Tatahatso Point Trip Report!

By Paul Le Pain June 25, 2005


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We are four guys who were looking for an adventure.  We'd all done the normal kinds of travel, but we now wanted something more on the unusual side.  I had been to Toroweap Point on several other occasions and since none of us had ever heard of let alone been to Tatahatso Point, we thought it would make an excellent destination. 
We left Flagstaff and visited the Grand Canyon South rim, followed route 64 past desert view and on to Cameral where we connected with route 89.  Heading north, just past the 505 mile marker is a typical Native American roadside stand, with a "fry bread, Indian taco sgin on it.  The most noticeable feature there and the one that will most probably endure the longest is the "cairn".  This is a man made rock formation most probably used to collect water.  It stands about 6 feet tall and is right next to the taco stand.  The route to Tatohatso Point described in George Steck's book "Hiking the Grand Canyon loops" begins here.  It's a good idea to set your trip odometer to zero at this point.  We followed Steck's directions exactly and made it with no trouble at all.  Where his instructions indicate "go straight at the fork"  is not really a misprint or misdirection.  There is a road that comes into the main road your on from the right, but it's not really a fork and the correct route is to stay on the main road and follow it left of the incoming road to the right. It took us 20.4 miles to get to a fork where we headed left over a small hill to what we thought was Tatahatso Point.  We later learned other wise. The only other area that we had confusion on was when we arrived at Black Spot reservoir.  There were two possible routes across.  The correct one is at about 11 o'clock from where you approach the reservoir.
We camped out at a site which had obviously been used for that purpose in the past and after setting up camp we explored the ridge we were on.  It wasn't until we continued down the hill to the right and around to beneath where we had camped that we realized we were some distance from our original destination, and that getting there was far more difficult than what we cared to venture through with our Ford Excursion 4 WD.  I had been warned that the road was bad several years ago and that it might be worse now and that is exactly what the case was.  I wouldn't venture down that road without a 4 WD vehicle with a short wheelbase and preferably equipped with a winch.  
We spent one night there and the only real wild life we saw was a herd of horses. 
 Our trip back to the main road was uneventful, other than trying to follow the directions backwards was pretty much an impossibility.  We soon got lost and followed roads that led us East or Northeast.  We never did go past the reservoir again and coming back took us about 21 miles also.  So much for getting lost!  
Unfortunately, we are unable to venture too far on foot, as I'm sure there are some beautiful sites we missed.  However, I would recommend this back roads adventure to anyone wanting to see the pristine side of the Grand Canyon. 
If you have any questions feel free to contact me at ekofoto@aol.com
Paul Le Pain,
The Bohemian Cowboys      

(Don't forget, you'll need a permit from the Navajo Reservation to do any trip in this area.)



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