Toroweap is on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but with more than 60 miles of dirt road to get there, it provides an uncrowded and remote experience, especially with 100º August daytime temperatures. The National Park Service describes the services available at Toroweap: “there is no water, gas, food, lodging, or phone service.” But the lack of crowds (there were none when we arrived) and the spectacular views of the Canyon made it well worth it.
We left Highway 389 west of Fredonia, AZ and drove County Road 109 across grasslands for 40 miles before entering the National Park. Recent rains had kept the grass and sage and piñons green and happy. The road was smooth, graded dirt which is negotiable with any truck or car. Of course if the road is wet, all bets are off.
After driving 20 miles within the Park, we passed the Tuweep Airstrip and Ranger Station. Soon after the ranger station, the road begins its slow degradation from smooth dirt to not-so-smooth dirt and rocks. The closer we got to the rim, the more plentiful the rock gardens. Bring your high-clearance vehicle.
Campsites at Toroweap come with a table and a nearby spotless pit toilet. There are no firepits since all fires (including charcoal) are prohibited. Steve does not make eye contact.
Our campsite #8 was fairly well hidden, but with the lack of other humans, it mattered little.
The view to the east from our campsite. At night we saw an orange flickering glow, far to the east. A couple days later we found out that we were looking at the Stina Fire on the north rim of the Canyon, some 50 miles east of us, and 23 miles southwest of Jacob Lake. The fire was caused by a lightening strike on July 26.
Our campsite view looking south toward the Canyon in late-afternoon sun. Early evening temps had cooled off to around 90º, so we decided on a tasty cold chicken salad for dinner. We also had cold watermelon which remained chilled and non-consumed in the ice chest.
Because we can.
Two river rafters approach Lava Falls in the early morning. The falls is rated a Class 10, meaning it is the highest degree of difficulty in the Grand Canyon, falling 37 feet in a few hundred feet. Rafters only pretend to be in control.
Zooming back from the rafters, the view southwest toward Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
Canyon visibility was hazy due to wildfire activity in California. This applied to Colorado and Utah visibility as well. And really, isn’t it always California’s fault?