Surprise Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park

October 18 to October 24, 2014

This map (above) shows our overall route.

I had wanted to do a trip into Surprise Canyon for many years but was reluctant to do so because of the lack of information regarding the canyon, and the difficulty I had heard about long drive to get there.  I had heard stories of people nearly destroying their vehicle, and getting multiple flat tires.  However, most of these stories were about sections of the road beyond where I wanted to begin hiking, such as the section out to Kelly Point.  We wanted to start at the head of Twin Creek Canyon, a tributary to Surprise. 

By "we" I mean Dave Marcus and me.  We had never personally met, but we knew each other from the Yahoo Grand Canyon eGroup.  And several of my usual Grand Canyon hiking companions knew Dave and had hiked with him decades earlier.  Dave and I began exchanging emails a year or so ago and decided to do a trip together.  Dave had a fairly detailed plan already worked out, and after a review, agreed to follow his plan.  It was not as ambitious as one I would plan, but I have a tendency to under-estimate the difficulty and time required to complete some of my hikes.  Dave's plan seemed prudent since neither of us had ever been in this part of Grand Canyon.

Sometime in September I asked Ben Mahlab to join us.  We were both planning to join our regular hiking group for a backpack immediately following this Surprise trip.  Ben flew into Las Vegas where Dave, who had driven from Berkeley,  picked him up on Friday morning, October 17.  They drove to St. George where I met them, and from there we all loaded into my 4Runner and headed out onto the Arizona Strip. 

Surprise Canyon is in a very remote section of Grand Canyon National Park.  The road to our starting point starts in Saint George, Utah, quickly turns to dirt, and generally heads south for 86 miles.  Although very long, most of it is in good shape.  It took us about 2-1/2 hours to cover the 86 miles.  In preparation for this trip, I brought along a second spare tire, fix-a-flat goo, an air compressor, tire plugs, and a variety of tools.  We camped near the "trailhead", just inside the Park boundary.

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