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Thread: Grand Canyon Road Trip
04-14-2008, 02:53 PM #1
Grand Canyon Road Trip
A couple of buds and I are heading out on a road trip May 3rd-11th. We plan on driving 6-7 hours and camping the first night somewhere before driving the last 2-3 hours to Mather Campground in Grand Canyon Village. Getting up the next morning for a nearby hike or mountain bike ride would be a bonus.
Red Canyon Campground supposedly opens around May 15th but the snowpack is so good in places this year I'm unsure of whether it will be opening then let alone earlier. AFAIK, Navajo Lake and Panguitch Lake are both at even higher elevations and so I have my doubts about them as well.
Any ideas? Should we keep driving? White Cliffs? Block Mesas? Grand Staircase? It has been a few years since I've been in that part of the state. Anybody with spare time care to help a few noobs out with a canyoneering tutorial? BTW, there is still room for one more on this trip.seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...
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04-15-2008, 08:53 PM #2
This is a familiar trip for me. Any camping you choose to do should probably be done before Page (if you go that way) because everything between there and the GC is a reservation. House Rock Road has a few places at the less frequently used trailheads, and a few spots along the road to camp, and you can continue down House Rock Road to 89A and keep going from there the next morning after exploring a little bit of the slots in the area. If you can make it the national forest surrounding the GC on the south rim, you can camp off one of the many dirt roads outside of the GC. Or take 89A into the national forest on the north rim and find a spot off a dirt road there.
If you want to go biking, I'd say go through Vegas to the GC, spend the night in cheap rooms in Mesquite, and do some riding in Bootleg Canyon, on the way. The advantage to going this way is it's mostly freeway, but it does take a little longer.
I tend to camp primitive, so my suggestions might not work for you. There's a campground at Lee's Ferry you could try and get a spot at if you want something more established.Mike
04-16-2008, 01:34 PM #3
Found it! After going back and forth between topos on TerraServer with a little guidance from http://www.zionnational-park.com/steamboat-rock.htm (Thanks Bo and Tanya) It's close to some cool features to explore like Steamboad Rock and Buckskin Gulch too.
The old topo makes it appear as if this road goes through from 89 to 89A after 30 miles. Am I right? Would a basic Ford Explorer handle it if weather conditions were less than ideal? We were looking to approach the GC from Jacob Lake and the Navajo Bridge and leave for Moab and the White Rim Trail through Page. We'll stop at Glen Canyon Dam long enough to pray for a carefully targeted earthquake like Seldom Seen Smith used to do.
We actually made campsite reservations in the GC to avoid potential headaches after 400 miles on the road. Looking to check things out and take in the basic sights this time. Will get more adventurous if we make it down there again anytime soon.
Primitive camping is fine with me but the little online guide says Stateline Campground has only four campsites. I'm guessing nightime temperatures will likely be in the 30's though so there may well be more than one site available. If there isn't, is there plenty of other distributed camping to be found in the area?seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...
04-17-2008, 06:49 PM #4
House Rock Road is an easy 2wd dirt road (last I was on it) that does go all the way from 89 to 89A.
I've done the drive from Page through Monument Valley and up to Moab. It's pretty good....but if you want scenic, check this out...I've been wanting to try this first stretch for a while. I believe it takes you past the white hoodoos down there. Tanya has info regarding them on her website.
So from Page, head into Utah to Big Water, then on the back roads to Escalante (refer to the maps.live.com link).
From Escalante head to Torrey
Then South on Hwy95 past Lake Powell
Go to Blanding (Views of Monument Valley to the South)
Then North on Hwy 191 to Moab
There are killer views all along that route. It'll take longer than going from Page through Kayenta and Monument Valley, but the scenery is way better, and there are some canyons you can explore, and better camping options if you stick to the route I mentioned.Mike
04-24-2008, 02:41 PM #5
Re: Grand Canyon Road TripOriginally Posted by cachehiker
04-25-2008, 09:19 AM #6
We're driving down and camping in near the top of Buckskin Gulch on Saturday, spending the next morning and part of the afternoon scoping out the gulch and looking to hike The Wave. I don't believe any of us have any canyoneering experience and I only have the barest of essentials when it comes to such gear (a diaper sling, a half dozen carabiners, and 30m of half-rope). I'd consider buying a climbing harness and helmet if we had and experienced canyoneer joining us with a better rope and more gear.
