Camping on the North Rim.

Grand Canyon Travel Blog

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Heading into the Arizona Strip area.

By now, some of you should have picked up on the idea that I have a soft spot for the Southwest. The first time I went out to Arizona, I didn't want to come back to Florida. The second time, I talked my then girlfriend, Maureen, into tagging along...she loved the whole trip. The third time, she talked her family into tagging along. And it was during this trip that she planned a weekend camping trip to the North Rim for the two of us. For those who have never been there, the North Rim is so much cooler then the South Rim. Keep in mind that its about a thousand foot higher and located on the Utah side of the canyon. That and its a whole lot more secluded.

After dropping her family off in Flagstaff, we loaded up the Jeep and headed towards the canyon.

View from the Jeep...middle of nowhere.
Going towards the canyon, you'll travel through an area called the Arizona Strip. If you're thinking "strip malls"...forget it. Its just you, the open road (lots of it and empty too), a few Indian stands selling great stuff like bison jerky, and not much else. You better have plenty of CDs for the ride, cause you'll get zero for radio or cell phone reception. So make sure your peeps know where you're headed.

Once you get to the turn off for getting to the North Rim, it gets bumpy. Sure, there is a road but its not paved. Did I mention to make sure you have a full tank of gas and lots of water? And a GPS sure helps alot too. When we started off, the Jeep was nice and clean. By the time we reached the midway point, she was not liking us one bit. There was so much dust and dirt, that we had to use the wipers to see the road.

More of the Strip...no radio or cell reception here.
And sometimes, this didn't help...it only made it worse. It got so bad at one point, that dust was actually coming through the holes where the buttons are for the windows and locks on the door armrest. I was laughing my ass off as Maureen was afraid that we'd drive off a cliff. You'll have to keep in mind that we were MILES from any such thing.

Now, there are three camp sites for the North Rim. Two of them are pretty much suited for family camping with nice sites and water and such. And these are located closer to the main section where the tourists are. But the site we were headed to is the Tuweep Campground. Which is pretty secluded and limited to like 40 people a day, since there are only 11 spots to set up a tent. Did I mention that this place is known as a "primitive" site.

The turn off for the North Rim.
..meaning no water, no electric, and no showers.

As you will see from the pictures, the place is amazing. If there was any place on Earth where you won't hear a sound, this place comes pretty damn close. After driving for what felt like hours, we reached the site. And guess what, we were the only one there. So we picked the one tent site that was closest to the cliff. Thank goodness the two of us don't sleepwalk. We set up the site, walked around to check out the area, and just plain old relaxed.

After about two hours of being alone, we saw something kicking up dust on the road . A few minutes later around a turn came...you guessed it...two Germens in a minivan of all things. Knowing what the ride was like in the Jeep, I had to laugh at seeing the minivan.

Our closest neighbors.
They drove up to our site...and introduced themselves. Asked where they could set up, meaning sleeping in the van...I said anywhere they liked. Thankfully they were kind enough to set up a few sites down from us instead of right next door. Then they asked the usual. Is there water? Nope. Is there power hookup? Nope. Is there a bathroom? Nope to all three as I sat there smiling to myself. But they sure had alot of beer and hotdogs and burgers and more beer. In short these two were great company during dinner time. Did I mention that the minivan was a rental? Funny as hell if you saw the condition the van was in.

After dinner when the two Germens (please forgive me, I don't remember their names) went to bed, Maureen and I just laid back on the rocks and watched the night site. IT WAS AMAZING!!! The night sky was so clear you can actually see bands of the Milky Way. You can also see satelites as they orbit by...I kid you not. This is what we geeks call zero light pollution. There was a gentle night breeze, and the air was so crisp and clean. If you like camping...try this site.

So I hope you like the pictures. Sorry but I don't have any of the night sky.

walterman9999 says:
N. Kaibab N. Forest 928-643-7395
Good news...free back country camping is alive and well on the N. Kaibab.
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013
walterman9999 says:
North Rim Free Camping (no services)
Stop at Forest Service at Jacob Lake and buy map of N. Kaibab Nat. Forest and ask about road conditions. If you dont mind getting a little dirt on your car there are plenty of free camping spots that you can have completely to your self. From the paved road (AZ 67) take any dirt road into the forest (of large ponderosa pine and pure aspen stands) and pick out one of many places to pull off the road and that will be your free private camp. Please, no camp fire unless permitted by Forest Service because you will see very sad places where beautiful forests were reduced to ruin, mostly caused by lightning strikes. There is much wildlife to see on the N. Kaibab. There are trails to the East Rim overlooking Marble Canyon and those ending at the North Rim Grand Canyon. Those special places you may have to share with a few other campers, but I never had a problem with the other campers. Expect quiet and isolation.
Posted on: Dec 14, 2013
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Heading into the Arizona Strip are…
Heading into the Arizona Strip ar…
View from the Jeep...middle of now…
View from the Jeep...middle of no…
More of the Strip...no radio or ce…
More of the Strip...no radio or c…
The turn off for the North Rim.
The turn off for the North Rim.
Our closest neighbors.
Our closest neighbors.
Did I mention that this road is bu…
Did I mention that this road is b…
We came across this on the drive. …
We came across this on the drive.…
Still driving towards the rim.
Still driving towards the rim.
I did mention that the road was du…
I did mention that the road was d…
Taking a break from the drive...al…
Taking a break from the drive...a…
...almost there still.
...almost there still.
Finally we reach the camp site.
Finally we reach the camp site.
Looking right from our camp site.
Looking right from our camp site.
Maureen relaxing before we even se…
Maureen relaxing before we even s…
Looking left from our camp site.
Looking left from our camp site.
Deciding where to put the tent...n…
Deciding where to put the tent...…
...not here either.
...not here either.
Did I mention I have a fear of hei…
Did I mention I have a fear of he…
Another view about a block from …
Another view about a 'block' from…
The one time I am not behind the c…
The one time I am not behind the …
As close as I was getting to the e…
As close as I was getting to the …
We are way too close to the edge. …
We are way too close to the edge.…
Another view from our site.
Another view from our site.
Breakfast the next morning.
Breakfast the next morning.
Yeppers, Maureen took this pic. St…
Yeppers, Maureen took this pic. S…
Man, Ive got some chicken legs.
Man, I've got some chicken legs.
One of the other sites, pretty roc…
One of the other sites, pretty ro…
Getting ready to leave...wish we c…
Getting ready to leave...wish we …
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photo by: Sunflower300