It's All In The Journey...sometimes!
In the world of Overlanding the journey is considered to be as much a part of the adventure as the destination. It's not supposed to be a mad dash to your camp spot but rather routing yourself to view points, exploring back roads, and taking in the scenery. And we try. As soon as we get into our general area the dirt roads beckon us, some legit, a lot that aren't! All those we pass by are looked at with a questioning eye wondering, "Where do YOU go?!"
This has been the scenario for many adventures and to some degree, the one I'm writing about here. The difference with this one is a viewpoint on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon called, Crazy Jug, which was on our agenda. The journey was great, but the destination stole the show many times over.
Read on to help you plan your next excursion and consider a visit to this amazing viewpoint. Despite the drive, you will not regret it!
Crazy Jug and More - Tips & Tricks To Have a Safe and Fun Experience
Epic. Stunning. Grandeur. Living three hours south of the Grand Canyon I have visited the
South & North Rims countless times. Some to hang out for a weekend, others when we were
A remote section of road near the Vermillion Cliffs
completing Rim-to-Rim traverses. It's beautiful. Everywhere. But being alone with a few friends in a remote location is quite different. Getting off of a packed bus is fine, and I've done that, but to experience the vastness with no noise or crowds of people is beyond description. Enter Crazy Jug Viewpoint.
Google Maps easily navigates you and after a roughly 2 hour drive on 30 miles of forest roads from Jacob Lake, the track ends at a small cul-de-sac that circles around a patch of trees and bushes. On the south side of the turnaround is a fenced area clearly stating this viewpoint does not allow camping beyond the simple, wooden fence.
Crazy Jug Sunset
Since you will probably be the only humans around park and prepare to be taken away. My first sensory observation was the noise. As in, there was none. There weren't any aircraft flying over head, wildlife was still, and there was none of the noise we are accustomed to in our everyday lives. Walking through the small opening in the fence you are quickly greeted by the Grand Canyon where you witness Crazy Jug Point. It felt as if I could reach out and touch what I thought was a painting. The colors were intense as I looked at each layer of the Canyon. The light snow still on the ground added an element of calmness. With pollution not prevalent in the area the air was cool and crisp.
Off to the right there is a trail that takes you about a 1/4 mile to another overlook that will leave you thunderstruck.
Depending on the weather conditions the road is farely user friendly. Despite this there a few things to consider when getting out this remote.
Crazy Jug courtesy of Google Earth
First, there is no cell signal, and don't plan on having one either. Always let a third party know where you're going and the route you plan to take. Consider bringing along a GPS if you have one or see if you can borrow one. Gaia GPS is a great app with a free option. You can easily create a route and drop waypoints and share this with a friend.
Second, you don't want to drive a beater out here. Yes, I've read about loners driving their 1986 Toyota Corolla around the globe, but let them be them. For us, make sure your vehicle is in top condition. Our trip there was a part of a larger excursion. We were in well-built Jeeps, off-road trailers, and plenty of gear.
Third, pack a bag with extra food, water, and survival essentials dependent on weather conditions. Bring extra clothing and warm gear. You are at elevation and even summer nights will be much cooler.
Plan on a solo trip. We were in the area for three days and saw two vehicles. Should something happen to you or your vehicle you will more than likely have to figure a recovery plan on your own.
Fill up your tank prior to hitting the dirt roads. Jacob's Lake has a gas station.
You don't have to be a meteorologist, but make sure you are aware of the weather. Snow and rain turns the area closer to the point into a muddy slop. Be prepared.
And finally, slow down. Yes, the road is curvy and you may encounter another vehicle, but moreso to enjoy your surroundings as you head out.
What Are You Waiting For?
Seriously, go! Reserve a cabin at the Jacob Lake Inn, Jacob Lake Campground or one of the other campgrounds in the area and prepare for the day trip of your life! Make it an early morning and watch the sunrise, or slow roll and watch the sunset.
Thanks! Please feel free to leave any comments or words of wisdom I may have missed!