Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Regional Discussion Area => Southwest => Topic started by: bgphelps2 on August 19, 2014, 04:17:29 pm

Title: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: bgphelps2 on August 19, 2014, 04:17:29 pm
I will be cycling solo, self-contained toward the canyon from Window Rock, AZ near the end of Sept. I heard Route 191 from Ganado to Chinle is crazy busy, has no shoulders but lots of curves. Has anyone cycled on Route 12 north from Window Rock to the south rim road 7 to gain entrance into the Park?  The other longer way for me is to continue north on Route 12 and then west - Route 64 ( north rim road back to the main entrance). Are these rim roads paved or dirt? Are they doable with 700x32 tires?  I'd rather do a loop in the Park, rather than have to back track out on Route 64.  Ultimately, I want to get to Shiprock, NM.  What condition is Route 13 toward Red Rock? Paved or dirt? What's the %slope of the climb?
Title: Re: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: John Nettles on January 04, 2016, 10:30:23 pm
I was wondering which route you chose and the riding conditions of it.  Thanks, John
Title: Re: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: bgphelps2 on January 06, 2016, 04:54:14 pm
Hi Jon, you are a world traveler, so it shouldn't make much difference what's in front of you. You'll make the best of it.  But having said that, it's still nice to know what's ahead. Right? So this is what happened.  I never got past window rock.  I never re-connected with the Native American tour guide I was going to meet near Spider Rock. I never cycled on route 7north to the south rim. It is a tar road to Sawmill, then according to the map, a dirt road.  At Window Rock, I turned around and returned to Gallup for a continuation of my trip to Chaco. The Chaco segment was another story.  But anyways, this past summer I volunteered for the Nat. Park Service and at the end of my contract, I drove around the 4 corners area to look at sites that I'd like to submit my application for 2016. I stopped at Canyon de Chelly and cycled up the south rim on the beautiful tar road route 7 (heading east).  I didn't find where it turned to dirt but I'm sure it's out there. Mtn bike tires should be able to handle it.  I don't think touring tires will tho. There may be places with lots of sand and you'll get stuck. I think he said it was about a 7- 10 mile stretch of dirt road from Sawmill. There's nothing out there so you'll have to be self-contained. 
I rode my mtn bike on some of the dirt roads out by Hovenweep in UT &CO. It's doable, I'm guessing the dirt roads out there are all the same. Obviously, bring lots of water. Canyon de Chelly is worth getting to and down into. Best of travels.
Title: Re: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: John Nettles on January 07, 2016, 11:52:40 am
Thanks.  My own research somewhat agrees with what you have, i.e. BIA-7 is somewhat sandy but the stretch between pavement is more like 23 miles (assuming Google satellite view is accurate).  I was hoping you had actually ridden it so you could indicate how sandy it actually was.  While you can always go a sandy road it isn't always worth it so I was trying to get firsthand experience.

Regards, John
Title: Re: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: bgphelps2 on January 07, 2016, 06:47:30 pm
Sorry John,
You're on your own on this one.  Where are you coming from and going to? Will you be fully loaded-self contained? Touring with a group? Or what?  One thing that bothered me was it was Reservation area with different rules. A tribal rep at the Window Rock Info center said I could only camp at approved places in the area. I then asked if there were any places between Window Rock and Spider Rock on Rt 7?  He said no. I then said, "So if I get out there and can't make it to the campground before dark, you're saying I'm SOL and can't bushwhack.'  He said, "Right. You have to time your ride carefully.  This is Indian Reservation." That and some other reasons caused me to not continue on to Route 7.
Like I said before, Canyon de Chelly is worth the effort.  Make sure you hire a guide to take you thru the canyon bottom.  It's another world down there.
Happy Trails
Title: Re: canyon de chelly, AZ
Post by: John Nettles on January 07, 2016, 06:51:52 pm
Just researching route for a Phoenix to Grand Junction route.  You just covered all the info about the Indian Reservation that is why I was asking about the condition. I would totally self contained and would probably just try to head out right at dawn and hope to make it off the Reservation before nightfall.