Grand Canyon, South to North

#1
This is my first ever trip report. I have done many, many trips over the years and taken 10,000s of photos but never actually written a report, so here goes!

This was quite a last minute trip as some work fell though so I packed the car and headed north east to the Grand Canyon for 7 nights. A friend from work tagged along for the ride. I did this trip July 9-15 and being right after 4th of July and middle of school holidays I wanted to go back country as much as possible to get away fro the crowds.

Coming from L.A meant it was easiest to do the south rim first. So I packed the car Sunday night(after getting back late from a few days wakeboarding up at Lake Nacimiento) for an early departure Monday morning.

Click any of the photos to see them in higher res on Flickr. I like taking photos so there is lots of them!

The drive up to Tusayan, Az as uneventful and quicker than I expected. Took little detours off the 40 to do bits of the old route 66, Stopped off in Kingman, Az for a good diner lunch. The table next to me ordered the Mr D'z special burger which has 4lbs of meat in it!!! I didn't stick around to see if the poor guy finished it.



Filled up in Tusayan and headed out along FR302 to Grandview Fire Lookout tower for my first ever view of the Grand Canyon. I was met with this view,



I planned to camp at the bottom of the tower but there were already 6 other groups already setup there with a few RVs running generators so I decided to to back track towards Tusayan to found a more secluded camp. I found a nice little place off FR302 back a bit from the road and setup camp for the first night. The whole area was in a strict fire ban so unfortunately couldn't have an fire the whole trip.

After a long days driving a beer and nap in the hammock was amazing.



Storms rolled through that night which made me sleep like a baby(I love storms). Woke early and made breakfast, packed up camp and heading into Tusayan to catch the bus up to the south rim to go the backcountry office to pick up the camping permits needed for the trip and to do the rim walk from the backcountry office out to Hermits Rest. I expected south rim to be way busier than it was. I was one of three cars in the day lot for the bus and most the carparks at the rim were quite empty.

With the permits in hand headed to rim for a stroll around it. I was blown away by the view from the whole walk. Every corner you take give you a different perspective on just how massive the place is. I could never get bored of that view!







A large electrical storm came in about 1pm closing most of the rim, so I headed back into town to get my car and head out to Havasupai Point for the nights camp at Signal Hill Camp spot. The rain made the drive fun with some slippery mud bits along the way.



The view from the end of Havasupai point is just incredible.





Setup camp, watched the sunset and cooked some Carne Asada tacos for dinner with some local(ish, Flagstaff) craft beer.





The next day was a long day in the car with the move north. Headed out to Page, Az to see Horseshoe bend and Antelope canyon. The trail back out the morning was much easier as it had mostly dried which meant for a quick trip. Did Desert View drive which took as while as I kept stopping at every view point.



Got to Horseshoe bend about 2pm and it was bloody hot and extremely busy. 6 tour buses and an over flowing carpark. The landscape around the carpark was utterly heartbreaking as it was just absolutely filled with rubbish, even with the amount of bins around the carpark. The whole walk out to the viewpoint I was hoping it would be a lot cleaner. It was but not by much.... It was super packed and because of the heat lots of idiots didn't take water(even though there were signs everywhere telling you to) collapsing on the trail. I only took a few pics, got pissed off and left.



After that headed into Page, grabbed some lunch and headed out to Antelope canyon. I should have researched this bit a bit better, I thought you could just walk the canyon but you can't, you have pay a shitload to be herded around, not my thing. So we headed to camp on the north side of Marble Canyon in some BLM land. Some great views over the early stages of the Grand Canyon coming back down from Page.





Got to the BLM land as 2 large storms rolled in, one from the north and one from the southwest. These were the largest and most electrical of the whole trip. Great to watch, didn't get any good photos as the rain was just too heavy. We didn't set up camp because we were waiting pass though but they didn't, by 21:30 the lighting hadn't subsided and that BLM land is very exposed so it was decided to find one of the hotels near by to hide for the night. Out in the BLM land we met a few people that had driven all the way down from new Jersey, they were in a Lexus RX 350 and were worried about getting out in the storm. They followed me out just incase they got stuck I could tow them out. There was about 1ft deep flowing water dwon the short trail on the BLM land back to the highway, lucky we got out when we did. We stayed at the same hotel, had many beers and some Jack Daniels shared stories of our trips and then went to bed.
 
