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Author Topic: Road to Toroweap  (Read 10631 times)
sierraman
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« on: May 13, 2012, 04:24:05 PM »
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I have heard lots about this drive. Some say its bad. Some, not so bad. It sounds like the last 3 miles can be the toughest. Any thoughts by someone who has made this drive. Many thanks.  Smiley
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 05:56:02 PM »
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I just looked at some youtube videos and it looks like the road is much better graded than when I did it in the early 70's in '64 VW Beetle.  I don't recall scraping the underbelly.

Having bumped and jolted down a few New Mexico dirt roads, I would like to mention that in those videos the guys who keep their speed and inertia up have the right idea.  You sorta wanna fly over the depressions and plow through the sand traps with some inertia behind you, any crazy person can tell you that.  25mph (or so) can smooth out washboard and very rough roads that jolt your teeth at very slow speeds.  If you have passengers they can stand on the rear bumper or lay on the hood as needed.  Bring a tow rope.  Don't forget the rattlesnake bite antidote.  Check your spare first, and make sure the tire jack is working ok.  Bring water.  Enjoy!  But seriously it wasn't hard and like so many things the anticipation was scarier than the fact.  I'm sure there will be plenty of other cars along the road the same day.

Worthwhile place to visit.  Highly recommended.  The canyon is narrowed at that point, in a way that offers different photographic potential than at the wider points.  Totally different experience than at the highly developed tourist locations, definitely more desert-like with non-canyon vistas as well.  Wish I could go back.  I wonder where those Kodachromes got to, places like this made Kodachrome famous.
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sierraman
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 08:16:48 PM »
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Thanks Bill for the info.  Smiley
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azmike
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 01:14:37 AM »
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I was there a couple of years ago driving a Jeep Rubicon. From Fredonia it's just a long unpaved road, but:  starts as a well-graded gravel road, gets rougher in terms of gravel texture. Closer to Toroweap there are a couple of "mud hole" sections of several hundred yards (fine if dry, really ugly if wet) and then the last few miles beyond the ranger residence are slick-rock rocky and rough.  To me it's mostly a tire issue.....somehow the texture of the rocks on the road are tough on tires, especially as you are driving fast. In good weather you could drive it (carefully) with your passenger car....but you would risk ruining your tires...and getting stuck.  A truck with tough truck tires would be just fine. Call the Park Service for current conditions. The destination is indeed worth it. 

Mike Coffey
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sierraman
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 11:17:30 AM »
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Thanks azmike. I'm thinking that the road would be little rough on the tires. Thinking about going in July.
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bill t.
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 02:32:30 PM »
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Yeah the muddy parts are the only real show stoppers, enough to make seasoned 4 wheeler turn back.  And of course if somebody does wade in and have to be pulled out, that makes the location twice as bad for the next guy.  It was dry when I went, but for some distance I had to drive over towards the side of the road to keep my little bug wheels from falling down into some serious tire trenches.

I sometimes use a dirt road with some muddy sections prone to flooding, and I know from experience that I just don't need to bother if there has been rain in the last 4 to 10 days, depending on how much.

The whole Grand Canyon area gets an above average amount of rain for a desert.  I just looked at this chart and it seems like your statistically optimal mud-free window is now!
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framah
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 09:00:17 AM »
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I did that road back in the late 80's.... with a brand spanking new 5 liter Mustang RENTAL!!!

How's THAT for crazy!!??

It was in mid May so there was no one else. If you don't drive crazy, 25 to 30 mph..you can do it easily. The soft edges of the road are like talcum powder. The last part of the road had a sign saying high clearance vehicles. Sooo... I rolled the window down and listened for the bottom of the car scraping on the rock and backed up and tried another spot. Made it all the way to the rim.

Got back to the motel and discovered that EVERY square inch of the car, inside and out was covered with a fine coating of red dust. Had to wipe down the car including in the trunk! Didn't want Hertz to discover that I was Baha-ing with their car!

Somewhere I have a shot of the Mustang parked by the edge of the canyon. Need to rummage thru the old slides.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 10:32:32 AM »
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I did that road back in the late 80's.... with a brand spanking new 5 liter Mustang RENTAL!!!
How's THAT for crazy!!??

