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Old 10-13-2018, 12:06 AM   #1
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So. Utah/No. AZ fall camping ideas needed

Until recently, I have usually only had 2-3 days available for camping trips and have stuck fairly close to Southern California as a result. Now I find myself with 5 days and a desire to broaden my horizons a bit. My thought was to explore a bit of either Southern Utah or Northern Arizona. The plan is to spend day 1 driving as far as possible on pavement and overnighting in a developed campground. Day two would be some easy to moderate off-roading ending up in an isolated spot where we can camp for two nights. Day four is driving back as far as Las Vegas and celebrating our wedding anniversary there, then driving back to L.A. on day 5.

The dates in question are 10/25 - 10/29. It seems like many campgrounds in the North Rim area are closed up by then. Areas like Red Cliffs NCA or Dixie National Forest look more promising. Last year we got caught in the rain and did some sheet metal damage on some slippery dirt roads, so I am a little wary about being out on muddy roads again.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-13-2018, 08:14 AM   #2
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If it stays dry, you could hit Fire Point on the north rim. Where the road hits the GC park boundary, there is a well used boondocking site right by the fence. You can drive or hike about a half mile to Fire Point itself and there is a backcountry campsite there as well if open and you have the permit. Great view and easy to get to on a good road. Well... after the boundary fence the road gets challenging with a big mud pit that was dry when we were there in May. People have been driving around it so not a big deal. Hi clearance will be all you need for that half mile section.

Just a suggestion.
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Old 10-13-2018, 08:39 AM   #3
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Just keep in mind that the weather has now changed to a fall pattern. A week ago the desert got some pretty good rain...I monitor a bunch of fire cameras on mountain peaks across Nevada and now some of them are showing snow. A lot of the area you are talking about is high elevation - north rim of the Grand Canyon ranges from around 9,000 feet to down around 5,800 feet in the desert to the west. So as you found out...mind the weather forecasts. The low here yesterday was 22 degrees and I live at only 4400 feet.

I'd find some low desert to explore. I prefer sand and rocks to mud and snow when its wet!
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Old 10-13-2018, 08:44 AM   #4
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I've found some great spots in the Prescott NF.

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Old 10-13-2018, 11:01 AM   #5
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In the area near Grand Canyon North Rim you also have Bryce and Zion National Parks. I think Zion will be best option if weather gets extremely cold. We did camp in GC North once in late Oct but cut it short when nights got well into teens. Those things don't bother me anymore.


I would personally proportion a trip to that area more to Zion but you can't do it all in one trip. If you want to focus on GC - maybe a diversion to Bryce on the way back to LV would be fun. Zion itself is worth 2-3 days easily.


The drive into the GC North Rim is outstanding. Expect bovine on the road at parts.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:15 PM   #6
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I could skip the Grand Canyon. Zion and Bryce look nice but being a National Park, isn't camping restricted to developed campgrounds? If I camped at say South Campground, is there much to see and do there or does one need to pack up and drive away to get to anything interesting?
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:49 PM   #7
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I just got back from the Bryce area. 1 mile west of hwy 63 into Bryce is East Fork Road a gravel road that goes into Tropic Reservoir and is all BLM land open camping with lots of mild 4X4 roads or you can rent ATV'S or a UTV at Reds in Bryce and go tour around. The fall colors were great 2 weeks ago. It's about 9 hours drive.
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:18 PM   #8
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You might try Toroweap on the North Rim of Grand Canyon. It's only about 4-5000 ft above sea level.
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:24 PM   #9
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Tropic Reservoir looks very interesting. Kings Creek campground looks like a good place to start and there seems to be lots of OHV trails in the area to explore. If the weather looks bad we could just stay in the campground as there appear to be a few nice hiking trails that start there. Thanks Don!
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:33 AM   #10
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Another place I really like is the Grand Staircase Escalante area. It's opposite of the mountains the lower elevation will be a little warmer. Start at Big Water by lake Powell and drive up to Escalante. Lots of dirt/gravel roads in the area. Visit Alstrom Point, Hole in the Wall, and 50 Mile Bench. Lots of slot canyons and rock formations to hike and explore. BLM land lots of camping.
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