Thunder River access (Apr-12-10): Hikers can drive to within about 5 miles of the Bill Hall and Thunder River trailheads. The road is not drivable past the intersection of Forest Roads 425 and 427 (per Fredonia Field Office, North Kaibab District).
The big story of the day is the huge snowpack on the North Rim and the effects this will have on access to backcountry roads and trailheads this spring. Much depends on unpredictable factors such as daytime high temperatures and the potential for additional precipitation. In general, North Rim hikers can assume vehicle access along dirt roads to remote trailheads will open later than usual this year and that travel along the upper few miles of canyon trails may be snow covered or icy for the next several weeks.
Vehicle access along Forest Road 328 to the South Bass trailhead has become pretty reasonable for a competent high clearance backcountry vehicle, although all it would take is additional snow or rain to make this road difficult for even the best 4-wheel drive.
The Swamp Ridge Road to the North Bass trailhead, famous for deep drifts and downed trees across the road, might not open until late May or even early June. Forest Road 610 to the upper Nankoweap trailhead may open a little sooner, but not much. Forest Road 22 and 425 to the trailheads at Monument Point and Indian Hollow may open by sometime in late April or early May, but at this time all we can do is guess.
Hikers considering traveling dirt roads to remote trailheads should contact the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest at 928-643-7395, the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest on the South Rim at 928-635-4061 or the Backcountry Information Center for current conditions.
It is not uncommon for trees to fall and block access to remote trailheads. When you encounter a road blocked by fallen trees, what should you do?
- Report the location and diameter of the tree to Grand Canyon park dispatch (928-638-7805) as soon as possible. The park will assign staff to clear the road.
- If an appropriate (not blocking the road and not damaging vegetation) place to park is available, park your vehicle and continue to the trailhead on foot.
- Do not drive off-road attempting to bypass the obstacle, doing so can cause resource damage.