Completed in 1928 by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the original North Rim Lodge burned to the ground just four short years later as a fire quickly destroyed the majority of the building.
The lodge standing today, finished in 1937, was built in the wreckage and designed to mimic most of Underwood’s original. The stonework utilized the neighboring natural Kaibab limestone and Ponderosa pine logs so as to blend in with the rock outcroppings at the rim of the canyon where the majestic lodge sits near Bright Angel Point.
This historic lodge will serve as home for two of our six nights on Backcountry Journeys brand-new Southwest Monsoon: Grand Canyon Country landscape photo tour, set for July 20-26, 2019.
The Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge stands tall on the edge of the grandest canyon of the world, at the very end of the long Arizona Highway 67 that brings visitors to the north side of Grand Canyon National Park. It has been in operation since it reopened in 1936 where it has offered up luxury accommodations at an otherwise wild Grand Canyon. As visitors approach the lodge from the parking lot, by Underwood’s design, there is no canyon view so the lodge is the most prominent feature. For years and years during the early days, employees of the Lodge would greet new arrivals with a song as they made their way through the entrance towards their initial canyon viewing. They’d later entertain with a talent show after serving dinner.
It was Underwood’s desire to create a surprise view, and that is exactly what awaits. The idea was that visitors would enter the lodge through the front doors, walk across the lobby to a short staircase that descends to the “Sun Room,” where floor to ceiling windows frame an expansive view of the Grand Canyon.
The lodge itself does not house guest rooms, accommodations are rustic cabins spread amongst the forest of Ponderosa and Aspen. They sit just a short walk to the lodge itself, and to the edge of the Canyon. We’ll spend two nights at the North Rim Where we’ll be able to return to our private cabins at the end of long long days shooting glorious scenes at sunrise, chasing afternoon lightning storms, and creating images of some of the more stunning and surreal sunsets you’ll ever see. We’ll be feasting each evening inside the historic and impeccably designed dining room, peering out of the wall-to-ceiling windows at the Canyon’s majesty. An inviting patio out back offers a perfect location to pass any downtime leisurely watching shadows dance across the temples and buttes below.
“The earth suddenly sinks at our feet to illimitable depths. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, the awful scene is before us.”
-Clarence Dutton, A Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon District
Written in the late 1800s, Dutton’s description of the Grand Canyon is both accurate and amusing. The views of this natural spectacal, in fact, are the reason folks are visiting here in the first place.
The Lodge officially earned designation as a National Historic Landmark in May of 1987. As of the writing of this piece one spot remains on our July 2019 tour. Click here before it’s too late!
Kenton Krueger grew up and spent the first 33 years of his life in the corn country of Omaha, Nebraska. After studying aviation at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Aviation Institute, he “conned” his way into the newsroom at the award-winning Omaha World-Herald where for 3+ years he wrote and photographed news articles on a variety of topics such as community events, travel and even mixed martial arts for the sports department. Yet something was missing. While on backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Grand Canyon National Parks in the mid-2000’s he was quick to realize that the wild lands of the western United States stoked a fire in his heart as nothing else could. This realization led to a relocation to Flagstaff, Arizona, and he hasn’t looked back. He has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, a former pilot, newspaper photographer, and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.