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Main Street Picnic Guide: Arizona
Kaibab National Forest

At 1.6 million acres the Kaibab National Forest borders both the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, in north-central Arizona. 


It is divided into three major sections: the North Kaibab Ranger District and the South Kaibab and are managed by USDA Forest Service. 

Table of Contents

The South Kaibab is further divided into two forests, the Tusayan Ranger District and the Williams Ranger District. The Grand Canyon is a natural boundary between the North Kaibab and the South Kaibab. The South Kaibab covers 1,422 square miles and the North Kaibab stretches over 1,010 square miles. Elevations vary on the forest from 5,500 feet in the southwest corner to 10,418 feet at the summit of Kendrick Peak on the Williams Ranger District.

North Kaibab

The Kaibab Plateau is an island surrounded by lower elevations. The plateau, with elevation up to 9,000 feet is bordered on the south by the Grand Canyon, on the east and the west by tributary canyons of the Colorado River, and on the North by tiers of uplifted cliffs.

North Kaibab History

The North Kaibab Ranger District was part of the lands withdrawn from the public domain in 1893 and included in the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve. President Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve in 1906. 

The game preserve which includes 612,736 acres of the Kaibab National Forest, is "set a side for the protection of game animals and birds," and is "to be recognized as a breeding place therefore." 

in 1908, the Forest Reserve north of the Grand Canyon, including the game preserve, was renamed Kaibab Nation Forest. 

In 1919, the Grand Canyon National Park was created from the forest service lands surrounding the Grand Canyon.

In 1934, the Tusayan National Forest south of the Grand Canyon was consolidated into the Kaibab National Forest, forming the present forest boundaries. The forest area north of the canyon became the North Kaibab Ranger District. The headquarters for the Kaibab National Forest is in Williams, Arizona.

South Kaibab

The South Kaibab includes the Tusayan Ranger District and the Williams Ranger District.


Vegetation in the forest varies by elevation and exposure. Principal tree species are ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, aspen, blue spruce, oak, pinyon pine, and juniper. Among other things, they enhance the beauty of the landscape, hold soil in place, and provide cover and food for wildlife. As elevation decreases, trees give way to bitter brush, Gambel oak, sagebrush, and cliffrose. Within the forest, there are irregular areas entirely free of tree growth.


Commonly seen large wild animals iclude mule deer, elk, antelope, turkey and coyote. Mountain lion, bobcat, and black bear are seen less frequently.

Common small animals in Kaibab National Forest include chipmunks, ground squirrels and Abert's squirrels. Less common are porcupines, small lizards, and rattlesnakes. Most common birds are bluebirds, robins, Steller's jays, nuthatches, flickers and other woodpeckers, crows, various hummingbirds, ravens, and a variety of hawks. Bats also occupy the park.

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