Getting to the Points
Remote Grand Canyon North Rim Vistas
September 5-10, 2019
We've spent just enough time on the north rim of the Grand Canyon to be very curious about what other delights might await us on the South Rim's less popular but equally spectacular
twin. It's a LONG drive: eight hours from Tucson according to Google Maps, but longer than that
if you're driving an overloaded camper, poking along on secondary roads and stopping often for coffee or sightseeing. We broke the trip up by stretching it out over two days and researched options
for appealing high-elevation camping along the way.
Our first night was some intriguing dispersed camping along the Mogollon Rim. There were plenty of rigs
in the area, but we were fortunate to find one protected by a sufficiently rough road, and ended up with a killer view right on the edge of the rim.
The moon and Jupiter lit up the night sky.
Navajo Bridge is a mandatory stop, and we were lucky to spot a couple of California condors
perched on a girder right below the apex.
You can look up individual condors by number at https://www.peregrinefund.org/condor-list and learn about their age, parents, hatch location and more.
Our first night on the North Rim was at Marble Viewpoint. What an amazing place! And we were lucky to have it all to ourselves.
In the morning we discovered that there was an even more spectacular viewpoint just around the corner.
Scroll for a panorama of Marble Viewpoint.
We did very few hikes on official trails. If we saw something interesting on the map,
off we went. One of our more interesting discoveries was this dramatic sinkhole on the edge of the rim just off the road to Marble Viewpoint.
The sinkhole was about 200 feet below the surrounding landscape and numerous tracks indicated
that it was popular with local wildlife.
One of the tiniest horned lizards we've ever encountered.
That evening found us camped at Crazy Jug Point, and once again, we had this
spectacular overlook to ourselves.
It was a great place to pull up a chair and watch the sunset.
The next day we made it all the way to Jumpup Cabin. It was a very, very long drive, and
we were unaware that the canyon tilts toward the west, so the far end is about 2000 feet lower — and 20° hotter — than the east end.
By the time we reached the cabin, it was nearly 90° — too hot for the hike into Jumpup Canyon.
We beat a hasty retreat back to the east end and found a great spot in Dog Canyon, directly across
from where we had camped our first night out.
An unusually colorful horzed lizard.
Uninta or Colorado Chipmunk
Another morning meander — this one along a segment of the Arizona Trail.
Bushwhacking to an unnamed point on the east side of Dog Canyon.
It was a real treat to walk in this forest of towering Aspens Ponderosa Pines
Looking north into the vast ruddy plains of the Saddle Mountain Wilderness
Last night out was a spectacular perch among the cinders of the San Francisco Volcanic Field.