Highway to Grand Canyon's North Rim closed for winter; caution on routes urged

Grand Canyon (National Park Service)

The highway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is barricaded for winter and authorities urge drivers heading into snow country to be cautious, particularly if GPS or navigation apps recommend taking alternative routes.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced the closure of State Route 67 between Jacob Lake and the North Rim on Wednesday. Several other highways in Arizona’s high country will close by Dec. 31 or sooner depending on the weather.

The department advised taking extra clothing, food, water and other emergency supplies if driving in snow areas and cautioned that taking suggested alternate routes that are unpaved and unplowed "can lead you into danger."

In December 2016, a Pennsylvania woman who was a marathon runner hiked 26 miles (42 kilometers) through backcountry snow to get help after she, her husband and their son got stuck driving on a snowy forest road while trying to reach the North Rim after the highway closed.

Rescuers reached the father and son after the dad was able to climb a ridge and get a cellphone signal. The woman had holed up in a cabin at a closed park entrance and was rescued the next day by rescuers on snowmobiles.

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