Do weeks of coronavirus quarantine have you yearning to live somewhere remote, with wide-open spaces and absolutely breathtaking views? Then a seemingly dreamy opportunity has cropped up to buy property near one of the most beautiful places in the world: the Grand Canyon.
About 180 undeveloped acres near the West Rim of the Grand Canyon is for sale for $3.9 million.
“The property is in a beautiful valley with 900-year-old Joshua trees, pinion pine, and juniper,” according to the property’s website. “This a uniquely secluded and private location.”
The land is also located about two hours from Las Vegas—and since it’s zoned for residential, commercial, or recreational use, it presents a unique opportunity for those looking for a real estate investment.
All of this sounds pretty amazing right about now, but what’s the real deal here? We decided to put in a call to the landowner and find out.
Grand Canyon land for sale: ‘It’s time to let go’
Will Tryon, who had acquired this parcel 15 years earlier, says he had initially planned to develop the land himself. His goal was to build an “entertainment-style” resort to serve as a pit stop for his own Las Vegas–based sightseeing company, Adventure Photo Tours. But he just never got around to it.
“I’m 68 now, and I’m running out of gas,” he explains. “I think it would be wise to put it in the hands of somebody younger and more ambitious that is still on the upswing, because I’m feeling like I’m on the downswing now. So, it’s time to let it go.”
Tryon says he envisions a “Sedona, AZ–style, five-star [resort] development” for the site. (In fact, the listing superimposes such a place against the backdrop so you can see for yourself how it might look.)
A 20-acre mesa on the property’s southwest corner provides a 360-degree view of the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas.
Tryon has been “aggressively trying to sell” the land for about six months, and set up a website to market the property about a month ago. He dropped the price from $9.9 million to $3.9 million, and says he’s received an offer for $1 million, which he declined.
Building near the Grand Canyon: What would it take?
Granted, this listing might sound ideal if you’re suffering from quarantine-induced cabin fever—and odds are, this parcel’s expansive views and ample legroom are bound to stay that way, since it’s surrounded by undeveloped land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the north and west sides, and mountains to the south and east.
However, building on remote land isn’t easy. For one, although the parcel of land is accessible by road and has water, Tryon says no other utilities or sewage services are available. The nearest town, Meadview, AZ, is 24 miles away.
Given the distance, Tyler Drew, a land developer in California and president of Anubis Properties, estimates that building anything here would be expensive—likely costing millions of dollars—and take several years to complete.
The biggest hurdle will be setting up electricity, water, and cooling systems.
“Paying to hook up to a power pole can be prohibitively expensive,” Drew explains. “It could be several hundreds of thousands of dollars to hook into a power line, even if it is only a mile away.”
Local power companies would have to set up power poles and step-down transformers from the main line. However, some power companies might not agree to do it because of the remoteness of the land. If that’s the case, power would need to be generated on-site.
“That means either generators or renewables like solar or wind combined with hefty battery backups,” Drew says. This may limit the power available; plus generators running on fuel, like diesel or propane, would add extra monthly costs.
Air conditioning for the property would be another major expense.
“You would most likely have to go with some sort of earthship design or something similar,” Drew says. “These houses use passive systems and semi-underground living arrangements to cut down on power consumption. Even then, it may not be enough to fight the Arizona summer heat.”
Furthermore, installing plumbing, septic, and sewage systems could run an additional six figures and more.
“All of this needs to be handled before you even start building,” Drew says, noting that a contractor experienced in building in remote areas would be a must.
Land for sale near Zion, Yellowstone, and Yosemite
While building on remote land is probably a pipe dream for most people, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to fantasize a bit. And as unique as this Grand Canyon–based land sale might seem, there’s acreage near many national parks that’s up for grabs. A search of realtor.com listings turned up land for sale near Zion in Utah, Yosemite in California, and Yellowstone in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.
So whether you’re seriously on the market for land or just want to go window-shopping for where you could move next, check out these properties that could be yours and dream on!
This parcel sits across from the Virgin River and borders on Zion National Park, in Springdale, UT, with views of the canyon, rock formations, and native plants.
Cost: $1.75 million
This tree-filled parcel offers plenty of seclusion while being right next to Yosemite National Park, and it features a paved road maintained by the local county.
Located in West Yellowstone, MT, this parcel is situated on Hebgen Lake with mountain views. It’s also surrounded by 8 acres of open space, which are also for sale.