UTV Adventure to the Grand Canyon

| September 5, 2009 | 2 Comments
Toroweap, Grand Canyon National Park

Toroweap, Grand Canyon National Park

By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net

I met Rick “Wally” Wallace from Side x Side Outfitterz at the first UTV Rally in Moab, and since then we have been on incredible UTV adventures through the Mojave Desert and on the Rubicon Trail.  Wally thinks big when it comes to trips in his UTV. He is compelled to take UTVs to remote destinations and use them to their fullest potential. So when Wally approached me about a 120 mile trip to a remote spot on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I knew this was one of those trips I shouldn’t miss.

There are a few “easy” routes to Toroweap:

  • The most popular one begins at AZ 389, nine miles west of Fredonia; turn south 40 miles on County 109, then continue straight 7 miles on County 5, and then straight 14 miles on County 115.
  • From Colorado City take County 5 for 44 miles, then continue straight 14 miles on County 115).
  • From St. George – on a 90-mile dirt road (BLM Road 1069 and Country 5 for 76 miles, then right 14 miles on County 115).

These more popular routes are easier, and aren’t as scenic as the routes we took in and out. But then again, we were in UTVs that are built for off-road use, and straight graded roads just aren’t that much fun!

Day One: Mesquite, NV to Toroweap, AZ

Mt Trumball School

Mt Trumball School

Mount Trumbull School

Inhabitants began arriving in this remote area of northern Arizona (aka the Arizona Strip) around 1917 with dreams of starting their own ranch.  The settlers named Mount Trumbull after a nearby mountain.  Each homesteader received 640 acres of land for raising livestock. Residents grew crops, but the dry climate and lack of well water made farming very difficult. Mount Trumbull and the surrounding area grew to a peak population of 200-250 in the 1930’s.

Townspeople completed the Mount Trumbull School in 1922 and served for 80 years as a landmark and gathering place for the pioneer families and their descendants who farmed and ranched on the high plateau.

The schoolhouse was burnt down long ago, but a replica of the building now stands in its place.

The schoolhouse is located at the junction on road 5, road 1018, and road 1045,  approximately 60 miles from St. George.

GPS Coordinates:   36°24’42.58″N, 113°19’32.81″W (Google Maps)

Toroweap Campground and Overlook

Grand Canyon - Toroweap Overlook

Grand Canyon - Toroweap Overlook

The National Park Service manages the area for its primitive values, so improvements and services are minimal. Fire rings, picnic tables and composting pit toilets are provided, but no electricity or water is available.

Ten primitive sites for 1-6 people are available on a first-come first-served basis. One group site for 7-11 people is available via reservation only.

Toroweap Campground GPS Coordinates:  36°13’30.62″N, 113° 3’37.65″W (Google Maps)

The Toroweap Overlook sits 3,000 vertical feet above the Colorado River, and offers an incredible view of the Grand Canyon and the river below.  If you are scared of heights, beware! You won’t find any railings or blockades to keep you from falling. It is less than one mile across the canyon to the Hualapai Indian Reservation on the South Rim, making this one of the narrowest and deepest segments of the inner canyon.

Toroweap Overlook GPS Coordinates:   36°12’53.00″N, 113° 3’25.00″W (Google Maps)

Tuweep sits at an elevation of 4600 feet.

Your UTV will need to be street legal to enter the Toroweap area of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Day Two: Toroweap Campground to Bar 10 Ranch, Whitmore Canyon Overlook and back

Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 Ranch

Bar 10 Ranch is a full service ranch located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, in the heart of Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. There is plenty to see and do at the Bar 10 Ranch. Guests are treated to country-style buffet meals, and evening entertainment that “brings the West alive.” A variety of ranch activities and horseback riding is available, and tours may include guided UTV and ATV rides. The Bar 10 is still a working cattle ranch, so visitors can get a taste of that life as well, with demonstrations of real ranching operations such as branding and roping.

There are plenty of beautiful trails that are accessible from the Bar 10 Ranch, and fuel is available for your UTVs.  Be sure to call ahead to reserve what you need.

Bar 10 Ranch GPS Coordinates: 36°16’44.80″N, 113°13’57.32″W (Google Maps)

Whitmore Canyon Overlook

Whitmore Canyon Overlook

Whitmore Canyon Overlook

GPS Coordinates: 36° 8′ 59.28″ N, 113° 12′ 18.48″W (Google Maps)

The trail to the river from the overlook is about a mile and goes from 2,500 feet at the overlook to 1,500 feet at the river. Much less of a hike than the hike from Toroweap down to the Colorado River.

About the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

“A million of the United States most remote acres without a single paved road.”

Grand Canyon Parashant’s natural splendor provides a sense of solitude to those who venture into its isolated domain. Located on the edge of one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Grand Canyon, the Monument’s expansive landscape encompasses a chronicle of natural and cultural history.

This Monument is co-managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

The Monument is located on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. It borders Grand Canyon National Park to the south, Nevada to the west, and is bounded by the Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip region on the east and north. There are no paved roads within the Monument. You can access the Monument, via dirt roads, from Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Before venturing into the Monument, be sure you are well prepared to deal with the rough roads and isolated conditions.

There is a great diversity of habitat types in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, from the 2000 ft elevation hot Mohave Desert creosote bush and Joshua trees, to the Great Basin pinyon-juniper and sagebrush, to the Colorado Plateau grasslands, shrubby red rock desert, and ponderosa pine, gambel oak, and aspen communities on the 8000 ft peaks.

Interactive map of the Parashant National Monument

Roads in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument are pretty well marked, but there are plenty of roads that are not shown on the NPS/BLM map.  Be sure to get a good map of the area if you plan to do much exploring.

Travel Warning:

Be aware that the Arizona Strip is a remote and undeveloped region. The zones along these routes have no services available. Make sure you have adequate fuel and lots of water before beginning your trip.

Segments of the roads described here are winding, rough and rocky. Motorhomes and travel trailers are not recommended. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Four-wheel drive may sometimes be necessary. Motorized vehicles must remain on existing roads and trails. The roads are unpaved and in wet weather can become muddy and dangerous. We advise visitors to prepare for bad weather as the Strip is not patrolled on a regular basis.

If your vehicle breaks down along some of these routes, you may be on your own for some time. Before starting out, tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.

Road numbers have been posted at intersections and correspond to the BLM Arizona Strip Visitor’s Map, for sale at the office in St. George.

Public lands throughout the area are open for camping. There is a fourteen-day maximum stay limit. BLM does not require fees or permits for backcountry camping and the State of Arizona requests that you do not camp within one-fourth mile of any watering device or reservoir.

Bureau of Land Management – Arizona Strip Field Office
345 E. Riverside Dr.
St. George UT 84790
435-688-3200

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Category: Trail Rides

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Comments (2)

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  1. Terry Gluckman says:

    Looks like a hell of a trip. Thanks for sharing.

    Wally is a great guide!!

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