Grand Canyon Backcountry Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dave6253, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Good cameras are getting smaller. IMO, the camera gear is essential to a good trip and there's a lot of crap most of us could leave behind instead. Photography and motorcycle trips just go together. I hope you and your buddies get to tour this area. If not, who needs the buddies. Go it alone.

    That's great news! I'm happy to help.
  2. notsofasteddie

    notsofasteddie Semi Slow Rider

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    I've followed your other reports and I'm always astounded by your photography. Those sunset pictures from Crazy Jug just turned it up a notch (if that's possible). I love the North Kaibab and I need to get back up there and also out onto the strip (next June or October). I don't think I've ever seen the strip as green as it was this year (as seen from just the highway around Colorado City and Apple Valley). It's amazing the roads were in a good of condition for your ride as they were with the rain almost daily for weeks.

    Thanks,

    Ed
  3. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I had planned on 2 additional days. I thought I might explore some other FS roads up for lunch at Jacob Lake Inn. In the afternoon,
    I planned to ride out to Cape Royal. While this isn't exactly backcountry, its one of my favorite motorcycle roads in Arizona and one
    of the best places to capture the sunset. I've never seen the sunrise there, so I considered stealth camping or hanging out in the
    parking lot until sunrise. There are several other points I planned to ride to on the eastern rim the following day. The last night would
    have been camping at Saddle Mountain Trailhead. The last day of riding could have included Burma Road and a couple points
    overlooking Marble Canyon before riding home. Although I spent 9 days riding up there, I still have plenty more to explore.


    [​IMG]


    Highlights of my Trip

    1. Havasupai Point - You'll have to pay the Native Americans $25 for access across their lands, but the only remote point accessible on the South Rim is worth it.

    2. Lime Kiln Pass

    3. Near Twin Point

    4. Whitmore Canyon Overlook - Only 700 feet above the river with a hiking trail. Bar 10 Ranch is nearby.

    5. Toroweap Overlook & Campground - Free camping and the best view west of the Kaibab Plateau.

    6. Kanab Point - The view is almost as stunning as Toroweap and this place gets far fewer visitors.

    7. Gunsight Point - A fun road takes you to a point overlooking the Kanab Creek Wilderness. A nice side trip, but not as stunning as others.

    8. Sowats Point - A fun road through varied terrain to a nice western view.

    9. Crazy Jugs Point - A beautiful and wide view. The point is within the national forest with no camping restrictions.

    10. Point Sublime - Simply the best backcountry point! A must for any trip, if you can get there. The park service keeps it closed often.




    Places That Could Be Added

    A. South Rim Drive - If you've not done it before, why not go elbow to elbow with the rest of the tourists to start the trip?
    There are tons of great views here and starting in the crowded areas will help you appreciate the solitude you find later.

    B. Grand Canyon West - If you want to do tourist type stuff. You can ride all the way to the parking lot near the airport,
    but no private vehicles are allowed at the points anymore. You will need to pay the
    Hualapai Indians for shuttles to the points and the tourist trap known as the Skywalk.
    Some guys have been lucky to get to ride all the way to the river at the bottom of the canyon on Diamond Creek Road.
    Others have been sold passes (available at the lodge in Peach Springs) only to be denied access by the Tribal Rangers.
    "No motorcycles allowed."

    C. You could make better time by taking I-15 or spend more time by visiting the stunning Valley of Fire State Park.

    D. Elbow Canyon Road is a rougher and higher alternative pass from Mesquite.

    E. Nutter Twists Road and Hidden Canyon

    F. Twin Point

    G. Kelly Point (Supposedly one of the rougher trails out here with ~30 miles of boulders.)

    H. There are trails between Mt Dellenbaugh RD and Whitmore Canyon, but I hear ranchers have started locking some gates.

    I. SB Point aka Son-of-a-Bitch Point

    J. Jumpup Point and Ranger Pass - There are a few other points out in this direction as well.

    K. Swamp Point

    L. Cape Royal RD - Unless you want to avoid asphalt as much as possible, there is no reason a motorcyclist can't enjoy one
    of the best motorcycling roads in the state out to one of the best spots for photos of the entire canyon, Cape Royal and Angel's Window.
    Stay for sunset and find camping out of the park in the dark. Try to avoid all of the deer you will see at night.

    M. Saddle Mountain Trailhead - A fun road leads out to an eastern view only a short hike from Point Imperial.
    There are dispersed campsites at the rim within the national forest, but at the border to the park.