#2
After saying goodby to our new friends we headed north. The drive the next morning was quick and easy up the north rim visitors centre. The storms hadn't cleared all night and rained most the way making the scenery amazing to look at. I was surprised how different the north rim was to the south with its large meadows with elk, deer and bison grazing.

As we arrived at the visitor centre the rain cleared but the storms over the valley continued. Did a few of the hikes around there, had lunch and headed into the forest for that nights camp.







My kind of road.



View at the end



We camped at Point Sublime that night, great campground with the cleanest toilet of the whole trip!!!! Crazy as its such and out of the way place to have a toilet let alone one that clean. At camp I was extremely surprised to see a Subaru Crosstrek(with street tyre) in the campground as the trail from the visitors centre wasn't exactly that easy with all the rain. They had come from the north through Kaibab NF which was a much easier route. The next thing also blew me away the two lady's were from Georgia and the Subaru was a rental! But they made it safely and not a scratch on the car!

That night was the only clear night of the whole trip and I had been wanting to take some astro shots as there was no moon and galactic centre was in great viewing location but the storms and clouds meant every night was a no go.

With the orange glow of south rim and Tusayan.



Slept in the next morning as we weren't heading far. Our plan was to do the Rainbow rim trail hike. Headed up Kanabownits Rd, stopping off at the abandoned rangers hut and fire lookout to explore.







Did most of the Rainbow rim Trail hike before another electrical storm rolled in and cut that short. Headed back to the car and took FR250 north. FR250 is a beautiful drive through the valleys that feed into the grand canyon. Though a mix of pine forests up high to amazing aspen groves. I was aiming for the Crazy Jug Point area for camp that night as I heard there was some nice spots right on the rim. And there was!







We setup camp made some dinner and watched the storms roll through the rest of the valley.





 
#3
The next day was an early rise as we were to head north to Fredonia, Az and then back down to Tuweep for the that nights camp. The view leaving camp.



The drive north through Kaibab NF was super easy as those dirt roads are in very good condition even after all that rain Filled up with fuel and stocked up on food and beer in Fredonia/Kanab then headed back south to Tuweep.



Another storm rolled though on the trail to Tuweep making huge puddles and the creek crossings fun.

Made it out to Toroweep overlook safely, made some lunch then headed out for the hike along the rim. Because of all the rain made the Colorado go a lovely brown colour







We found our campsite under the protection of the rock, setup made some dinner and had some beers.





The next morning woke early for the long drive back to L.A. The drive was good until we hit Las Vegas and the trusty Sunday afternoon traffic leaving it, that added 2-3 hours onto the trip home but we made it. Not a single problem with the car or our gear and lots of great memories. I spent $30 at the self carwash trying to get all the mud out from undercarriage is a sign of a good trip.
 
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#6
Spectacular photos and comments. Thank you, for the report! Need to get back out there again, beautiful stuff. Grantee, that was in 65, canyon was only a few feet deep back then...lol.

Brian.
 
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#9
Superb report. To avoid crowds and to enjoy some excellent hiking, including Anasazi ruins, a future trip you might consider is the Navajo National Monument near the Four Corners area.
 
#10
Nice! That trip is on my bucket list. Your photos are insane! What kind of camera ru using?
I am using a now quite old Sony A99 with a 24mm f2.0 and a 70-200 f.28 lens.

Superb report. To avoid crowds and to enjoy some excellent hiking, including Anasazi ruins, a future trip you might consider is the Navajo National Monument near the Four Corners area.
Thanks for the tips, i've added them to the ever growing list of places I need to go haha.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
#11
Great pics and thx for sharing.

Anyone going to the north rim and then west from there should also try to stop in at Pipe Springs Natl Mon on the way to Fredonia
 

DVD

Adventurer
#12
Nice to see another green LR3 out there, and great write-up and pics! Thanks for sharing. We were out at Pt Sublime a couple years ago with some friends, and just this past weekend saw them again, and they were waxing nostalgic about what a great trip that was. Thanks for bringing back the memories!
 
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