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Overnight Toroweap Photography Tour
Fully Guided Tour
Private Tour Upgrade Available?
What is included on your tours?
Daytours include pickup and dropoff from local hotels, off-road transportation, natural history narration, guided hiking, photo advice, snacks, water, and lunch on tours of 6 hours or more. Our multi-day tours include all of this plus camping equipment, camp management, three excellent meals, stargazing, sunsets and sunrises for the photographer, and lots more time outside.
How soon should we book?
This depends on several factors, but our best advice is to book as soon as you finalize your plans. We do fill up, and if you have a limited window of opportunity, you may miss out. The smaller your availability window and the tighter your schedule, the earlier you need to book in order to ensure availability. The larger your group, especially if it involves more than one of our trucks (>7 passengers), the earlier you need to book.
How do I reserve my date(s)?
You are able to book online or by contacting us. We do require a 50% deposit to reserve your daytour date(s) and a 1/3 deposit to reserve a multi-day tour. The remaining balance is due the day of your tour at departure. Your guide can take any method of payment.
Can I pay via cash, Paypal, credit card, check?
What is your weather policy? What is your cancellation/reschedule policy?
These policies are all found on our Policies Page. PLEASE NOTE: Because of the constantly changing weather, targets moving over the whole region (our trucks), unpredictability of weather forecasts, the complexities of different road surfaces in different areas, the variable nature of storms as far as coverage and volume in this area, and the fact that some of the best photography weather is often on days with a chance of rain, we do not reflexively cancel tours without solid information. However, as your safety is always paramount in situations where incontrovertible evidence leads us to believe that potentially dangerous situations are probable, we will cancel tours if necessary. We will assume tours will run until departure time. We do not cancel tours until departure time as the most relevant information is at hand. Also if we know of a particular area or time that will be a problem we will often consult with all parties on the tour as to how best to go about re-routing, postponement, or cancellation. Trying to manage this on the phone hours before the tour is nearly impossible. If a party decides to cancel prior to departure time for reasons of weather forecasts, the cancellation will be subject to the standard policy. Cancellations made by us at departure will be accompanied by a full refund if no other solution can be reached. Also the information we have at any given time is often incomplete. For example, we do not know if the Wave is covered in snow or if the route is hikeable, whether roads are impassable in a given location etc….as we do not have a webcam at these remote locations. We do try to network to get better information if we can. Sometimes incontrovertible evidence is only found once the tour has begun. Guessing, followed by reflexive cancellations, we have learned, produces more poor results for everyone involved, than the strategy we take. It is very, very complex making these decisions. We are always monitoring the weather and have many years of experience managing the logistics that are affected by weather in this area. Please trust us to act in both our best interests.
What kind of vehicles do we tour in? Do you offer ATV/Jeep Tours?
All of our tours are run in Chevrolet Suburbans or Crew Cab Silverados for comfort and safety. We do not offer ATV or Jeep Tours.
What do I need to bring on a daytour/overnight?
The biggest things you need to remember on a daytour are a small pack to carry your own water (essential especially on tours with more hiking), jacket for warmth and rain (essential), boots or high top sneakers (optional but optimal in sand), any essential medication, and camera. Other items include extra layers when cold, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, and other typical daytime sundries. For scheduled overnights bring all the same except an extra layer or two. You do not need a change of clothes. For overnights in April or October bring a warm hat and gloves. For custom multi-day trips just add a change of clothes or two. On all tours we provide water and snacks. On daytours of more than 6 hours and multi-days more than 24 hours we provide lunch. On scheduled overnights of 24 hours we do not provide lunch so please eat before you come.
What is the weather like there at various times of year?
We want to do one of your overnight tours, but aren’t able to make any of your scheduled dates. What are our options?
Depending upon our schedule, we may be able to add or shift dates. Please contact us with which tour you are interested in and which dates you are considering. Custom multi-days can be arranged APR-OCT depending on availability.
Guest Experiences on the Toroweap / Tuweep Tour
Very knowledgeable and pleasant guide, no problems traveling to and around very remote location. Visiting Toroweap- the Western part of the Grand Canyon was unforgettable and led to some photos which all my friends and family have been amazed by. Definitely a highlight of a recent long Southwest trip. Only negative is that price seemed to be slightly on the higher end, especially for solo travelers, but in this case well worth it.
Flyer02153382011 – June 8, 2019
I’d been wanting to visit Toroweap Overlook for several years, after seeing photos of this amazing place online. However, there was no way I was taking my own car out there and when I found that Dreamland did a day-trip there, I had to book it! My wife & I had a wonderful time. The 60-mile dirt road in was treacherous at times, but our guide Andrea was a skilled driver and navigating everything the road threw at us with no problem. I also was appreciative that Dreamland took note of my request when we booked the trip. Sometimes, if I’m in the back-seat or far back seat of an 8-passenger vehicle, I can get car-sick. I asked about reserving the front seat – and they did it for me! It was a very casual, laid-back, “let’s enjoy the trek in & out and the natural beauty of what we’re going to see” kind of trip, exactly what we were looking for. Dreamland goes to so many destinations – I know that my wife & I will be back in Kanab and book with them again in the future.
davej533 – June 3, 2019
My cousin, her friend and I took a trip to Toroweap with Dreamland Safari Tours. Our guide, Steve, is a natural-born outdoor guy who took us on a safe, information packed tour of a remote facade of the Grand Canyon that few people ever see. Steve showed us the beautiful scenery, as well as a herd of pronghorn antelope that ran across our path. We love Dreamland Safari and we will ask for Steve for all future trips.
