Grand Canyon National Park
June 25, 2003
This is not really a hiking report since we did very little hiking but a trip to a spectacular overlook at the Grand Canyon. It is an area that perhaps
only 1,000 people a year make it to. Moreover, this year, we were two of that 1,000!
My son and I left from Las Vegas to St. George Utah. In St. George I stopped for directions at the Bureau of Land Management office (follow the
signs from the highway). The office is located on 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84720. Their phone number is (435) 688-3200. A
good place for information on this little trek is the Park Service site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/grandcanyon/tuweep/ . We took the Main Street
Route from St. George to the Canyon without any problem. However, remember it was late June and there were no problems with wetness or
snow. The road is long however at around 90 miles and unpaved for its entirety. Though you can probably do it in a sedan if you were careful, I
would suggest something a little more robust. We were in a 4-wheel drive Dodge Durano that made it feel more comfortable and safer. As with
any excursion off paved highways, be prepared with the normal safety items of a spare tire, food and water. Cell signal was pretty much non-
existent so make sure someone knows your plans.
Soon after you begin the trip outside of St. George, you are greeting with this sign. Have you noticed that every one of these signs out west has
bullet holes? I guess people are a little starved for recreation at times.
Until you get to the town of Mr. Trumbull, the road is pretty boring and nondescript. When you come to this abandoned town, you are in need of a
pit stop and some exploring. One of the main sites here is this schoolhouse. This was rebuilt after vandals burned down the original one a decade
or so ago. I just cannot understand how someone could think that was fun. In any case, it is testimony to some people’s dedication that the
schoolhouse was rebuilt and is open there to visit. The plaque in front of the school indicates that this was a thriving farming community until the
mid-30’s (dust bowl) brought about climate changes that made it much dryer and no longer economically feasible to farm. There does seem to be
a couple of occupied houses nearby so it is not completely empty.
After leaving the schoolhouse, you are soon going up Mt. Trumbull itself. Here you have a view from the mountain and we went up. Mt. Trumbull
tops off at around 8,000 feet. After going back down Mt. Trumbull, you head off in an easterly direction until you intersect another similar road and
come across the Park Service sign announcing the start of the Tuweep area. The names Tuweep and Toroweap are both used to name this
area. About six or so miles from the overlook, you pass the ranger’s house. Now that would be one lonely posting! No sign of a ranger however
while we were there. The last mile or so before the parking/camping area for the outlook is over smooth rock but it is easy to follow. Then we were
My original plan was to hike to Lava Falls via a very steep (1,500’ in 1 ½ miles) trail but because of the heat I decided against it. If you do this trip
in the summer, you should probably camp the night before and then do the hike in the early morning cool. When we arrived there was only one
other group at the parking area so you should usually be okay with getting a camping spot.
We spent the next hour or so wandering over the rocks and staring out over the edge. You can actually see the rafts way down on the Colorado
and hear the rumble of Lava Falls. Please visit the photo gallery for my collection of shots from the edge.
On the way back I decided to go back a different way through Colorado City along the Arizona/Utah border. For a description of some of the
things that go on in this depressing town along with other depressing towns read Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon
Krakauer. From here, we headed back to I-15 and Las Vegas.
Either my next trip back will be in the winter or I will camp there so I can do the Lava Falls hike. I have looked at a cool trip that the Grand Canyon
Field Institute offers http://www.grandcanyon.org/fieldinstitute/ in November to the site. However, you know how it is, so many places to go and so
little vacation time.
Pictures of this trip