THE WESTERN KAIBAB PLATEAU

Point Sublime
This well-named overlook, west of Bright Angel Point and southeast of Fire Point, lies at the end of a 17-mile dirt road negotiable by high-clearance vehicles or mountain bicycles, on horseback, or on foot. Point Sublime extends far into the Grand Canyon for awesome views. You can scan a great length of both North and South Rims and spot a section of Colorado River. The South Rim can be traced from below Bass Canyon upcanyon nearly to Desert View. Binoculars help you to see parts of the Tonto, Hermit, and South Kaibab Trails along with Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest. On the North Rim, the Powell Plateau lies to the northwest, Confucius and Mencius Temples to the southeast, and Tiyo Point and Cape Royal to the east, truly sublime. Closer in, cliffs drop into the Tuna Creek drainage. Point Sublime is a great place to camp, but you'll need a backcountry permit to do so.
    The route is bumpy and not always passable; check at the North Rim Backcountry Office or the North Rim Visitor Center. From Grand Canyon Lodge, near Bright Angel Point, go north 2.7 miles on AZ 67, then turn left on the unpaved Point Sublime Road (high-clearance vehicle needed) past the Widforss and Tiyo Point trailheads to Point Sublime. You can also follow roads from the Kaibab National Forest: Head west two miles on Forest Road 22 from the AZ 67 turnoff in De Motte Park (0.8 mile south of the North Rim Country Store), turn south two miles on Forest Road 270, turn west six miles on Forest Road 223, then south 1.5 miles on Forest Roads 268 and 268B to the park boundary, where the road becomes rougher on the last 15 miles to Point Sublime. Keep left at the junction 0.2 mile inside the park (the right fork goes to Swamp Point), then keep right past the junctions for Kanabownits Lookout and the road to AZ 67. The Kaibab National Forest map (North Kaibab District) is essential for navigating these back roads.
    Tiyo Point has been closed to vehicles, but you can hike in or go by horseback. Turn south 6.3 miles from Point Sublime Road at a large meadow, 4.2 miles in from AZ 67.

Fire Point
The panorama here takes in Tapeats Amphitheater, Steamboat Mountain, and Powell Plateau; Great Thumb Mesa lies across the river. Walk 100 feet out on the rocks for an even better look. A fine stand of ponderosa pine grows on the point. Carefully driven cars can negotiate the roads in good weather.
    Turn west two miles on Forest Road 22 from AZ 67 in De Motte Park (0.8 mile south of the North Rim Country Store), head south two miles on Forest Road 270, then turn west 13 miles on Forest Road 223 to its end. The last mile is within Grand Canyon National Park and will probably be rough.

Timp, North Timp, and Parissawampitts Point
Walk about one-third mile out on Timp Point from the parking area for the best panoramas and to see Thunder River emerge from the north wall of Tapeats Canyon and drop in two large cascades amidst lush cottonwoods. You can also spot the trail that climbs from Thunder River to the top of cliffs and over into Surprise Valley. Binoculars give the best view. Nearby North Timp and Parissawampitts Points also provide good perspectives.
    Rainbow Rim Trail #10 follows the convoluted rim between Timp and Parissawampitts for 18 miles one way. Mountain bikers can make many pleasant loops on this trail and on forest roads in the area. Forest Road 250 connects roads to these points, though it requires a high-clearance vehicle or mountain bike. Cars can reach Timp Point (elev. 7,600 feet) in good weather by turning off AZ 67 at DeMotte Park (0.8 mile south of the North Rim Store on AZ 67), then following Forest Roads 22, 270, 222, 206, and 271. Forest Road 271A branches to North Timp Point from 271. Parissawampitts Point may also be okay for cars; take Forest Roads 22, 270, 222, 206, then 214 to its end.

Crazy Jug Point
This point features great views and good access roads at an elevation of 7,500 feet. Pinyon pine, cliff rose, and some ponderosa grow here. A walk of a few hundred feet from the parking area leads to the overlook. The Colorado River comes out from behind the Powell Plateau, wraps around Great Thumb Mesa, then winds far downstream. Dark, forested volcanoes of Mt. Trumbull and the rest of the Uinkaret Mountains rise to the west. Directly below are Crazy Jug Canyon, Tapeats Amphitheater, and other parts of the Tapeats Creek drainage. The lineup of Fence, Locust, North Timp, Timp, and Fire Points marks the Kaibab Plateau to the southeast. Forest Road 22 provides access either from the east edge of Fredonia (US 89A between Mileposts 607 and 608) or from DeMotte Park (0.8 mile south of the North Rim Store on AZ 67), then you'll follow Forest Roads 425 and 292B. Cars can do this trip in dry weather.

