For the past six years the Kaibab Lodge has partnered with SAC in the Grand Canyon North Rim Star Party. It is not at the North Rim, but is located approximately 5 miles north of the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park on the edge of a beautiful meadow. You have to drive right past it on your way to the North Rim. There is no light pollution there, the skies are steady and the full-sky views of the cosmos are superior and pristine.
The viewing site is primitive; to use electronic telescopes you need to bring your own battery power. The lodge has a capacity for approximately 130 people. DeMotte campground also can hold another 130 and is usually full, so the potential for having a significant crowd for viewing in the evenings is present, but usually the lines are quite manageable and viewing by the public is generally over by 10:30-11 PM. This leaves the rest of the night open for more advanced astronomers to work under the best of skies.
The surrounding National Forest is all open for primitive camping. The adjacent DeMotte campground is available for camping. It is also primitive (two well maintained bathrooms with toilets, no running water with a water tap outside). The campground does give us one campsite, and additional sites can be reserved online. The lodge affords us one cabin which can accommodate four single people (a set of bunk beds and two double beds in three non private rooms), or up to six if there were two couples using the double beds. There is one bathroom with a shower. The lodge supplies towels. The only phone is at the lodge desk. No usable cell phone signal. Limited and heretofore unreliable wi-fi inside the lodge.
We have given nightly astronomy talks inside the lodge for the last two years. We bring our own projector and use a sheet strung over a ceiling log beam for a screen.
Staying at the lodge affords the unique activities of hiking on the Kaibab plateau, going on guided four-wheel expeditions from the lodge, and driving to extremely unique views of the Grand Canyon from elevated positions north of the canyon. Of course there is driving down to the Grand Canyon for a visit to the lodge at the rim. Day trips to cities in southern Utah have also been enjoyable. The lodge has a full restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there is a well-stocked general store in the gas station just across the road.
So if you have a spirit of adventure and desire some of the best viewing you will ever have, consider the Kaibab Lodge. Sign up by contacting Gene Fioretti at email@example.com