Discover41920760798 – May 16, 2019
We did the White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes tour, and the Peek-a-Boo / White Wave tour. Our guides on both these tours were excellent, they were knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and very personable. The lunch, drinks and snacks provided were very good. I don’t think we could have had any better tours.
Dreamer54252255082 – April 14, 2019
I went to Toroweap with Dreamland Safari and had a great time! Elizabeth and Orion are great guides. They are knowledgeable and personable. Toroweap is an amazing place to visit, but very remote. Traveling solo, I wouldn’t have gone by myself. It was great to be with people who know the area and would know what to do if something went wrong. This is my second trip with Dreamland Safari. I took a tour of White Pocket with them in 2017 and had just as great a time. I recommend taking a trip with Dreamland Safari.
ExploreArizona – April 22, 2019
Our Overnight Toroweap Photography Tours allow photographers, couples, and families to optimize their wilderness travel adventure at this remote Grand Canyon north rim viewpoint.
*While this tour is often offered on a custom basis to larger groups, we also schedule several standing dates so that couples and singles can take advantage of this exclusive, private Grand Canyon experience.
All in all you get one of the best wilderness travel adventure tour values in the Southwestern USA. This tour includes:
- Lots more time to enjoy this remote Grand Canyon viewpoint
- Optimal Photographic timing to capture sunset, sunrise, and some of the best night skies in the continental United States.
- Excellent home-cooked meals for dinner and breakfast. No lunches included.
- Comfortable camp environment with toilet, tables, chairs, tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, and down comforters when cold.
- Safe, comfortable 4×4 transportation on 62 miles of rough dirt road. Rides to and from the campsite to the Rim viewpoints can be arranged upon request and with limited availability due to logistical considerations.
- Wilderness First Responder guide and satellite messenger in case of emergency.
The Overnight Toroweap Photography Tours currently scheduled are listed below. Sometimes dates are added, deleted, or shifted so check back from time to time. If you wish to book this tour click the “Book Now” button below to get started with online booking or give us a call at 435-644-5506. Please also give us a call if you do not see your desired dates below. Overnight season is April through October.
May 25-26 **special: total lunar eclipse**
SPECIAL PERMITS ARE NOT NECESSARY FOR THE OVERNIGHT TOROWEAP PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS. Camping Reservations through the backcountry permit office ARE included in the price and obtained by us well in advance.
PLEASE NOTE: Because of new government requirements we have to collect contact information for every individual in your group. Please be prepared to submit every participant’s full name, address, email, and phone number. The National Park Services reserves the right to contact any members of a booked party individually to ensure that they are a “verified client”.
Fully Guided Tour
12:00pm – Guests meet at at 4350 East Mountain View Drive, Kanab, Utah 84741. They may leave cars or extra bags here. Please eat lunch before you come.
2:45pm – Camping equipment is dropped off at the Toroweap campground and guests are escorted to the rim.
3:00pm – Guide orients the group to the rim area and leads a short hiking tour to the upstream and downstream views then returns to camp to set up. Guests have free time until dark/dinner.
7:45 – 8:45pm – Sunset photography
9:15pm – Dinner (late dinner allows for sunset photography until dark)
10:00pm til bedtime – Clean up, campfire, discussion, relaxation, astronomy, star photos
5:00am – Wake up call, coffee and muffins
6:30 – 7:30am – Sunrise photography
8:00am – Full cowboy breakfast
8:30am – Guide packs up while guests explore the area around camp
9:30am – Depart Toroweap campground
12:00pm – Arrive in Kanab
When National Geographic published a special edition commemorating the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park, they chose a view of Toroweap for its cover. There really is no other Grand Canyon viewpoint like it. Sheer red cliffs drop 3,000 feet into the mighty Colorado River. Standing here feels like standing in the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon – no hiking required. It is less than one mile across the canyon to the Hualapai Indian Reservation on the South Rim, making this one of the narrowest and deepest segments of the inner canyon.
Those standing on the rim at Toroweap can actually hear the turbid river flowing through the giant gorge and rafters hooting and hollering after a thrill ride through Lava Falls. Extensive river views both up and downstream mark Toroweap. The colorful red-rock of the Hermit Shale and Supai sandstones to the east contrast with the black, basaltic lava flows to the west.
Toroweap is the Paiute word for dry or desolate valley. Tuweep came into use to describe the local white settlement and later the park area. The Paiute word Tuweep refers to the earth.