Monument Point and Bill Hall Trailhead
From road's end (elev. 7,050 feet), Bill Hall Trail climbs west up along the rim nearly a mile past pinyon pine, juniper, and lots of cliff rose and wildflowers before plunging steeply to the Thunder River Trail. (See the "Inner Canyon Hiking" section for a description of the hike to Thunder River and Deer Creek Falls.) The ridge just above the trail has a sweeping panorama up Tapeats Canyon and down the Grand Canyon. Near the trailhead area, you'll see effects of the Bridger Burn of 1996. This fire affected 54,000 acres—a large portion of the western Kaibab Plateau. Follow directions for Crazy Jug Point until the junction half a mile before the point, then keep straight 1.7 miles on Forest Road 292A; it's okay for cars in dry weather.

Indian Hollow and Thunder River Trailhead
A tiny campground with an outhouse and tables is 0.4 mile before the end of Forest Road 232 at an elevation of 6,300 feet. Ponderosa pine start to thin out closer to the rim, where pinyon pine, juniper, and Gambel oak predominate. At the rim, a short walk from road's end, you'll have a view of the Deer Creek drainage of the Grand Canyon. Great Thumb Mesa lies directly across to the south. The full length of the Powell Plateau presents itself to the southeast. Down canyon, Mt. Sinyala stands near the mouth of Havasu Canyon.
    Thunder River Trail drops steeply from the rim for the first few hundred yards, then contours west half a mile to a break in the cliffs, a good day-hike destination. (See the "Inner Canyon Hiking" section for a description of the hike to Thunder River and Deer Creek Falls.) From Forest Road 425, turn west on Forest Road 232 to its end. Cautiously driven cars might be able to make it; check with Kaibab National Forest staff.

Sowats Point
This viewpoint and trailhead overlook Jumpup Canyon at an elevation of 6,200 feet. Jumpup-Nail Trail #8 descends into the depths here, six miles and a drop of 2,000 feet—steep in places—to Ranger Trail #41 in Kanab Creek Wilderness. You can start on the same roads as those to Crazy Jug Point, but turn east on Forest Road 233 to its end. High-clearance vehicles will be needed for the last several miles.

Jumpup Point
An amazing canyon panorama greets the rare visitor who ventures out along the rough road on this long point in the western Kaibab Plateau. Five miles before the end of the point, the vast Jumpup Canyon appears on the left, along with its tributaries Sowats Canyon and Indian Hollow. Much of this canyon country lies in Kanab Creek Wilderness, which almost completely surrounds Jumpup Point. Although there's no trail access to the canyons from here, Ranger Trail can be seen far below, where it's joined by Jumpup-Nail Trail, which descends from Sowats Point across to the east. You might spot bighorn sheep on one of the precarious ledges. At road's end, a short walk reveals more views. Lower Kanab Canyon and the Grand Canyon seem almost lost in the vastness. Kanab Canyon and the broad Hack Canyon lie to the west. Mt. Trumbull stands as the highest of the volcanoes across Kanab Canyon. The summit of Mt. Logan, identified by its cliff profile, is just to the left and farther back. Vermilion Cliffs and other high points of Utah lie to the northwest and north.
    Sparse pinyon pine, juniper, sage, and cactus of the high desert cover the point at an elevation of 5,650 feet. The Kaibab National Forest map (North Kaibab District) shows the ways in. From Jacob Lake, go south 0.3 mile on AZ 67, turn west on Forest Road 461, and take Forest Roads 462, 22, 423, 235, 423, then 201 to its end. Forest Road 22 provides access from either the east edge of Fredonia (US 89A between Mileposts 607 and 608) or DeMotte Park (0.8 mile south of the North Rim Store on AZ 67), then you'll follow Forest Roads 423, 235, 423, and 201. A high-clearance vehicle will be needed for the rocky sections of the last 10 miles of road. Mountain bikers enjoy this ride too.

Kanab Creek Wilderness
Kanab Creek has the largest canyon system in the Grand Canyon's North Rim, with headwaters 100 miles north on the Paunsaugunt Plateau in Utah. The wilderness area protects 77,100 acres along the Kanab and its tributaries. Springs in Kanab Canyon nourish large cottonwood trees and lush growths of desert willow, tamarisk, maidenhair fern, and grass. The easy to moderate, 17-mile Ranger Trail wraps around the base of Jumpup Point in the heart of the wilderness. You can reach it on the west side via the easy 21.5-mile Snake Gulch-Kanab Creek Trail #59, as well as from Kanab or Hack Canyons. On the east side, Jumpup Cabin Trailhead and the difficult six-mile Jumpup-Nail Trail #8 provide access. You'll need a Grand Canyon backcountry permit to camp In Kanab Canyon below the junction with Jumpup Canyon. Hack Canyon and a bit of the wilderness lie on BLM land; the office in Kanab, Utah, has information on trailhead access and hiking. Other trailheads lie in the Kaibab National Forest; contact the Fredonia or Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center offices for road and trail information.

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