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Toroweap Overlook – the most scenic view of Grand Canyon

Planning a trip to Toroweap Overlook – the most scenic peak in the Grand Canyon? Since it’s not easy to get there, check out our tips and photos! It is a remote and isolated area of the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim. A trip there requires special preparation and effort, but it’s worth it. The view from Toroweap Overlook is the most moving over the entire Grand Canyon. We have been there a few times, so read our detailed guide to the Torowep Overlook, where we share our experiences with you.

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toroweap overlook

Toroweap Overlook – Introduction

Toroweap Overlook, also known as Toroweap Point or simply Tuweep, is a spectacular vantage point from which you can view the canyon and several volcanic ash mounds and lava flows up close. It is nearly 3,000 feet (915 m) above the Colorado River and it is from here that the most beautiful photos of the Grand Canyon are taken.
Tuweep in Paiute (pronounced Tu-VEEP) refers to “the earth”.

Toroweap Point is the least visited viewpoint among the North Rim Viewpoints and South Rim Viewpoints. Here you can enjoy the Grand Canyon for what it is. A deep, awe-inspiring canyon created by the erosion of the Colorado River.

We love the Toroweap Overlook, with the spectacular Toroweap Formation and Colorado River in the steep canyon. We visited it several times. What’s more, we also spent two nights at Tuweep Campground, so we were able to admire the sunrises and sunsets and listen to the sound of the Colorado River. Below you will find details to help you prepare for this fantastic adventure.

TRAVEL TIP: If you plan more time in the Grand Canyon National Park, check our detailed guide with lots of tips to The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from North Rim and The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints from South Rim.

Toroweap Overlook – the best of Grand Canyon Viewpoints

Why is Toroweap so breathtaking? Why for us it’s the most beautiful view of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River? Because it’s pure wilderness, it’s a remote experience. It’s a unique place where you can hear the sound of silence. This place’s not too popular, so it’s uncrowded because the road is challenging. It requires not only a 4WD, high clearance but also the skills of the driver. There are no handrails or other security features, too, so it’s rustic. Pure nature itself. Space, the abyss, and the sound of the Colorado River.

What is Toroweap Overlook? Geology of Toroweap Formation

The view from Toroweap Overlook is dramatically different, especially if you visited North Rim and South Rim of Grand Canyon viewpoints. Toroweap Overlook peers out over an abrupt gorge set a broad corridor 3,000 feet (915 m) below the rim.
Eight million-year-old lava lows and conical black cinder cones stud the landscape. Toroweap formation area is similar to the rest of the Grand Canyon but includes a more recent chapter of volcanism.

The Toroweap Fault underlies the valley, crosses the Colorado River, and continues south up Prospect Canyon. Volcanic activity began along this fault around seven million years ago. Beginning about 1.2 million years ago, lava flowed into Toroweap Valley, forming the flat-bottomed valley we see today. Vulcan’s Throne, Mount Trumbull, and the Uinkaret Mountains are all the result of volcanic activity.

More than a dozen times, lava spilled over the canyon rim, damming the Colorado River. Remnants of these flows and dams are visible just west of the overlook. Sediments clinging to the canyon walls high above the river indicate the formation of large lakes. The river eroded the lava dams and continued its downward cutting.

From Toroweap, it is less than one mile across the canyon to the Hualapai Indian Reservation famous from Havasupai Waterfalls on the South Rim, making this place one of the narrowest and deepest segments of the inner canyon. The colorful red-rock of the Hermit Shale and Supai sandstones to the east contrasts with the black, basaltic lava flows to the west.

Toroweap Overlook

Where is Toroweap Overlook?

Toroweap Overlook is a part of the Grand Canyon North Rim called Uinkaret Plateau, known as the “Place of Pines.” The closest Town is Kanab (Utah) and Fredonia (Arizona). Kanab is also a perfect place to stay for a night. From Kanab are 72 miles and at least 3 hours of driving.

Tips Before you Drive to Toroweap

Vehicle

High clearance vehicles are required. Vehicles and vehicle combinations longer than 22 feet (6.7 m) are prohibited. This is the total length from end to end, including anything towed. The park rangers check it at the entrance, and if you do not meet these conditions, you can be turned back. Ensure you have enough fuel, a full-size spare tire, jack/lift, and owner’s manual.
Tow service costs $1,000–2,000, and assistance is not guaranteed.

