Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

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jostream
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Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by jostream » Jun 10 2009 8:19 am

I've been through the trials in trying to get wilderness permits for Yosemite and even went so far to have a conference call with a bunch of friends to get two adjacent sites on the valley floor at the precise moment the reservations came available. Yosemite also publishes a daily list of what trail heads are available for back country use and which are full.

I'm struggling with the procedure to lock in wilderness permits for the GC. I really want to to Tonto to Bright Angel over two days in October...but according to the NPS...
Corridor Updates:
* October: CBG and CIG are 99% full prior to the19th; all large group sites (7-11 people) are full for the month. CCGis 99% full prior to the 29th; a few large group sites are availableafter the 21st.

They don't say or post anything related to how many permits are available for the camp sites along the Tonto Trail. Their procedure is to fax in a sheet and wait. How busy do you think the Tonto Trail is during Oct? If I fax in a request today, do I have a chance in hell or should I look for something around the north rim?

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by dysfunction » Jun 10 2009 8:23 am

Call em. I talked to them the other day about a change in my permit for mid-october, then fax after you get off the phone.
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 10 2009 2:41 pm

You are too late to be first in line. Next year put in on June 1. That is the date you put in for October. Any later than that and the permits may have been already taken as it is first come first served. Also, when you put in, be sure to put a selection of campsites and dates. You have a better chance of getting a permit that way. But since you missed the deadline, as someone said, maybe you can call to see what's available.

You need a good map to figure out your route, so that you can specify your campsites. You say you want to do Tonto to Bright Angel, but that isn't really a hike--it is only part of a hike. Which trail are you going in on? The Tonto is 90 miles long. You can get to it from Grandview Trail, Kaibab, Bright Angel, Hermit, Boucher or S. Bass. Or Tanner, for that matter, if you want to do the Escalante Route, which connects to the Tonto. What it sounds like you want to do is Kaibab to Tonto to Bright Angel? Or just Bright Angel?

The map on the GCNP website, as I recall, is not very inclusive. I have a Trails Illustrated one that has been quite helpful in planning trips. However the one on there is good enough for those Corridor trails, Kaibab and Bright Angel.
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by jostream » Jun 10 2009 3:24 pm

Sorry. I guess I was assuming my entry point of Hermits Rest and over to Bright Angel along the Tonto. I spoke with a nice lady up there and we found some dates in late Oct staying at Monument the first night and Salt Creek the second night. She seems to think we have a good chance to snatch those up.

Thanks for the help and happy hiking.

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 11 2009 4:01 am

That's a nice hike, especially in late October. Monument is a pleasant backpacker campground, and Salt Creek is primitive. If you start your hike in the morning you can have time to set your camp up at Monument, and if you aren't too tired, take a dayhike down to the Colorado River at Granite Rapids, at the bottom of Monument Canyon. It's less than 2 miles to the river.

Hermit's Rest road has been kept gated closed a lot, especially after the end of September. I have ridden a shuttle bus out there in the past. I think you can also get a combination number for the lock on the gate if you want to park out there. They used to give that out to backpackers. You can also park at the Backcountry Office and catch the shuttle. Not sure how early they run, though. Personally I like having my car parked at the END of an open loop trip, rather than having to go get it when I would rather be eating at Maswik cafeteria.

There is a very good description of your entire hike in Hiking Grand Canyon, by Rod Adkison, a Falcon guidebook.
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by jostream » Jun 11 2009 7:44 am

azbackpackr wrote:If you start your hike in the morning you can have time to set your camp up at Monument, and if you aren't too tired, take a dayhike down to the Colorado River at Granite Rapids, at the bottom of Monument Canyon. It's less than 2 miles to the river.
That's the plan. Since Salt is only 3.4mi from Monument, I figure we can take the trip again the following day before setting up at Salt. At the very least, fill up on water for the day.
azbackpackr wrote:Personally I like having my car parked at the END of an open loop trip, rather than having to go get it when I would rather be eating at Maswik cafeteria.
That's for sure!
azbackpackr wrote:There is a very good description of your entire hike in Hiking Grand Canyon, by Rod Adkison, a Falcon guidebook.
Thank you, I'll have to check that one out.

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by dysfunction » Jun 11 2009 7:46 am

Glad it worked out for you, have a great trip!
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 11 2009 1:30 pm

There should be water at the campsite at Monument Creek. The Park Service rangers should know if the spring is running. There was plenty of water on our trip there in October several years ago. As for water at Salt Creek, my book says it's seasonal. But you probably won't have to go to the river for your water at Monument.

Any updates on the water situation you can probably get on this site, also.
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by jostream » Jun 11 2009 4:25 pm

When I spoke to the lady on the phone, she mentioned that people (including canyon workers) have been getting sick from drinking out of Horn and Cedar Spring of late due to the heavy metal content. I mentioned the Salt being radioactive, but she said "not too much" and it should be OK to drink it in moderation. Hopefully we will have enough as to not tempt fate.

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 11 2009 5:35 pm

Yeah, I have heard you are not supposed to drink from Horn. I am pretty sure you should be able to find out if there is enough water at both places from the rangers right before your trip.
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by base871 » Jun 29 2009 6:54 pm

There is an old uranium mine above horn, thats why they say dont drink it. Of course i found that out after i drank from it! :scared:
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by nonot » Jun 29 2009 7:11 pm

Isn't drinking from some streams near old mines like eating at McDonalds? OK for you once, but don't make a habit out of it?
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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by big_load » Jun 29 2009 7:23 pm

nonot wrote:Isn't drinking from some streams near old mines like eating at McDonalds? OK for you once, but don't make a habit out of it?
It varies. I've seen mine effluents in CO that were bright red with mercury. I wouldn't take a drop of those.

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by Vaporman » Jun 29 2009 7:52 pm

Another option is to just do it as a day hike. Down Hermits across Tonto and up Bright Angel is like 23 miles and can be done with only a light day pack in about 10 hours if you have the endurance for it. Certainly saves the headache of getting permits and can be done anytime you want in Spring or Fall when the temps are comfortable. :D
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p

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Re: Difficulty in getting permits for Tonto Trail Camp Sites?

Post by jostream » Jul 10 2009 2:08 pm

Since this is my first foray down into the canyon, I'll leave this potential "dayhike" :) for another day..plus it would be a shame to miss out on heading all the way down to the Colorado. A gal I work with pointed me in the direction of Scott Beck who puts together a Rim to Rim trip each October. I thought about that trip this year, but my buddy and I opted for this one instead. We both wanted to spend a little more time down there.

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