Todally crazy  : )   That's a road I want to do. 

Nowadays, rentals can have GPS trackers that will finger you (or worse) if you venture off-road and off-contract.
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Colorado David
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 11:51:56 AM »
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The National Park Service web site says 25% of all who attempt the road to the overlook experience flat tire.  I'd be interested to know if they have that data broken down any further.  Knowing how to drive on bad surfaces can reduce that risk a lot.  I carry a tire repair kit and an air compressor in my Land Rover and have the BFG All Terrain tires.
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sierraman
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 01:03:05 PM »
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The National Park Service web site says 25% of all who attempt the road to the overlook experience flat tire.  I'd be interested to know if they have that data broken down any further.  Knowing how to drive on bad surfaces can reduce that risk a lot.  I carry a tire repair kit and an air compressor in my Land Rover and have the BFG All Terrain tires.
I have heard that same statistic. I agree that driving in a safe and careful manor may reduce the risk of getting a flat.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 01:27:23 PM »
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A "safe and careful manner" means slow.  Dead slow.  

I did Cottonwood Canyon road from the Pariah info center to Kodachrome Basin at 10mph in a domestic minivan.  Took me the whole day. Never saw another soul.  Best day ever.



The Racetrack, however, had me stymied.  Heavy weekend traffic and a long time since grading made me turn back.  It's on my list. : )
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 11:06:21 PM by Peter McLennan » Logged
bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 01:50:19 PM »
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On the washboard sections you need to adjust speed rather carefully to avoid vibrations.  You can be hammered at 5mph, but smooth at 27.3.  What feels best for you is probably also best for the vehicle and the tires.  And keep an eye out on the road about 100 feet ahead.  Of course when you come to those sand and rock moguls towards the end of the trail you need to slow down, but still remember that if you loose forward inertia in a sand trap or mud you are SOL, which is why you put a long tow strap in the trunk.  Old fashioned, big-link snow chains might not be a bad idea in those areas, come to think of it.

And, no worn down tires please.

Or use a dirt bike.  You can rinse off the 2 inches of dirt and mud at any of the many deluxe public hot tubs at the site, or just climb down a few thousand feet to the river for a rinse.
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Scott O.
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2012, 12:54:17 AM »
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Last year I drove House Rock Road from Highway 89A to Highway 89 and then Cottonwood Canyon Road all the way out. If there has not been recent rain the road is a piece of cake...35-40 mph easy. It is really an epic drive, except maybe for the wandering cattle! I am going to go to Toroweap next week, will give updated report on the road when I return.
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Scott O.
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2012, 10:13:39 PM »
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Sorry to everyone who is anxiously awaiting my detailed report of the road to Toroweap...trip cancelled!  Temps in the 90's and wind 20+ mph all week is not my idea of a good time.  Maybe in the fall...
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sierraman
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 11:26:26 PM »
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Sorry to hear that.  Sad  Hope you will give a trip report in the fall.
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NWPhotoGuy
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2012, 09:12:44 PM »
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If you want to stay overnight then make the campground your first stop. There are only 10 campsites and are first-come first-served. Without one you have to spend the night outside the NP.
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framah
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2012, 01:32:34 PM »
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Here's a little incentive for you...

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h216/framah/ToroweepPt.jpg[/img]]
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 01:34:38 PM by framah » Logged

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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2012, 03:46:53 PM »
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THAT is the reason why, someday, somehow, I'm gonna drive that road.

Superb!
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sierraman
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2012, 09:27:10 PM »
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I'm ready for a carpool,who's driving?  Smiley
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framah
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 03:31:32 PM »
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What was even cooler was that while I was standing there looking down at the river, all of a sudden I see a tiny light blink at me from down on the sand bar in the river. I ran and got my flashlight and flashed them back. Seems some river rafters had pulled onto the sand bars to camp for the night and had seen my silhouette against the sky.

Great place!!! No railings, no tours buses, no cigarette butts and no people!
The way life should be!!
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"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
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