Exploring Whitmore Canyon
- Season: Summer – early fall
- Difficulty: Easy (but rocky)
- Length: 4 miles round trip
- Notes: All OHV must be street legal to take this trip
One of the best things about the North Rim is that is gets a fraction of the traffic of the South Rim. You have to work a bit to get here, but it’s worth the effort.
Plus, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has a lot to offer when it comes to off-roading. There are many miles of forest service roads that are open to OHV use with plenty of them ending at an overlook of the canyon.
Whitmore Canyon is off the beaten path even by North Grand Canyon standards. It’s a fun, out of the way jaunt with a pretty amazing payoff – a horseshoe view of the Colorado River from a dead end overlook. The red cliffs tower 3,000 feet overhead while the river flow 2,000 feet below. This is a view of the Grand Canyon that not many people get to experience.
Two Main Staging Areas
Mt. Trumbull School House
This is the primary staging area for this region. Jeep and off roading clubs usually take a break here to regroup. There’s plenty of parking with room for trailers and a pit toilet with no tp.
This school house was recreated after arsonists burned down the original in 2000. You can go inside the school house and see how it looked back in early 1900s.
It’s 15 miles from the school house to the overlook.
Bar 10 Ranch
This is an even closer staging area for the trip, but you need to be an overnight guest or make arrangements with the ranch to park there. They are not open for walk ins. The ranch also rents ATVs and does guided tours, so that’s an option if you don’t have your own ride.
It’s a couple miles from the ranch to the overlook.
This ATV Grand Canyon trip takes you on a road through the Bar 10 Ranch. A sign requests travelers (who aren’t guests) to not trespass or hunt and to simply drive through (“Thru traffic and invited guests only”). It’s perfectly legal to drive through, but always respect private property.
This area is very VERY VERY remote!
Bring plenty of gas, snacks and water. Don’t visit in the main heat of the summer, it’s pretty hot. The best time to go would be mid – late September.
The dirt road is rocky with a slight grade down. It’s not technical or dangerous, but you will get bounced around pretty good. The road dead ends at the canyon overlook. You travel back the way you came.
National Park Service: Whitmore Canyon Overlook
Additional Area Information
If you feel like getting your cardio on, you can hike 1.6 miles down to the Colorado River on the Whitmore Trail. Of course, you then have to hike 1.6 miles miles back uphill.
Here’s a nice write up of the trip from a 4×4 club – Dixie 4 Wheel Drive: Whitmore Canyon at North Rim of the Grand Canyon
There are miles of ATV trails and dirt roads in this area for exploring if you’d like some more adventure.