Author Topic: Grand Canyon  (Read 5843 times)

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Offline lynnteer

Grand Canyon
« on: December 14, 2013, 12:04:52 am »
I have a deep and constant desire to cycle tour the Grand Canyon (South Rim). I am a very athletic woman who has completed two independent, loaded tours (solo) a few years back. The first consisted of 4 days and 200 miles round trip, all camping in South Florida. The second consisted of 14 days, 600 miles round trip, 2 hotel stays (emergency) and the rest camping in Ohio. My intentions were to make it to Erie, PA, but the weather turned bad leaving me no choice but to turn back south.  Now I want to do a portion of the Grand Canyon around April 2014. I will be loaded and solo with the exception of my AmStaf dog. I know that cycle touring this area will be somewhat different than the ones before, but I am not totally sure where the differences will be. Can anyone kinda give me the heads-up on what to expect, best preparation, best plan of attack and so fort?

Offline DaveB

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 07:06:03 am »
April in the Grand Canyon is likely to still be winter and perhaps the roads will be closed.  Contact the GCNP Visitor's Bureau and get their opinion on the practicality of your timing.

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 11:31:49 am »

Offline jamawani

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 01:07:38 pm »
Yes, the South Rim is open all year, but the Colorado Plateau can still be quite cold and snowy.
Trails into the canyon are often icy because they receive little sunlight.
Also, GCNP has numerous restrictions on pets.

Check out Flagstaff's average weather -

Offline lynnteer

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 02:04:40 pm »
Thank you all for the wealth of information thus far. With what I have received, I think I will move my plans to the month of July. Although I like cycling in cold weather after living in South Florida for the past few years, I don't wanna freeze. I think I can handle the July temps better, but the thunderstorms w/lightening may bring a different reaction. Luckily this is ground zero of my planning stage.

Offline roadrunner

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 06:07:28 pm »
Here's a little info about cycling the Grand Canyon's South Rim.  The elevation is about 7,000 feet, so if you'd be coming directly from Florida be prepared for the altitude change.  The road along the South Rim is about 30 miles long, so a rim tour is not a long one.  From Grand Canyon Village west to Hermit's Rest (about 9 miles along the rim), only shuttle busses and bikes are allowed durng the summer.  There is a multi-use trail along a relative short section of the rim.  There are 3 routes to the South Rim.  US-180 and AZ-64 from Flagstaff is about 80 miles, initially climbing, then decending to Valle, then climbing to the rim.  US-64 from Williams is 60 miles, decending gradually to Valle, then climbing to the rim.  AZ-64 from Cameron is 32 miles of serious climbing -- about 3,000 feet.  Except in the Flagstaff and rim areas, there is little vegetation.  Dogs are not permitted on trails in the park.

Thunderstorms during the July and August monsoon are usually in the afternoon, very scattered and generally of short duration.  They can be quite violent with lots of lightning.

Since the South Rim provides such a short ride, you might consider riding other routes in the vicinity.  Old Route 66 west from Flagstaff to the California border is a great tour.  The original road can be ridden except for 40 miles between Williams and just west of Ash Fork, where riding the I-40 shoulder (legal in Arizona) in required.  Another nice tour is riding southeast from Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to AZ-87, west on AZ-87 and AZ-260 through Camp Verde to Cottonwood, then northeast on US-89 to Sedona.  US-89 south from Flagstaff through Sedona to Cottonwood includes a very steep and winding decent down Oak Creek Canyon.

Offline lynnteer

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 01:45:09 am »
Very nice! Thank you so much!

Offline BikingBrian

Re: Grand Canyon
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 02:17:49 am »
I've done two tours leaving Flagstaff, both in March. One was to Phoenix via Ash Fork, Prescott, and Wickenburg. The other was west on the old Route 66 to Barstow, CA. One was during a low snowfall year, the other was about a week or so after a storm. I would not hesitate to tour in the area in March again, though the early morning temperatures were cold in the 20s, but quickly became pleasant when I dropped down to the lower elevations. But then again, I live in the Los Angeles area and I have the flexibility to cancel the trip (i.e., no cancellation fees for airline tickets to deal with) if it looked like a storm would pass through at the start of my trip.

Also, on one December 31 I hiked from the South Rim, stayed at the bottom overnight, and then hiked back up on January 1. Other than some icy spots starting to form near the top at the end of the second day, the hike went rather well.

July should be good for the higher elevations, though be warned that you will feel the desert heat if your tour takes you to lower elevations.