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PHOTO GALLERY INDEX > Toroweap or Bust!

Grand Canyon National Park Toroweap Point, AZ   10/28-29/08 (Day 746-747)
Toroweap or Bust!
 

If the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is the South Rim’s less famous sibling, then the Toroweap area (also called the Tuweep area) of the park is the long lost cousin. Whereas the South Rim can get over 15,000 visitors on a busy day, Toroweap rarely sees more than a dozen. In 2004 3,314,226 people visited the South Rim, 306,926 people visited the North Rim, and only 8,066 visited Toroweap!

We didn’t know much about the area at all until Dave from the park's North Rim backcountry office started raving about how amazing it was and how he looks forward to spending half his year in Toroweap despite the isolation and the bad road. Isolation? Bad road? Sign us up!

Leaving the Airstream happily nestled in its desert home in the Paria Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, we head out to Toroweap for a day trip. As we turn off the pavement and onto the Sunshine Route to Toroweap Point we’re surprised at how good the dirt road is. Heck, for the first 50+ miles it’s more than good enough for the Airstream!

Toroweap area of Grand Canyon National Park
The first 50 miles of dirt road up to the entrance of the Toroweap area of Grand Canyon National Park are in decent shape and the Airstream could probably have made it....

However, as we reach the ranger station and the official sign for the Grand Canyon National Park Toroweap area the road takes a pronounced turn for the worse with deep ruts, sand pits and huge rocks that toss us from side to side and up and down and forward and backward no matter how slow we go.

The final six miles are so uniformly bad that it seems like someone’s come in with heavy equipment and intentionally made the road worse.

See our video of the road to Toroweap here.

Toroweap area of Grand Canyon National Park
... but things take a drastic turn for the worse over the last
few miles to Toroweap Point and the canyon rim.

After many hours of driving (nearly a full hour just to get through the last six brutal miles), we finally reach Toroweap Point, a spectacular spot 3,000 feet above the Colorado River right on the rim of the Grand Canyon with views of light-and-color-bathed canyon walls, Lava Falls rapids and that iconic river snaking lazily along 3,000 feet below. 

Colorado River from Toroweap Point
The Grand Canyon and the Colorado River from Toroweap Point. The canyon here is narrow and drops nearly 3,000 feet straight down to the river which is about 90 miles downstream from the canyon most Grand Canyon National Park visitors see.

With the sun setting and neither of us looking forward to facing that agonizing stretch of road again so soon we decide to camp for the night in the exquisite primitive campground just in from the rim where 10 sites with tables and fire rings are set along a flat shelf. We settle into site #5 tucked into a gentle bend in the landscape (this is exactly why we always carry full camping gear and plenty of water with us in the truck) and once darkness falls the sky puts on a spectacular star show.

Sunset over the Grand Canyon from Toroweap Point
Sunset over the Grand Canyon from Toroweap Point.

The night is so warm that we don’t even put the fly on our tent, which allows us to stargaze until we can't keep our eyes open anymore. Did we mention that the campground has the cleanest backcountry bathrooms we’ve ever seen? Still, it’ll be good to get back into our Safari SE...

See our video of the Grand Canyon from Toroweap point here.

The Colorado River almost 3,000 feet straight below the rim at Toroweap Point
The Colorado River almost 3,000 feet straight below the rim at Toroweap Point.

 

Airstream

** This isn't a normal photo gallery with a slideshow because this post originally appeared on our Airstream blog. **

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