    N. Other east side points like Dog Point and the Burma Road aka East Side Game Trail if you want a little challenge.

    O. Two points on either side of Marble Canyon. Bull Farm Point on the west and Tatahatso Point on the Navajo Reservation 23 miles off Highway 89.
  4. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Thanks Ed. The night at Crazy Jugs was the only time I had really good light for photos.
    The super clear skies are not so great for photos, but the trade-off is not worrying and rain or mud.


    Storms make it better.

    [​IMG]












    Backcountry Permits

    With the exception of Toroweap, backcountry camping within the national park requires a permit.
    These aren't expensive, but only so many permits are issued for each large area. Even though no one else
    is camping at the point you want to visit, the permits for the entire area will likely be sold out. Good luck.

    One could just wait until sunset to erect anything resembling camping gear, then pack up shortly after first light.
    The chances of seeing a ranger at these places is slim, especially at night.
    Of course, I can neither confirm nor deny that I took any such actions.

    [​IMG]
  5. jadedillusion

    jadedillusion Adventure Wife

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    Excellent photos, as usual, Dave! :clap

    I feel ashamed that we (Bronco3738 and I) don't explore more if Arizona. But he's logged your GPS points and exclaimed that we'll be taking the Jeep out there.
  6. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Great report. I loved it. I just discovered the RR from the link where you posted your tracks.

    We did much of the northern part on a loop last spring. I think we might go back next spring and do some of the stuff you did like Whitmore Wash and Point Sublime. Your tracks will come in handy.

    We did do the Nutter Twists. The western part is a little slow going. There is one ledgy spot that could be pretty hard going west to east.


    FWIW here is our ride report.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=892221
  7. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    Thanks Dave for providing us with another excelent RR. :clap I just happened on it this morning and read through it. Great pics as usual. :freaky
    Phillip
  8. Hokem Malarky

    Hokem Malarky Been here awhile

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    Great RR and pics!

    Thanks for posting the tracks!
  9. 5 speed

    5 speed Been here awhile

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    Its a shame really that we Americans have to go to such lengths just to camp on National Lands- the ones that are open and not yet shut down to a wilderness area where no one then is going to go. At least here in Florida, Ocala National Forest encourages stealth camping and actually deems it safer than camping in the campgrounds. Nice to know when riding on the 400K acres that you can stop most anywhere and set up camp. Of course, no dramatic scenery, for the most part sand and scrub brush covering most of it.
  10. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Did you buy the permits ahead of time? Can you?

    thanks
    John
  11. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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  12. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Thanks for the link it gave me a good laugh. Permits by postal mail and fax? Haven't they heard of the interweb. Who the hell has a fax machine anymore? Or a landline to hook it up to? Sigh...I'll probably have to decline answering that question myself.

    I enjoyed the report and got a lot of useful info from it. Thanks again.

    John
  13. multistraddler

    multistraddler Been here awhile

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    Great minds think a like. :) I was at this very spot in August. But I was doing a 24 hour blast on rented Tiger 800. Would have loved to continue on your path, but sadly, no offroading on the rental...
    [​IMG]



  14. Fijibubba

    Fijibubba Pavelow guy

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    Amazing RR with some of the best photos I've ever seen. Love the early morning photos. Looks so surreal and peaceful.
  15. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hey Dave.

    Thank you so much for the excellent Ride Report.
    I know what I'm going to be dreaming of all winter long.

    I'll spend the winter practicing my photography, and rebuilding my XR650R, and I hope to do this trip next year.

    Also - Thanks for posting the GPS file.

    It is obvious that you put a lot of working into planing this trip and I really appreciate it.

    Again, excellent photography.
    I praise you.

    Q~
  16. Moss

    Moss Adventurer

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    I will most certainly second that!
    Thank you so much Dave for sharing your report. As every one has said - fantastic pic's. Beautiful place and a beautiful country. :clap
  17. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Hey Dave - Somehow I missed this report. It is one of your very best! ..but I am only up to Day 8...

    I still think you should get a smaller bike, but I must say, I miss my 950. You don't seem to mind the bulk, and I didn't either, except when solo.

    I love to find guys like 'Mac' in St George. I love a guy who can solve my mechanical problems and I find they are always creative. Your fuel valve adventure was a highlight for me. It makes me wonder why we don't just stop and check after a clunk like that... Of course I enjoyed that part of your trip mostly because it worked out! :lol3 So tell us, is that little Mac part still in the right tank? :deal

    I noticed your Screaming Eagle sticker. It made me smile. I am an alum of 1969-70. I was a loach pilot for 2/17th Cav.

