Here's the write-up on my ride to Toroweap (Grand Canyon Overlook) with Eddie from a few days ago. Eddie, on the bike, ready to roll. It was cold in the morning, so we headed out the fast dirt (~50 mph) toward the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse.
The 2007 KLR 650. Great bike for the AZ strip. Lot of rides to the Grand Canyon Overlook points are 100+ miles one-way, so you need 200+ mile range to get back to gas. KLR also has the capacity to carry camping gear. Nothing like sunrise/sunset on the canyon rim.
Map of our travels. Benchmark, Arizona. Our route is highlighted. This is the "classic" loop from St. George. The road south from St. George to Mount Trumball Schoolhouse (#1069, then #5) and past Mount Trumbull towards Tuweep is more interesting than Clayhole Rd (also #5) straight north back to pavement (and gas) at Colorado City / Hilldale. Good to make the loop. See more stuff that way . . .
In addition to Benchmark, a useful smaller map is the Grand Canyon-Parashant Map available (free) from the National Park Service. It shows only the "major" dirt roads, but its route numbering system matches the actual signage on the ground much better.
A few notes:
- The roads are all hard pack dirt / gravel, and are currently in excellent condition. Easy to travel at ~50 mph for almost all of it.
- The stretch from Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse due east (Potato Valley, past Mount Trumbull) has some ups and downs and would be more prone to washouts, etc. Elevation is about 7,000 ft. Large trees. Expect cooler temps and more moisture (including snow).
- From Tuweap south to the Toroweap Overlook, the road is a simple doubletrack. The last few miles have some rocks and simple ledges. Any ADV bike could get through. The ledges, rocks would stop cars. Any SUV / Truck would go through easily.
- From Tuweap north to Colorado City is fast, good dirt, unless wet. Hard clay turns to slime quickly, and there is at least one wash you wouldn't want to try and cross if wet.
My bike, at the outset. It is about 90 miles from St. George to Toroweap. Then 60+ back to Colorado City. At least 150 miles, but you need more range because you might do a little exploring on side roads, etc. Plus, bad consequences if you end up short on gas.
Typical dirt track off the main road. Some of these go for 50-100 miles. Only one way to know for sure.
Almost all worth exploring at least once in my view, especially the ones that head to overlook points -- in addition to Toroweap -- Whitmore Canyon, Kelly Point, Twin Point. One older couple we passed in a nicely equipped truck was headed to Kelly Point for few days. Said they were finding ways to spend the inheritance down . . . good plan.
The welcome sign. Probably lots of inmates have this picture. Let's see 'em!
And the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse. Our first real stop. It was cold. We went inside for food and drink. Perhaps inmates pics here, with bikes as well???
The history . . .
An original pic . . .
And a recent fundraiser pic . . . stop in and visit the schoolhouse if you are driving by. Very worthwhile!
Sign and Mount Trumbull School House 4-way intersection (cross roads of the AZ strip). Our route was to Mt. Trumbull and Toroweap.
Entering the National Monument, near Mount Trumbull. Sun is out now. Warming up, even though slightly higher elevation.
No water here . . . not much reliable water anywhere on the strip. Come prepared. But the Park Service is restoring lots of historical sites and improving signage. The North Rim area, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is over 1 million acres, about as remote as it gets in the lower 48.
Eddie and I took a short detour and hike at Nampaweap to check out the rock art.
The official brochure uses this same panel. Here is their quote: "A 1/2 mile trail takes you to one of the largest petroglyph sites on the Arizona Strip. Hundreds of images pecked into the surface of basalt boulders offer clues about the lives of early native residents."
We are enjoying the rythym of the day. Eddie's a great guy out on the road. Ok to have to your house for dinner, also.
At the intersection where we turn south for the last run to Toroweap. Rt #115, but not shown on map.
The scenery keeps getting better. Much more color in the rock!
No one's here checking for your Park Pass, but several signs restricting ATVs and non-plated bikes, etc. No off-road exploring. Got to follow the rules. There are rangers around.
My man Eddie, at the rim. Don't do it, Eddie. Work isn't that bad . . . if you only knew. Eddie has a sweet job!
We had lunch, talked with some people (2 or 3 groups in jeeps / trucks), and I put gas in my bike. Info from the picnic table chained to a tree at the overlook.
So we take the walk along the rim to the west. Shortly, you can look down and see Lava Falls in the distance. We watched 5 large rafts enter the rapids. Distances are so great you can't even see them once they enter the whitewater. You can however hear the rapids. All several thousand feet below and probably a mile or more away. Here is the view looking west (downstream).
Late afternoon now. All is well. Pic of the bike at the parking area. Picnic table is under tree and cliffs are just beyond flat dirt directly behind bike.
This is the awesome view . . . great destination . . .
We poked around the nearby campground. Sure many ADVers have spent nights here. This is on my list to do. Several groups were settling in. All friendly folks. Campground is well used, but there are lots of sites, all good. Any pics of inmate camp set-ups out there???
From this point, we started to twist the throttle. Here is Eddie heading out.
Final shot of my bike. Typical road scene, starting back north on Rt #5 (not marked on map). This area would be just before Hat Knoll.
The rest of the ride back to Colorado City was fast dirt.
At sundown on dirt just before hitting pavement. We check in with the wives, then a short run on pavement to Hurricane (UT 59). We find a good dinner, BS a bit, then ride home to St. George in time to put our kids to bed.
Nice ridin' with Eddie -- always a good time.
Inmates -- head out and explore the AZ Strip. Take extra gas, water, and warm clothes. It's colder than you might think. Thanks for ridin' along. Safe travels.