Most National Park Service North Rim backcountry roads should be accessible by May 16, 2013. The W-1 Road from AZ 67 to W-4 (The Basin) will remain closed (locked at the gate beyond Widforss) until it dries out. The W-4 Road north of Kanabownits will likely be unlocked/open on May 16. Access to Point Sublime will be possible from this road (from USFS lands). The W-1 Road will be signed closed from the intersection with W-4. The Swamp Point Road from its intersection with the W-4 Road will potentially be cleared of logs on May 16.
After heavy rains, usually during the summer (July and August) and winter (December through March) months, expect impassable backcountry roads. If clear skies abound after the rain, then it is often just a matter of days until the sun dries everything out. Sometimes, heavy rain can lead to flooding, which can cause erosion of the roadbed and can delay access.
Other considerations for visitors travelling on remote backcountry roads include high clearance, such as may be needed on Forest Road 328 to South Bass Trailhead (limestone ledges) and on the final approach to Toroweap overlook (sandstone knobs and ledges).
Finally, consider elevation of the road that you will be travelling on, especially during the winter months. Roads in the 6,500 to 8,000 foot range may be impassable due to a snowpack, where lower elevations roads (below 6,000 feet) will see deteriorated road conditions due to rain.
Always check road conditions with the Backcountry Information Center before heading out to remote trailheads, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, and be adaptable and prepared for the worst. High clearance, four-wheel drive is usually recommended for roads to remote trailheads.
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.