This remote area of the North Rim lies between Kanab Canyon to the east and the Pine Mountains (Uinkaret Mountains) to the west. An overlook (elev. 4,552 feet) provides awesome Canyon views from sheer cliffs nearly 3,000 feet high above the river. Toroweap, also known as Tuweap or Tuweep, lies 140 road miles west of the developed North Rim area of Bright Angel Point. You'll enjoy the amazing views, hiking, and solitude. Although the area is in Grand Canyon National Park, no entry or campground fees were charged at press time. Obtain hiking information, backcountry permits, and emergency help at the Tuweep Ranger Station, open all year though the ranger does take a few days off now and then. There's an emergency phone here. If you'll need a backcountry permit, it's safer to obtain it beforehand, though you could try for a last-minute permit here or at Pipe Spring National Monument.
Between 1.2 million and 30,000 years ago, eruptions of red-hot lava built about 60 volcanic cones here, even forming dams across the Colorado River. One of the dams towered nearly 2,000 feet, but the river washed it away long ago. Pinyon pine, juniper, cactus, and small flowering plants cover the plateau. Watch for rattlesnakes. Hikers can enjoy many easy rambles near the rim, a difficult descent to the river near Lava Falls, a scramble up Vulcans Throne, or multi-day trips on the Tuckup Trail.
The views begin at road's end, where sheer cliffs drop to the Colorado River. Mount Sinyala, a butte 25 miles east of the overlook, marks the mouth of Havasu Canyon. Most of the Havasupai who live on the reservation dwell in Supai village, nine miles up Havasu Canyon. The Hualapai Indian Reservation lies directly across the Colorado River from the overlook. Vulcans Anvil, also known as Vulcan's Forge or Thor's Hammer, rises in the middle of the river directly below. This 50-foot-high lava neck is all that remains of an extinct lava vent.
Lava Falls, visible 1.5 miles downstream, roars with a vengeance. You can see it from a point just one-eighth mile to the right from the overlook. Debris from Prospect Canyon on the South Rim forms the rapids, perhaps the roughest water in the Grand Canyon. Water flowing between 8,000 and 20,000 cubic feet per second drops abruptly, then explodes into foam and spray. River-runners commonly rate these rapids a 10-plus on a scale of 1–10. You can reach Lava Falls on a very steep and strenuous hike, not recommended in summer (See Lava Falls Route in the Inner Canyon Hiking section).
Saddle Horse Canyon Trail
The trailhead for this easy hike lies beside the main road 5.7 miles south of the ranger station. The path heads east to a Colorado River overlook, then north with views of wonderfully weathered rock near Saddle Horse Canyon; it's about 1.6 miles roundtrip.
Esplanade Loop Trail
This 2.9-mile hiking trail begins at the campground, 5.4 miles south of the ranger station.
The 600-foot-high rounded cinder cone west of the overlook is one of the youngest volcanoes in the area. There's no trail, but you can hike to the top in about 1.5 miles roundtrip; it's most easily reached by road via normally dry Toroweap Lake.
Backed by low cliffs and overlooking small canyons, this small campground is 5.4 miles past the ranger station and 0.9 mile before the overlook at the end of the road. A couple of campsites may be available at the overlook, too. There's no water, camping charge, or permit needed for the established sites. Each site has an eight-person, two-vehicle limit; no reservations are accepted. If all campsites are full, you must obtain the expensive backcountry permit for other areas in the park or simply drive north and find an undeveloped spot on BLM land. Bring lots of water, extra food, and camping gear.
Three roads lead in to the area. The most popular one begins at AZ 389, nine miles west of Fredonia; turn south 40 miles on County 109 at the sign for "Toroweap 61," continue straight seven miles on County 5, and straight 14 miles on County 115. These dirt roads are usually in good condition when dry but have washboard sections. Watch for livestock and take it slow through washes and cattleguards. The last few miles are slow and rocky, but careful drivers should make it. The Tuweep Ranger Station is on the left 6.3 miles before the overlook. Beyond the ranger station, Toroweap Point (elev. 6,393 feet) towers on the left; dumpy Vulcans Throne (elev. 5,102 feet) sits on the right.
You can also drive to Toroweap on a 90-mile dirt road from St. George (BLM Road 1069 and Country 5 for 76 miles, then right 14 miles on County 115) or a 58-mile road from Colorado City (County 5 for 44 miles, then continue straight 14 miles on County 115). Avoid driving these roads after heavy rain or snow, especially the route from Colorado City. Snows usually block the road from St. George between October and May. Water, food, and gas are not available in this country. Bring a map—the BLM's Arizona Strip one is best—as signs may be missing at some junctions.
On to the Western Arizona Strip