestled high in pine country at an elevation of 7,925 feet, was named after Mormon explorer Jacob Hamblin, also known as the "Buckskin Missionary." It has a hotel, café, campground, and lush mountain countryside.
The North Rim stands 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim and has a more alpine climate, with twice as much annual precipitation. Here, in the...
Visitors to the canyon converge mostly on the South Rim, and mostly in summer. Grand Canyon Village is here, with most of the park's lodging...