Getting to Toroweap
Our tours traverse Antelope Valley Road, 61 unpaved miles, to this remote Grand Canyon Viewpoint. We access this road from Highway 389 between Fredonia, Arizona and Pipe Spring National Monument. There is little to no phone reception on the road, flat tires are common, especially in vehicles with typical “street” tires, and other vehicles that could offer help are few and far between. Sections of slippery, sticky mud and deep ruts develop when the road is wet, and occasionally flash floods in washes make the road temporarily impassable. Once in the park, the Esplanade sandstone makes for rough road. The last few miles require good ground clearance, sturdy tires and four-wheel drive really comes in handy here.
Did you know you can visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the winter? Toroweap is many miles from the more frequented viewpoints at the Grand Canyon National Park lodge at the North Rim and the road to Tuweep does not climb over the Kaibab Plateau. Therefore, we offer tours to Tuweep year-round. It does occasionally snow on the road to Toroweap, but it usually melts quickly, so there aren’t very many days in a given year that prevent us from making the trek. The elevation at Toroweap is only 4,600 feet, compared to 8,300 at the North Rim Lodge.
Human History at Tuweep
The first humans in the Tuweep region were ice-age hunters who lived a nomadic hunting-gathering existence in what was a milder climate. The Ancestral Puebloans, arriving about 2,000 years ago, farmed the area. They migrated eastward around A.D.1300. The most recent Native Americans living here were the Paiute. They now live to the north. There are 500 Paiutes living on 188 square-mile reservation. We pass through part of that reservation on the way to Toroweap, and sometimes we spot wild horses there. John Wesley Powell, led by a Paiute guide, visited Tuweep in 1870. He mapped and named many of the local features. More recently, European-Americans ranched, mined, and settled the Arizona Strip. While ranchers used this valley seasonally in the early 1900s, the first year-round homestead was the Lower Kent Ranch, which was built in 1927. A fascinating book recounts the tale of one family who homesteaded about 20 miles from Toroweap near Mt. Trumbull: “The Last Homesteaders of the Arizona Strip” by Jean Luttrell. She also penned “The Last Old Time Ranger,” which tells the story of John Riffey, who served as ranger of Toroweap from 1942-1980. Riffey is now buried at Toroweap, not far from the 1921 antique pull grader that rests beside the road. Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument was declared on Jan. 11, 2000. The 1,048,325-acre monument is larger than Rhode Island.
Toroweap Geology Explained
At the rim, the rock you are standing on is Esplanade Sandstone, which is 286-320 million years old. The valley’s volcanic history is apparent because of the towering cinder cones such as Vulcan’s Throne and obvious black lava flows that coat the walls of the canyon. Volcanic activity began along the Toroweap fault around 7 million years ago. Over time, lava issued from more than 60 vents. Beginning about 1.2 million years ago, lava flowed into Toroweap Valley, forming the flat-bottomed valley we drive through. Vulcan’s Throne, Mount Trumbull and the Uinkaret Mountains are all the result of volcanic activity.
The Colorado River was dammed by lava flows multiple times from 725,000 to 100,000 years ago. One lake was believed to be 2,000 feet deep. Geologists estimate it could have taken as long as 20 years to fill. Over the next several thousand years, flowing water undercut the softer river sediment beneath the lava dam. Waterfalls would have poured over the top of the dams. Today, there are only remnants of lava clinging to the canyon walls.
These lava remnants provide key information about its age. Lava flows 7.5-6 million years old found on both sides of the canyon show no evidence that a canyon existed at that time. And a date from a lava flow in the bottom of the canyon indicates that 1.2 million years ago the Grand Canyon was almost as deep as it is today. By about 5.5 million years ago, the Gulf of California was opened up by tectonic forces, and the lower Colorado River was formed and water cut the canyon in a very short time, geologically speaking.
One highlight of the Toroweap view is looking downstream over Lava Falls. This class 10 climax to multi-day rafting adventure is at river mile 179 from Lee’s Ferry. Even John Wesley Powell refused to attempt it on the first ever Grand Canyon river expedition in 1869. Lava Falls drops 30 feet in 13 seconds. The rapids appear much smaller than they are from Toroweap, but with a pair of binoculars, one can watch small rafts and kayaks disappear for a second as they are blocked behind the steep falls. If you hold still, you might even hear the rafters shouting when then make it through the rapids.
Along the way, we often spot gopher snakes or rattlesnakes, cottontail and jackrabbits and white striped antelope ground squirrels. There are also mule deer, coyote, bobcats, mountain lions and many small rodents and reptiles. A real treat is spotting an American pronghorn. The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere and is often cited as the second fastest in the world behind a cheetah. They can run 35 mph for 4 miles and 55 mph for 0.5 mi. Pronghorns are built for speed, not for jumping. Their ranges are sometimes cut off by ranchers’ fences. The protection of habitat has allowed pronghorn numbers to recover to an estimated population between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Their range extends from Canada south through parts of Minnesota, coastal southern California and northern Mexico.