Grand Canyon National Park: Tips for Memorial Day weekend visitors

North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park, May 22, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park over Memorial Day weekend can expect long lines, crowds and full parking lots. Last year, Grand Canyon’s visitation hit an all-time high, and the park is already seeing an increase over last year’s numbers. The park anticipates a busier-than-normal holiday weekend.

To avoid the longest lines and busiest times, park staff encourages visitors to arrive before 9 a.m. Visitors can expect to wait an hour or more at the entrance stations during the busiest times of day, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park, May 22, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News
North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park, May 22, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

North Rim

On the North Rim, staff invites the public to the new Centennial Science Speaker Series. In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, North Rim staff will host scientists, researchers, authors and more to share their research and stories with visitors.

Geologist and author Wayne Ranney will give the series’ first presentations Sunday at 3 p.m. on the veranda of Grand Canyon Lodge, at 8:30 p.m. in the lodge auditorium and again Monday at 10 a.m. on the visitor center porch.

The North Rim Campground is also full for the holiday weekend. DeMotte Campground on the Kaibab National Forest, 7 miles north of the North Rim entrance, has some first-come, first-served sites available.

South Rim

Once in the park on the South Rim, visitors should park their cars and take advantage of the free shuttle buses. Parking for the day in the gateway community of Tusayan is also encouraged, especially for RVs and vehicles pulling trailers. From Tusayan, visitors can ride the shuttle into the park and connect with the rest of the shuttle system at Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

South Rim visitors can also purchase park entrance passes in Tusayan at the Best Western Squire Inn, Canyon Plaza Resort,

North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park, May 22, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News
North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park, May 22, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park, St. George News

Red Feather Lodge, Grand Canyon Trading Post, National Geographic Visitor Center – IMAX – and R.P.’s Stage Shop. Those with passes may then use the prepaid lanes for quicker entrance.

Mather Campground on the South Rim is sold out through Memorial Day weekend. Nearby, the Kaibab National Forest’s Ten-X Campground and Camper Village in Tusayan may have campsites available. Desert View Campground has first-come, first-served sites, which are expected to fill early.

On the South Rim, on June 2 at 11 a.m. at McKee Amphitheater, the United States Postal Service will have a first day of issue ceremony for the new Grand Canyon Forever stamp. The stamp will be for sale following the ceremony.

At the Desert View Watchtower, the Cultural Demonstration series will host Beverly Blacksheep, Gwen Setalla and Gayland Spencer. They will demonstrate painting and pottery making Friday through Sunday.

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