Spring at Toroweap

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,099
4/12/15

It had been a while since I had been out to Toroweap Overlook on the Grand Canyon. I've always thought it was one of the coolest views around and with my newfound obsession about the big ditch I wanted to see it again. So I mentioned it to my dad and convinced my brother to quote "sit in the car over a bumpy road for a few hours to walk along the rim for half an hour and spend as much time coming back."

On the drive over Mt Trumbull (yeah we took the non typical road) we ran into this sweet gopher snake sunning in the road. Easily three feet long and he wouldn't budge.
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It is always nice to get close to the rim and see the plateaus rising over the Esplanade Sandstone. It is a little less nice to enter GCNP and have the road turn to -----, but what can you do? It would be rough to brave the nasty roads to then discover the road gets nastier to a point your car can't handle. I like having a car that can be adventurous :)
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Nearing the rim we parked in a wide spot in the road to not face the final rocky drop and started to walk. We had a spectator for a few feet.
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We also lucked out and hit the area when plants were in bloom. The cacti were especially gorgeous.
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And I'm calling these Sego Lilies.
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Toroweap is great for its intimate and "close" views straight down to the Colorado. According to the brochure the nice volunteer gave us, 3000ft straight down. My dad likes to say that gravity has weight near the rim. It is certainly one of those spots were my acrophobia tickles at me.
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"Little" man by a big ditch
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There were some nice plants that looked great with the canyon backdrop.
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Even yucca were blooming
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On the other side of the rim the vista is westward and extremely epic. Lava Falls, 3000' down and maybe a mile a way sounds pretty darn loud. I can only imagine what the beast sounds like up close.
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I had another gawker come and enjoy the view with us.
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Thirty minutes on the rim done (more like two hours.) We headed back to the car stopping to admire the nice outhouse and the plant life nearby.
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Driving out was interesting. The nastiest spots on the road sure look worse and rode bumpier. Then driving the primary road northward we were amazed at the washboarding. Then fifteen miles away from the highway, Colorado City within site, my car started freaking out at me, beeps and flashes. Low tire pressure. I stepped out of the car and first thought it was on my side, then my dad said it was on his. I had somehow had my sidewall puncture on the rear passenger tire and it was so loud I had thought it was the other tire at a normal flattening. Many sighs, a few expletives as I learned how bad the jack that came with my car was, and soon we were scooting along on my spare. Out of the 8-9 times that my family has gone out to Toroweap we have a 50% success/fail rate on returning home without a flat. It's a good thing I really like it out there or I'd take that as a curse. :cautious:

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Joined
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Very nice report and photos. Lovely place, and the one time I was there we had it all to ourselves (except for a volunteer ranger who came up on a dirt bike and visited with us for a few minutes). Bummer about the tire. We had a rented Equinox, which the rental place considers to be a "high clearance SUV." It had enough clearance and the tires survived, but after this drive and a drive down to the Racetrack in Death Valley the next day, it rode like a water bed.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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2,513
haha ....... the Toroweap road has the reputation for flat tires .................................
 

ogdendude

Member
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Apr 19, 2013
Messages
86
Does that campground ever fill up? I know it is first come first serve, so what is the risk of getting out there and finding no place to camp?
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,099
Does that campground ever fill up? I know it is first come first serve, so what is the risk of getting out there and finding no place to camp?

@ogdendude : The Tuweap campground is actually not first come first served in the traditional sense. A Grand Canyon backcountry permit, exactly like those needed if spending a night backpacking in the canyon, is needed to camp at Toroweap. I'm not sure if they are reservable 4 months in advance like the other permits or if they are on a first come basis up to a week in advance. Permits can be acquired at the St George Interagency Office, Pipe Springs NM or the main BC desks on both rims. You have to get your permit at one of those centers to camp out there, so as long as you do that you won't end up at the overlook S.O.L. If you don't do that though.... you are.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,099
LOL We've always gone out there with "rugged road" tires. Certainly not the beefiest tires I've ever seen but tires built to handle more than asphalt. I think because a lot of the road material involved includes hard sharp rocks, basalt and limestone, that road is particularly tire unfriendly.

I was amazed with where this flat happened. It was some of the best road of the whole trip and somehow we had a sidewall blow. We were just cruising along, rocking out to some Kansas, and then the car was freaking out at me. It was such a buzz kill.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,513
Difference....... P series or LT series.......

One sharp rock, that's all ............................
 

ogdendude

Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
86
@ogdendude : The Tuweap campground is actually not first come first served in the traditional sense. A Grand Canyon backcountry permit, exactly like those needed if spending a night backpacking in the canyon, is needed to camp at Toroweap. I'm not sure if they are reservable 4 months in advance like the other permits or if they are on a first come basis up to a week in advance. Permits can be acquired at the St George Interagency Office, Pipe Springs NM or the main BC desks on both rims. You have to get your permit at one of those centers to camp out there, so as long as you do that you won't end up at the overlook S.O.L. If you don't do that though.... you are.
I must have been reading an old source which was written before it was backcountry permitted. It sounds there was a time when it was first come first serve. My bad.
 
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