    Like BigDog does, you should try and get a partner for some of your more daring trips. I would be willing starting next season. I bought a little place up near the Boulders recently. My WRR is there. I may ship my old Duc too. I'm pretty excited because it has a garage. I see epoxy flooring, some cabinets, a tire rack, and a tire spooning stand in my future. :D

    Anyways, I expect to be there Jan-May. But also Sep/Oct, so I can get the high country in. I'll be a snowbird for dual sporting, but maybe even some golf.

    I rode a day with AZ Tom and Durklod last year. They were great with me. They are good partners to ride with if they can get away.

    Thanks again for your reports and trip suggestions. I've followed your tracks a couple times on my 250.

    [​IMG]
  18. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I started looking closely at your tracks and reading the report in detail. I was just grooving on the pics first time thru.

    I remember going down that rocky hill where you turned back at the beginning of the Nutter Twists. You would have run into the tough uphill ledge in about a mile. There was a narrow line down it on the outside in May. That could easily have washed out over the summer.

    Did you consider trying to get gas at Bar 10 during your planning?

    I am getting the impression that while expensive it is routinely available. I saw one picture of some guy getting gas out of a large tank. But maybe it is limited to guests.
  19. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I appreciate everyone that took the time to comment. :clap


    Thanks for the info on Nutter Twists. I've always wanted to ride it, but it will have to wait.
    Bar-10 keeps fuel stored for their ATVs and such. It does seem they routinely sell gas to other bikers.
    I'm not sure I would show up there needing fuel without checking first. I can imagine they could be reluctant to sell if they are running low.
    Ask some of the guys that have gone there. I didn't stop in to talk to anyone.
    Here is their website: http://www.bar10.com/

    Hi Pantah!

    Welcome home, Sir! My time in the 101st was '89-93. I was born in '69.:D

    Smaller bike, huh? Unlike most of you guys I never rode a smaller dirt bike, so I can't compare. I'm not afraid of picking the big bike up. Even loaded, its no problem.
    I got out of this mess when alone...
    [​IMG]

    I'm a big heavy guy and carry lots of luggage almost every time I ride, so there will be no big advantage to a smaller bike. I also routinely travel hundreds of miles of highways at 80 plus to get to the good stuff and sometimes ride 2up. I rarely do day rides in and around Phoenix as its not what I really enjoy. I like motorcycle travel, whether its on rough trails like these or some twisty road on my SPORT-tourer. This bike is perfect for me, and any limitations on where I go are not due to the bike. It works great on a rugged trail or 2up for a 10,000 mile road trip. Fuel range and wearing out rear tires to fast are the two problems I disliked about the KTM. I've solved both now, with the Safari Tanks and the Heidenau K60 Scout rear tire. I bought the Safari tanks after nearly buying a WR250R. I realized the expensive tanks were less money than a 3rd bike and that I really don't need a little bike.

    There's a whole lot of reasons why I usually ride alone. However; let me know when you are in town. Maybe we can get some riding time in together.

    The part Mac made is still in the bike. It is no doubt stronger than the OEM part, but I will get around to replacing it. The new part doesn't have the shut-off valve that makes it easier to remove the tanks and could be needed if the other side breaks.

    Hi JI! I guess I can't call you 2 newlyweds anymore. I've had fun up on the Arizona Strip even in a 2WD Expedition. It would be great for a Jeep. Go scout out Kelly Point for me. The 4x4 forums say the 30 miles out to Kelly Point is all boulders and requires 4 hours one-way. Might be more fun on the bike.
  20. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    The Whitmore Canyon video is a little disappointing, as it appears quite a bit easier than I felt it was.
    Because of the way my bike was handling in the loose rocks, I sat more than I usually do in order to
    wrestle with the handlebars and use my weight to keep the bike on the trail. I was also riding pretty slow.
    This video would probably only appeal to those of you considering riding to Whitmore Overlook.

    *You get to hear me scream like a little girl.
    *You get to watch me shoot the panorama with all of the yellow flowers.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2860148088_XLxZK73?width=640&height=360&albumId=22698538&albumKey=d5xrB7"></iframe>





    A short video of the ride from Toroweap Campground to the border of the park.
    The most difficult parts of the ride to Toroweap are the few steps in the campground.
    Nothing about the ride to Toroweap is really challenging as long as you slow for the few silt sections.
    The silt is not as bad as it was about 4 years ago. The longest and deepest sections have been filled with crushed rock.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2860592146_TRzggNW?width=640&height=360&albumId=22698538&albumKey=d5xrB7"></iframe>