« on: May 26, 2016, 10:29:36 pm »
I made a reply to a VERY SIMILAR question over at the General Discussion forum a couple of days ago to Allesandro and there is some more info there
You can do as you plan and go from Durango to Cortez get on 163 to 160 (I'm presuming) to the South Rim and you would get to see Monument Valley that way which if you take my suggestion you'll miss. You can then run what I'm reccommending below in the opposite direction with what time is availible to you.
Whatever you do, I suggest you buy ACA maps Western Express #3 and Grand Canyon Connector as they cover most of this route with all the food/stores/camping info that you can use.
But you asked for suggestions and here's mine:
You are on a MTB & many people consider Moab to have the best MTBing in the world (look up porcupine ridge trail on google). I would take 491 from Cortez to Monticello and go north on 191 to Moab. I'd block off 2-3 days to ride the trails there and see the sights at Canyonlands/ Dead Horse State Park. There's 5 bike shops in Moab, they may all be great but the one I went to that I know is great is called Poison Spider. They will steer you to the best local MTB trails.
Leaving Moab go north on 191, the first 10 miles there is a really good bike path and then it's going to suck until you get to I-70, go west past Green River and take 24 south to Hanksville. From here you follow the ACA Western Express map #3 and you will have several hundred uninterupted miles of truly fantastic scenery. To see what you are in for look up Capital Reef NP, Grand Staircase, Kodachrome Basin, and Bryce Canyon.
Once you leave Bryce theres a long downhill and at 89 leave the WE route and go south. It's a highway w a fair amount of traffic but there's a shoulder and I didn't consider it dangerous. When you get to 9 make a right and go to Zion NP. There's 3 hikes there that you see on lists of most iconic hikes in the world, Angel's Landing, The Narrows, & Observation Point. I reccomend them all.
Go back out the way you came in and head south on 89 again. Once you hit the Arizona border 89 and 89A split (and you'll be able to get a drink at the bar again), you will take 89A and it will be more pleasent riding. You'll ride up the hill to Jacob Lake, make a right turn and go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Thats the less crowded and more scenic side. Then back out the way you came, get back on 89A and down, down, down till you cross the river at Marble Canyon. This area is very iconic old west, like it always looked in the movies. You are surrounded by purple and pink buttes. Once 89A merges back with 89 the road is less pleasant riding but there is a shoulder and it's not dangerous. At Cameron you get off the highway and head up the hill to the South Rim.
From there you can wrap up your trip in Vegas or Phoenix (I would think buses would be availible to both).