Mt. Trumbull to Grand Gulch Mine
Drive from the historic Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse to the Grand Gulch copper mine deep in the intriguing Grand Wash Cliffs on this rough drive through a rural stretch of the Arizona Strip.
Where to go:
This trail begins at Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse at the base of Mt. Trumbull deep in the Arizona Strip. It will require a long drive on easy dirt roads from either Toroweap Overlook or paved Interstate 15 in St. George, Utah. Follow one of the two ways listed below to get to the trailhead.
From St. George, UT: Head south on River Road. After 7.2 miles, continue under the freeway and cross into Arizona. Proceed left onto BLM 1069. Follow this south for 49 miles ignoring side roads. Road will become County Road #5/Mt. Trumbull Loop Road. The trail begins at Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse on the right at the intersection with BLM 1018. This route is 58 miles total and is impassable in winter due to snow and mud.
From Toroweap: Head north from Toroweap Overlook. Follow the rough road for 13.7 miles, leaving the National Park. Turn left onto County Road #5/Mt. Trumbull Loop Road and head west. The road will climb up and over Mt. Trumbull. After 19.1 miles, arrive at Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse on the right. This route requires also taking the Toroweap Overlook Trail (County Road #109 from Fredonia). This trail may not be accessible in the winter.
From Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse, head due west on BLM 1018. The road passes a few small ranching homes and turns due south after 0.7 miles. The road turns back west at 1.7 miles. Pass through a gate just before 2.0 miles and keep right to stay on 1018. The road parallels a cattle fence as conditions deteriorate slightly. Pass through another gate at 3.0 miles. Keep right at 4.5 miles at small junction to stay west on 1018. Stay left on most traveled road at 4.8 miles and continue to ignore numerous side roads.
Road conditions get rockier and narrower as you enter the forest at the base of Poverty Mountain. The trail climbs considerably as it twists in and out of numerous washes and remains rough for many miles. Stay right at 17.4 miles following signs toward Poverty. At 18.3 miles, arrive at the significantly smoother BLM Road 103. Turn left to continue towards Grand Gulch Mine.
Follow Road 103 south for 8.0 miles. Enjoy the smooth road while you can as things will go back to rough and slow. At 26.3 miles, turn right onto the lesser-traveled BLM 1002. The road has lots of washboards as you pass through a cattle tank. After the 28.3 mile mark, the road begins to descend into a canyon in the Upper Grand Wash Cliffs. The scenery is great but the trail cuts across a dry wash numerous times (36 times to be specific). These eroded wash-crossings will require a slow pace and some decent articulation.
At 32.3 miles, the road turns left and heads west again as it exits the canyon. The trail remains bumpy and washed out in places. Stay right at a junction and water tank at 36.7 miles. The road continues to get rougher as exposed rocks require careful tire placement in spots. Stay straight at 40.8 miles following signs towards Grand Gulch Mine which is now visible at the base of the Grand Wash Cliffs. Continue an additional half-mile downhill. The trail ends at 41.3 miles. Park and walk around to explore the extensive ruins. A small information sign shows a layout of the town. Ruins include the old miner’s headquarters, the main office, two dump trucks, and numerous other pieces of equipment. Read more about the history of the mine here. When you’re done, return the way you came to BLM Road 103. From there you can take Hidden Canyon/Virgin Mtn. route back to Mesquite, NV, continue back to Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse, or explore numerous additional roads in the area.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This trail is long and extremely remote. The odds of seeing anyone else are slim – especially the further south you head. From Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse, this trail is 41 miles one-way. Allow for about 4-5 hours one-way. Remember, getting to Mt. Trumbull requires several additional hours on dirt roads. Plan your route well and consider camping multiple nights in the area for the best experience. We’ve rated this trail a “7” out of “10”. High-clearance is a must and 4WD is a great idea. Always check on conditions ahead of time and carry the AZ Strip BLM Map with you.