Next day we'll drive by Jacob Lake and assess the conditions of Highway 67 to the North Rim as well as the likelihood of hiking the canyon rim to rim before moving on the a reserved tent site in Mather Campground on the South Rim. We'll be there four nights and mountain bike a day or two on the Tusayan or Arizona Trails, half paved half dirt bike a day along Hermit Road and the rim, and hike a day or two as well.
From there the itinerary is still more or less open and suggestions are still welcome. We're tentatively planning on the previously suggested drive from Big Water to Escalante and around to Natural Bridges NP before heading north to Moab and riding the Top of the World trail before heading back home. We may opt to bypass Natural Bridges and drive straight to Moab and then spend a night in the San Rafael Swell though too.
Plans will firm up a bit more this weekend as we organize what gear to bring and what to leave home.
Sound like fun?seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...
04-28-2008, 01:51 PM #7
Definitely sounds like fun! I don't know if you have ever been to the GC, but I was really surprised at how high up (and cold!) it was. I was there mid-May (I camped and forgot my gloves!). I guess I expected to see the red rock even at the rim.
Originally Posted by cachehiker
04-28-2008, 02:45 PM #8Originally Posted by Shan
We're planning for nightime temperatures in the low to mid 30's on the South Rim. At least one person in the group (me) will come prepared for the possibility below normal temperatures. Between a 30-35º sleeping bag, an overbag that adds another 10-15º, and some lightweight capilene, I should be good for 15º.
Originally Posted by Shan
The hike totals 22 miles with descent around 6000', about 10 miles across the bottom, and a 5000' climb to the finish. This is something that rivals the toughest hike I've ever done: 20 miles from Third Creek in Weston Canyon along the Oxford Ridge to look down on Downata Hot Springs and back. It would without a doubt be the toughest hike attempted by either of my travel companions. I figure at my typical hiking pace of 2.2-2.4 mph it will take 9-10 hours on the trail.
Maybe next year we'll give ourselves a better shot at it. We'll probably hike the Hermit Trail to Bright Angel or Bright Angel to South Kaibab in it's place.
Are we completely deluded?seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...
04-28-2008, 03:08 PM #9Originally Posted by cachehiker
Do you have a brother in the valley named Joe?
04-28-2008, 08:57 PM #10Originally Posted by cachehiker
I really liked the trip I did last February down the Hermit, along the Tonto, and out Bright Angel. We stayed at the campsite 0.5 mile East of the junction of Hermit/Tonto and it was pretty nice. There's a creek flowing through it, some small waterfalls, and a small pool. The one that's West of the junction is in a pretty cool area, but the people we spoke with that had camped there the night before said there were tons of rodents. We didn't have any where we were at. I would like to camp at Hermits Rapid as well...I love camping on the beaches along the river. I always hope the river gods don't do away with Glen Canyon Dam when I'm down there. That would suck.Mike
04-29-2008, 03:53 PM #11
We were hoping to go after the Rim to Rim hike in a single day but we were also realistic about the possibility of being able to do so before the latter half of May.
Now I'm pretty well settled on doing the South Kaibab to Bright Angel trail loop (17 miles) as a day hike. I've done tougher hikes at least once every year for the last several years with the exception of last summer.
It's funny how having a girlfriend who isn't much of a hiker does that. She broke things off after I rode back to back centuries one weekend instead of accompanying her to yet another one of those endless house parties she was so bloody fond of.
Anyway, maybe next year I can pull off the Rim to Rim hike as well as the Hermit Trail to Bright Angel as an ultralight overnighter.
And no, there's no Joe. I have no family living in the valley beyond a distant cousin named Christy attending USU. I forget what she's studying though.seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...
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