Timp Point and North Timp Point offer
some of the most beautiful
vistas within Grand Canyon
© Jack Dykinga
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Editor's Note click to expand
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North Rim ViewpointsTimp Point, North Timp Point, Parissawampitts Point ... they're not as well known as some of the other Canyon viewpoints, but they're equally impressive.
By Robert Stieve
There's a thought that crosses the minds of almost every first-time visitor to the Grand Canyon: Imagine being the explorer who discovered this natural wonder. One minute you're riding a horse across the high plains, and then suddenly ...WHOA! How incredible it must have been to stand alone on the rim, with no previous knowledge of the Canyon's existence.
Today, with 5 million people a year descending on the national park, that kind of solitude is hard to find. It's not impossible, though. You just have to know where to go, and that's where this month's scenic drive comes in.
Naturally, if you're willing to hoof it, there are hundreds, even thousands, of places where you can find some peace and quiet in the Grand Canyon, but to find one that's reachable by car is a little more challenging. Timp Point is one of the few. It's isolated, to be sure, and it's also scenic — the panoramas from the point are unlike any you've ever seen of the Canyon. Although Timp Point is the payoff, the drive out there is pretty spectacular too.
The route begins at Jacob Lake, which, at an elevation of 7,920 feet, is a cool and idyllic place to pitch a tent or rent a room. Especially in August. It's also the home of the Kaibab Plateau Visitors Center. You'll want to stop in, stock up on maps and get the lay of the land.
From there, follow State Route 67 — one of the most scenic drives in Arizona — south for 27.5 miles through postcard landscapes of ponderosa pines, aspens, spruce and broad green meadows to Forest Road 22. Turn right onto FR 22 and continue for 10.5 miles to Forest Road 206. Turn left onto FR 206 and continue south for 3.5 miles to Forest Road 214. There, you can either make a side trip out to Parissawampitts Point, from which you can see Tapeats Amphitheater and Fishtail Mesa, or continue south toward Timp Point. It's a 16-mile round-trip detour to Parissawampitts, but it's well worth the effort. Either way, from the junction of FR 206 and FR 214, continue south on FR 206 for a little more than a mile to Forest Road 271.
The countryside along all of these easy-to-follow dirt roads is classic Kaibab National Forest: lush evergreens, aspens, summer grasses and wildflowers. The fauna is impressive, too. In addition to deer and turkeys and mountain lions, keep your eyes peeled for Kaibab squirrels, which are shy, dark animals with tufted ears and bushy white tails.
Moving along, turn right onto FR 271 and drive for about 5 miles to a junction with Forest Road 271A, which leads to North Timp Point, another worthy diversion that offers views (with binoculars) of Thunder River, a large spring that gushes from an opening in the north wall of Tapeats Canyon. To get to Timp Point, stay left on FR 271 and continue for another 3 miles. This is the end of the road — the quiet place with the booming payoff.
Admittedly, there are more famous viewpoints along the Canyon's various rims — Cape Final, Bright Angel Point, Yaki Point — but Timp Point ranks right up there. Along with the 270-degree panoramas of the Seventh Natural Wonder, you'll also see Steamboat Mountain rising up from the Canyon floor. What you won't see are people, which makes Timp Point an ideal place to imagine what it was like to discover the Grand Canyon. Enjoy the views, and plan on staying awhile. There's nothing like standing alone on an isolated Canyon rim.
Tour Guideclick to expand
Note: Mileages are approximate.
Length: 73 miles one way (from Jacob lake to Timp Point, including side trips to Parissawampitts Point and North Timp Point).
Vehicle requirements: Unless rain or snow is present, this route is accessible to all vehicles.
Warning: Back-road travel can be hazardous, so be aware of weather and road conditions. Carry plenty of water. Don't travel alone and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
Information: Kaibab Plateau Visitors Center, 928-643-7298 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial 511 to get information on road closures, construction, delays, weather and more.