No Services

Services are non-existent at Toroweap: there is no water, gas, food, lodging, or phone service. So fill up to full. Just in case, pack more water, more food, and warm clothes. On our first trip to Toroweap, we could not stay overnight. We had no permit. So after sunset, we had to leave the park. Carelessly, we focused on taking pictures of the area just outside the park gate. It was November, and night fell very quickly, and the temperature dropped with it. It was so dark that we could not safely continue driving on this rough road. We stayed for the night on a side road in an uncomfortable car. Luckily, we always prepare ourselves thoroughly for road trips. Therefore, check out our Road Trip Packing List and Day Hiking Packing List before your Toroweap adventure.

Day-Use Only Area

Tuweep Overlook is a day-use area. It’s open sunrise to 30 minutes past sunset when the gate is locked. And you must leave the park if you don’t have a permit. Pets must be leashed. Drones are prohibited. Fires and charcoal grills are prohibited.

Tuweep Overlook
Tuweep Overlook

Permits

Camping requires a reservation permit (below we give you details). What’s more permitted campers must arrive by sunset. Advance permits are required for camping and overnight use at Tuweep Campground and in all backcountry use areas. So plan it ahead.

Weather

The weather on the plateau changes quite often. If a downpour or heavy rain, the road may be completely impassable. Therefore, be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip. Check also alerts on the official NPS website.

Entrance Fee

Although Toroweap Overlook is extremely remote from the South Rim and North Rim, it is still a part of the Grand Canyon National Park. Entrance fees apply as for each national park. So, don’t forget to pack America the Beautiful Pass. Annual America the Beautiful Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country, including all US national parks. Pass is valid for 1 year from the month of purchase.

Tuweep Overlook

Driving Directions to Toroweap Overlook and Tuweep Campground

The Toroweap Overlook is located in the western part of the park on the North Rim. Driving to Toroweap Overlook is an adventure itself. Not every driver can do that, and not every car does. As a result, bring tire plugs and a portable air compressor to repair flat tires. The road is primitive with sharp rocks, deep holes, dust. It’s a rough road. Due to this, it is recommended to have 4WD to get to Toroweap Overlook and Tuweep Campground. High clearance vehicles are required.

You can choose one of three main routes to Tuweep Overlook from AZ 389 between Fredonia, Arizona, and St.George, Utah. And it takes you about three hours’ driving time one way.

  • Sunshine Route: from Fredonia, Arizona, by Country Road #109. Wich is 61 miles (98 km) primitive road featuring sharp rocks, wash-boarding, and dust. We did it a few times, and it’s doable if you drive safely, have 4WD, and have high clearance.
  • Clayhole Route: County Road #5 leaves AZ 389 at Colorado City, Arizona. It is 56 miles (90 km) long and impassable when wet.
  • Main Street Route: BLM Road #1069 and County Road #5 from St. George is 90 miles (145 km) long. This scenic route is impassable in winter due to snow and mud.
Road to Toroweap

Tuweep Campground near Toroweap Overlook

Tuweep Campground is located next to Toroweap Overlook and is one of our favorites in the Grand Canyon area (the second is Havasu Falls Camping on the South Rim of Grand Canyon). Why do we like it so much? Because you can hear the silence. You can admire the Grand Canyon rim. Above all, you can listen to the sound of the Colorado River. Finally, sunsets and sunrises and stargazing from this edge moved us to tears. There is no civilization, coverage, electricity, or water available. There is only you and the infinite space of Toroweap formation.

Tuweep Campground

Tuweep Campground Permits and Facilities

First of all, you need a permit to stay overnight at Tuweep Campground. Advance permits are required for camping at Tuweep Campground and backcountry use areas. You can obtain a permit at go.nps.gov/tuweep.

Follow the directions on the official website. Complete a Permit Request Form . Use”TCG” for the use area, entry, and exit location codes and mail or fax the completed form to the address at the top of the form. A “TCG” permit costs $10 per permit plus $8 per group per night. Permits cannot be issued at Tuweep. Camping is prohibited on the land adjacent to the park and at the airstrip.

Permits cannot be issued at Tuweep. But if you travel after the 15 of November, you can ask a ranger about the provisional permit. If there are no other reservations, you can get it at Tuweep. We got a temporary permit for two nights. One night costs 13$ (November 2019). However, if you plan to be during the season, you have to apply for the permit in advance (a minimum of one month before arrival) because the place is gaining popularity and might be full.

There are no facilities, except for composting toilets and picnic tables. There are nine small-group campsites for one to six people with a maximum of two vehicles, and one large-group campsite for 7-11 people with a maximum of four cars.

