The Arizona Strip and the Grand Gulch Mine


Toward the end of June 2004, my friend Mike C. and I headed out to explore the Arizona Strip, in the northwest corner of Arizona. This is very large area north of the Grand Canyon is pretty remote with no available services to restock on food, ice or gasoline. We had come to the area to look into a couple of old mines, one in the bottom of Hack Canyon in the northwest corner and the Grand Gulch Mine in the southwest. Our plan was to go in on the Mount Trumbull Road west of Fredonia Arizona, head south and do Hack Canyon, then continue on to the Grand Canyon at Toroweap, return to the Mount Trumbull road and travel westward to the hamlet of Mount Trumbull. We would then turn south to the Grand Gulch Mine which is below the Grand Wash Cliffs Wilderness in the far southwest corner of the region. We underestimated the amount of gas that it was going to take to do this. When we arrived at Mount Trumbull, we found it necessary to head north to Saint George Utah to refuel. Then we had to come back south to Mount Trumbull and continue onward to the GC Mine.

The drive down into Hack Canyon was very interesting. You got the feeling that you were driving into the Grand Canyon. The uranium mine, however, was quite disappointing, with nothing left but foundations. We did see a herd of bighorn sheep however. The route down into the canyon was an easy 4wd road that had just been graded. Apparently, it is only maintained once a year or so. The view into the Grand Canyon from Toroweap was spectacular. The Mount Trumbull road was in pretty good shape, but you could see that there could be muddy sections during the wet seasons and around Mount Trumbull itself the road is often closed due to snow.

Mike was driving a 4wd Chevy pickup and I had a 2002 4wd Tacoma at the time. My smaller gas tank proved to be a real disadvantage.

Click on photos to enlarge:



When we finally turned south from the Mount Trumbull road to head for the Grand Gulch Mine, the tracks became more primitive. Luckly, in June all of the roads were dry but that made them very dusty. The Grand Gulch Mine was an underground/surface mine that operated from around 1890-1919 and then closed down for the final time in 1966. At least in its early days, ore was shipped to Saint Thomas which is now under Lake Mead. The outstanding relics are two old Euclid trucks. Along with several buildings, and a lot other iron artifacts there is a dirt landing strip near by that is still occasionally used.