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Old 08-27-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
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Grand Canyon North Rim options?

We're planning to visit the grand canyon north rim during the first week of october, hopefully to coincide with some nice fall color. Also planning to drive to point sublime in our 4Runner if the road isn't closed. Plus any other off-the-path places I can find out about (Toroweap sounds interesting but far).
WRT camping, are there any nice options besides the NP campground? We much prefer boondocking over being smoked out (smoked in?) by the campground fires. Towing a 23FB and not shy about dirt roads...
Thanks in advance for any pointers!
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:52 AM   #2
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See links below:

* DeMotte NFS Campground -- 7 miles north of entrance to Grand Canyon National Park North Rim. Generally, open May 15 to November, depending on weather:

Kaibab National Forest DeMotte Campground

* North Rim NPS Campground -- Generally, open mid-May to mid-October:

Campgrounds - North Rim - Grand Canyon National Park

* Dispersed Camping is permitted in the national forest outside the park; there are restrictions, however. Inquire at North Rim Visitor Center inside park, or at Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake (928) 643-7298. In winter contact the North Kaibab Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest, P.O. Box 248, Fredonia, AZ 86022 or call (928) 643-7395.

Beautiful fall colors can also be seen in Zion National Park, about 125 miles northwest of the North Rim. However, you should check with the National Park Service to see when the trees start to turn.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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We would recommend that you check the NPS, Forest Service, and BLM websites for any places you are interested in visiting. The higher the elevation, the more likely the campgrounds will have an early closing date. And the more probability of nightime freezing temperatures.

Southern Utah is really gorgeous in October, but also surprisingly popular with retirees and families, due to children out of school for the annual teachers' convention. Check out Zion NP, Snow Canyon State Park, and the Escalante/Boulder area with the Grand Staircase National Monument! Lake Powell has some neat country, if you stay away from the big marinas.

With dirt roads, we suggest you check locally on road conditions before heading out, or in advance with the district BLM office. Your SUV should be fine, but there are a lot of roads I wouldn't take an Airstream over. A dirt road in that area can be fine for many miles, then suddenly turn into some major erosion problems, up to and including wash-outs, and with no feasible turn-around or back-up capabilities for quite a ways. Some back roads just get very rocky and rutted thanks to hordes of 4-wheelers and trucks driving on the dirt roads when wet. A dirt road that looks reasonable on a map may not have been graded for several years.

Probably you already know to take a shovel, bucket, and ax or saw with you on remote roads.

We used to have a second home in central Utah, and our strategy when heading south was usually to drop the trailer at a campsite with gravel or paved road access, and then go off in the truck or off hiking to get into the further areas as day trips. A packed clay-surface dirt road can turn into gumbo after a thunderstorm.

Have a great trip!
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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Another option worth mentioning is to stay at the campground in Williams, AZ then ride the passenger train to the Grand Canyon. I'm pretty sure it's the North Rim but verify that to be sure. Just google: Williams, AZ for info.

Last year we left our motorhome at the CG, rode the train to the Grand Canyon and back in the same day, and had a blast.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 345bill View Post
Another option worth mentioning is to stay at the campground in Williams, AZ then ride the passenger train to the Grand Canyon. I'm pretty sure it's the North Rim but verify that to be sure. Just google: Williams, AZ for info.

Last year we left our motorhome at the CG, rode the train to the Grand Canyon and back in the same day, and had a blast.
That's actually the south rim.

We camped in the Kaibab a couple of years ago. It's free and you can camp right on the canyon edge if you want. It's the first right or left as you leave the north rim area. We camped to the right and there was no one within in a mile of us for a week.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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We're finally slated to head out this friday. I can't wait! We ended up deciding to go to the Kaibab camper village RV park with hookups so we can run an electric heater at night. The temps are slated to drop into the mid 30's and we just don't want to sleep with the noise of the furnace. Quiet heating with propane is a not yet solved problem in our Airstream, sigh. We'll be out and about pretty much all day, so camping on the rim, while having its attraction, ended up not being the #1 criteria...
I do hope to scout out a number of rim boondocking locations and report on their accessibility.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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If your route takes you anywhere near Escalante in southern Utah, we would recommend the Starlight Drive-In there. This is the place with a small RV park, old Airstreams set up as guest cottages, and a drive-in where you sit in old vehicles (like 1960s convertables) to watch old films. We just stayed there for two nights, and thought it was a lot of fun.

The RV sites are not level or well-graveled, so we had to use all of our plastic risers under the wheels or stabilizers, though.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:24 AM   #8
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Len n Jeanne, thanks for the tip! I fear it will have to be for a future trip. This time it's GC-only. We're planning to drive to toroweap and other eastern overlooks, hopefully our tires will make it through! :-)
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:46 PM   #9
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There's lot's of good/wise information about this area in the above posts. This is my second attempt to comment here. Something happened to my last try and I don't think it was posted. Anyway, this region of the U.S. is absolutely beautiful. I think Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP and Kodachrome Basin SP are must-visit destinations. The north rim of the Grand Canyon south of Kanab is awesome and is accessible via several NF roads that turn toward the rim (southerly) off of FR 422 south of Kanab. Several of these roads like North Timp Road (the one we took) will dead end at the canyon rim and if you are lucky, as we were, you will have the area to yourself. The view of the canyon for there is awesome. If you unhook from your trailer there are several high clearance vehicle (dirt) roads that meander throught some beautiful forests with many moutain species including aspen. You should also see lots of deer and other wildlife. There is also a great hiking/biking trail that winds along at or near the rim and is accessible from North Timp point and several other roads that terminate at the rim. When we were there last summer we commented that one of these days we would have to return when the aspens were in their fall splendor. I would check road conditions, etc. at the Fredonia Ranger Station before I took my vehicle and/or trailer down any of these roads but last year several were in very good condition and you probably would not have had a problem with a small trailer. Another great drive is through Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. I believe the dirt road we took is called Cottonwood road. As I recall it's 30-40 miles between blacktop and was in good condition when we took it. However, based on the deep swerving ruts we saw in a few places, I would bet it turns to a nasty, slippery, hellish, quagmire after a little rain. I would not take my trailer on this road but we did see several passenger cars on it during our trip. The town of Kanab is also very nice and there are some good places to eat and do the tourist stuff if you like that sort of thing. Wish we could go now!!!!
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for the tip for Timp point. That sounds like a good combo with Crazy Jug point. Perhaps after tomorrow... We went to the Toroweap overlook today, which is absolutely fabulous. But 61mi of dirt road. I did it in 1h50 on the way back after sunset--the road was in excellent condition. If you ever have a chance to go there: do it, you won't regret! We went to Pt Sublime yesterday, which is also fabulous. Tomorrow I need to rest from all the dirt road driving...
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:30 PM   #11
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We were at South Rim last week, staying at Mather Camp. It was deserted and very enjoyable. The Rim Lodges were packed, but overall the crowds were manageable, plenty of opportunities for clear views of the canyon.

Mather is a really nice camp ground, large sites, many pull through sites. No hookups, but there's a dump station at he entrance. The Trailer Park camp ground has full hookups, but is jammed, very tight spacing like a parking lot.
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