Backcountry Journeys is headed back to the Grand Canyon in late July for our Southwest Monsoon: Grand Canyon Country photography tour. We are extremely excited about this tour, as Grand Canyon is one of a few special locations BCJ likes to call “home.” We’ve explored and guided at Grand Canyon for years and years and as special as all of our tour locations are to us, this one is at the top! While at the North Rim on this tour, we’ll be staying at the beautiful rustic North Rim Lodge cabins, which is a treat in-and-of-itself! In advance of this great trip, let’s take a look back at an old piece about the Lodge.
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 our home for two of our six nights on Backcountry Journeys’ upcoming Southwest Monsoon: Grand Canyon Country landscape photo tour, set for July 24th to 30th, 2021.
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 among 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, exploring the fir and aspen forests, and creating images of some of the more stunning sunsets you’ll ever see.
“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 spectacle, 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.
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Olympic, Redwood, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. 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, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and 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.