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My Toroweap Adventure

 

Also known as "Tuweep", Toroweap is located on the extreme northwest rim of the Grand Canyon and is within the Grand Canyon National Park.  It is a "primitive" campground with 10 camp sites [free] about 1/2 mile from the canyon rim, and an "overlook" on the rim itself.  It's the only place on the Grand Canyon where you can stand [you can stand, I can't!] on the very rim and look straight down 3,000 feet to the Colorado River.  

 

Toroweap is accessible by way of a 83 mile dirt road from St. George, Utah or a 61 mile dirt road from the vicinity of Fredonia, Arizona.   The last three miles into the campground are a major 4x4 "rock crawling" track.  Needless to say, it's not for your Kansas tourist in a compact car.  And if the camp sites are all full  [1st come, 1st served] you're looking at a long haul outta there because they won't let you camp just "anywhere" in the National Park. 

 

I left at noon o'clock on Sunday [April 25th, 2010] in my venerable 5 Star "Hotel Westfalia" from La Canada, up the 14 freeway to Pearblossom Highway, thence east to Victorville & north on the 1-15.  Fueled at Baker [92 degrees] and an easy drive up the Baker Grade.  About 5 PM I started looking for a place to camp.  With a Westfalia you can camp anywhere and I found a spot I liked out in the desert about 3 miles off the road to Searchlight, Nevada.  Had my shower, rye whiskey, hors devours [Pringles], & filet mignon steak.  Almost a full moon!

 

Monday morning breakfast, cleanup, pack up, and off to Toroweap.   Fueled at Mesquite, Nevada, again at Hurricane, Utah, and finally at Pipe Springs just before entering the dirt road to the canyon rim.  The dirt road is fairly good except for the last three miles where you had to crawl up and over some very large boulders.   I was ever so thankful I have an automatic trans in the Westy.  With a stick shift you'd have done some serious "clutch burning" to make it up and over the rocks.

 

Toroweap is the only place this road goes to.  I finally got to the end [3 hours] and got the very last camp spot [#4].  I was congratulating myself on my "driving skills" just to get over that last 3 miles when, lo & behold, I discovered a big "Cruise America" rental motor home in there!  It was a German guy [that figures!] and his family and how he ever managed to get that thing in there I'll never know.  Cruise America would have an apoplectic fit if they knew!

 

I got my camp all set, did my shower, and as the sun was setting took my chair, gin & tonic, hors devours and camera up on top of a huge rock formation and "supervised" the rising moon.  I always stay until I can see the 1st star.

 

There's a "trail" that goes from the canyon rim down to the Colorado.  It's 1 1/2 miles and 3,000 vertical feet down to the river.  The day that I got there a guy was hiking up from the bottom with 3 companions,,,, they'd gone down to the river that morning,,, he was the only one that made it out.   The other 3 had completely "crapped out",,,, had run out of water,,,, had completely worn themselves out so much so that they couldn't make it any farther and were stuck 1,500' below the rim. 

 
I talked to the guy and he said he'd used 4 liters of water just to get up to the top, that even though it was "nice on top" temperature-wise [about 80 degrees] it was well over 100 degrees down at the river and in the high 90's coming up the "incredibly steep" talus slide without a breath of wind to cool.
 
He got some water and a couple of sandwiches and hiked back down in the dark.  The 4 of them stayed all night with only t-shirts & shorts.  I talked to them when they got out the next morning,,, they looked like hell,,, and spent all day in their tents recovering.  They said it was absolute bitch to sit on a near vertical rock slope all night, nowhere to lay down, etc.  Said it was a "night in hell". 
 
The guy that made it out told me it would be foolish and dangerous to try to do that hike alone.  Even though it was one of the things I wanted to do, my common sense prevailed [for once!] and I didn't try it.   Also it's a 20 minute drive from the campground to the trailhead. I had thought that the trail went down from the campground but I was wrong.
 

I stayed in there for 2 days, hiked all over the place, took photos, read my books, consumed "adult beverages, listened to Roger Waters, etc, and came out via the road to St. George.  This road went over Mt. Trumbell and crossed a high valley where there was a farm settlement at one time.  All's that's left is the restored school house [see the last two photos].

 

 

 

 

The entrance sign.
This is where the road starts getting bad.

Looking straight down to the Colorado River 3,000 feet below!

Looking east.

Looking "up river".

This is one of the rocks you had to get over to get in here!

East at sunset

East at sunset

East at sunset

The 5 star "Hotel Westfalia" at Toroweap camp.

This is the campground.  10 sites, a couple of them under the rock overhang you see.

It had rained a day or two earlier and the holes in the sandstone rocks still had water in them.

East

East

 

East

West

West

West

Looking north, the campground is under and around that overhanging rock formation in the distance.

With the rains came the flowers!

 

Last morning, headed out!  83 miles to St. George.

An old schoolhouse that's been restored on the road out, vicinity of Mt. Trumbell.

Same schoolhouse as it appeared in 1916.