Tuweep Campground
Tuweep Campground

Tuweap Campground Rules:

  • vehicles and vehicles combinations longer than 22 feet (6,7 m) are prohibited (this is total length)
  • campers must arrive by sunset
  • fires and charcoal grills prohibited
  • store all food and garbage in a vehicle, pack out all trash
  • seven-night limit.
Toroweap Overlook
Toroweap Overlook

Where to stay if you don’t have a permit for the Tuweap Campground?

If you can’t stay at Tuweep Campground the best place for staying is Kanab. We love this small town with great lodging, food, and a perfect atmosphere. Our favorite lodging in Kanab is Best Western. But if you prefer RV Campground our favorite in Kanab is Hitch-N-Post RV Park.

What’s more, if you leave Kanab early in the morning, you have the chance to spend the whole day at Toroweap Overlook, wait for the sun to go down, and safely return to the town just after sunset. However, remember that it is forbidden to stay at Toroweap at night without a permit, so leave the park just after sunset.



Booking.com

Toroweap Overlook Hiking Trails

Tuckup Trailhead from Tuweep Campground

Our favorite hike from Toroweap Overlook is The Tucup Trail, which gives you a spectacular taste of Esplanade slick-rock. The trail is 3 miles (5 km) long to Cove Canyon. You will be rewarded with endless views of the Grand Canyon area. And you can listen to the roar of the Colorado River.

How to get to the trailhead?

Access the Tuckup Trailhead is on the north of Tuweep Campground or, if camping, from site number 10.

How does this trail look?

Toroweap Overlook is dramatically different than other Grand Canyon viewpoints. Tuweep peers out over a steep gorge set in a broad corridor 3,000 feet (915 m) below the rim. Walk to the edge is a breathtaking experience, because Toroweep Overlook is the wildest of viewpoints, and there are no facilities.

What is the difficulty level, and how to prepare for this hike?

It’s an easy-moderate trail. It leads through the plateau above the cliff of the Canyon. There is no water available, so take a lot of water and nutritious snacks for your hike. Especially during summer, when it’s sweltering. The area is rocky and desert. Watch your step to protect the delicate ecosystem and stay on the trail. Above all, watch out for cactuses that densely cover the plateau, because you can hurt yourself with cactus spines. Take trekking boots with excellent traction and trekking pools.
And finally, be careful of the edges. A 3000-foot (910 m) abyss is spectacular and offers dramatic views, but it might also be dangerous if you step too close.

Toroweap Overlook

Saddle Horse Loop Trail from Tuweep Campground

It’s an easy and short walk with spectacular views. If you have only a few hours on Toroweap it’s worth taking this trail. This 45-minute loop offers breathtaking views of the Colorado River in the steep gorge below the rim. It’s also a colorful walk through the native plant gardens protected and nourished by beautiful displays of micro-biotic crusted soils. Every inch of crusted toppings signifies 10-years of growth and erosion.
Access to the trail is along the road between Toroweap Overlook and Tuweap Campground or from the trailhead near campsite number 5.

Toroweap Overlook

9 Comments

  1. Wow – spectacular pictures of the Grand Canyon. The Toroweap Overlook seems to be really a off-the-beaten-path tip. Getting a permit to camp overnight is a must, I would say. I will definitely save this post for a later visit!

  2. I have not visited the Grand Canyon’s north rim. The Toroweap Overlook looks amazing, I love the view over the Colorado River. Good to know a high clearance vehicle is required, that road does look rough!

  3. I was more than happy to check out your pics from the Toroweap Overlook since we may never get to this point above the Grand Canyon North Rim. Although if we can get to the trail head, it was great to know that the trail was easy to moderate. We enjoyed the rougher views of the North Rim on our last visit. But your views were even more stunning.

  4. As an amateur photographer, I always look for inspiring places and architecture to shoot. So you had me at this spectacular vantage point. What a view from of the canyon of the volcanic ash mounds and lava flows up close. I need to add this to my list.

  5. There’s a lot to consider before visiting Toroweap, I had no idea! The permits are a good idea, because I’m sure it also helps campers to stay stay. As always, I’m in awe of your photos, you should sell them to National Geographic! One for my America bucket list.

  6. What a wonderful post on the Toroweap overlook. I have never visited this part of Grand Canyon.Seems like an excellent place for hiking and camping.

  7. I can’t believe I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon yet! It’s always so lovely in photos. And the Toroweap Overlook looks like the perfect place for viewing. It’s gorgeous!!

  8. Wow what an incredible spot to take in the Grand Canyon – the viewpoints are amazing! Also wow 3hrs from the nearest town, that really is in the middle of nowhere – thanks for all the practical information like making sure you have enough gas, water, food etc – hoping to tour the US at some point so this is super helpful

    Laura x

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