Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pavin' the Way - To the Sky Deck at the West Rim - Grand Canyon!

by Steve Reiss (Dalmdad Landscape Photography - www.dalmdad.com and https://www.facebook.com/Dalmdad.)

I recently read somewhere that the final portion of Diamond Bar Road between Dolan Springs and the West Rim of the Grand Canyon has finally been paved.  I don't remember where I read it, but an article was published on line by the LA Times and may have been picked up by the OC Register Sunday travel pages (Sunday is my only newspaper day).

We once tried to go to the Skywalk, but never actually made it there.  The unpaved Diamond Bar Road was just too rough to drive.

Views from Diamond Bar Road

                                                            Views of Dolan Springs


Though the drive is probably much more reasonable due to the new paving, it is unlikely we would ever try going back.  The reasons being that the West Rim and the Skydeck have bad reputations. The facts that:
  1. it is quite expensive to actually go out on the Skywalk; AND
  2. you cannot take your own camera or camera phone onto the Skywalk; AND
  3. therefore requiring you to buy expensive photo packages if you want a remembrance is just too much for many people to swallow. 

Yes, the tribe needs the money.  Yes, other native American sites charge fees.  Monument Valley, UT charge admission fees ($20/vehicle of 4) and commercial photography fees ($50).  Sky City/Acoma Pueblo, NM, charge for camera permits ($13) whether personal or commercial.  Skywalk prices far exceed these other native American sites.

However, if you are in the area, I suggest you taking the Willow Beach cutoff, just south of Hoover Dam on US93.  Just before the road breaks to the right and the parking lots and boat launches, a non-descript turn-off to the left is visible.  Take that turn, fight the rough road, and drive slowly along the wash.  If you are lucky you will get to see bighorn sheep herds roaming around or a lonely burro hiding from the sun.

Good luck!