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Old 06-28-2019, 10:44 PM   #1
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Location: Bonita (San Diego County) CA
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Trip Advice

Hi Everyone. Driving a 4wd Sportsmobile EB-350.

Seeking input/advice for a Fall road trip of 6-7 weeks. Depending on a home project, we will leave from Bay Area Sept 10-13th or San Diego Sept 20th+/-. If we leave from Bay Area, would probably head to Great Basin NP then North Rim. If from SD, then straight to North Rim. Then Canyon de Chelley and Chaco.

Want to return to Cochise Stronghold and Chiricahua's so I guess it is South after Chaco. East to Big Bend, perhaps Fort Davis State Park. On to San Antonio to visit familyOr we could do Chiricahua's/Cochise on our return West.

We enjoy FS camping, hiking, birding, historic sites, museums. Looking for input on route, timing, sites, dispersed camping, must "eats", anything else.

Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:07 PM   #2
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Grand Canyon North Rim

We love the North Rim of the Grand Canyon! There is great dispersed camping at lookout points on many of the forest roads that head west from the main road in from Jacob Lake. The forest ranger station right in Jacob Lake can give you up to date info and a map. We stayed one night at Locust Point (picture attached), should have planned for two by the time it took to drive down the forest road. There is a mountain bike trail along the rim. Unfortunately, it got so windy by evening that we were afraid to have a fire. Also got nervous sleeping in the penthouse and ended up lowering it in the middle of the night and sleeping down below. We were there in 2017. If you don't have time to drive all the way down the forest road but just need to overnight there are lots of spots closer to the main road. You can reserve a campsite at the North Rim CG, trail over to the main lodge is a nice hike to go for a happy hour beer and munchies. Just take a headlamp because you will linger to watch the sunset and have to hike home in the dark.

Don't miss the scenic drive in the national park to Point Imperial, if you go early morning you might be the only people at the lookouts. We hiked part way down the North Kaibab trail. Loved the hike so much that we returned the next year to backpack rim to rim! Also an excellent adventure for first-time backpackers in their 60's!
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Old 07-27-2019, 05:02 PM   #3
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Other Grand Canyon sites along the way

I agree with Yonan, the North Rim is a spectacular place to visit. I've stayed on a couple occasions in the national forest right along the rim. I take the last forest road to the east (611 on Google maps) just before the park entrance. If you get to the entrance grab a park map and talk with the rangers. Then make a U-turn and take you first right into the forest. Just wander back through the woods and you'll find sites all along the rim.

A couple of years ago I had good luck showing up at the North Rim campground early in the day and waiting for cancellations I was able to stay three nights without having a reservation.

There is some off-road camping within the park. Point Sublime is one of the most spectacular 300 degree views of the canyon. It's about 20 miles off the main road and didn't really have any challenges. If you want to spend the night there you'll need to make a reservation ahead of time since sites are extremely limited.

Another spectacular stop before the North Rim would be Toroweap on the west end of the Grand Canyon. It's 60 miles off Hwy 389 and is an easy off-road, although the last mile has some bumps. Again, reservations are recommended. I was able to get two nights by checking with the rangers at Pipe Spring National Monument (on Hwy 389 before the Toroweap turnoff). They called the North Rim ranger station and got permission.

Have a great trip.


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Old 07-27-2019, 07:22 PM   #4
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Bryce and/or Zion are not to be missed if in the area of GC North. Bryce can arguably be a day trip unless you're a big hiker or mountain biker. Zion - amazing place but will be hotter closer to Sep. I'd make that a later leg.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:07 PM   #5
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If in S AZ might also spend some time at some of the state parks.

I like Catalina up in Oro Valley; nice campground with lots of good hiking and biking, and you're still close enough to Tucson to go in for dinner at La Poca Cosa or something. And it's a decent base to explore the Saguaro Parks, Sabino, and the Desert Museum (the nearby King Canyon hike is a good one, all the way up Mt Wasson).

And Kartchner Caverns are worth seeing. There's a campground there too, but not much else beside that and the caves. I love the campground at Chiricahua, BTW, since it's pretty old school in a CCC way.
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