Touring - Grand Canyon, South Rim
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07-30-09, 07:45 PM
Just wondering if anybody has toured to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I was curious about the ride from Flagstaff to the Canyon. I will be flying from Dallas to San Diego, going up the coast about 150 miles then start heading east towards home (Dallas). I plan on stopping at the Grand Canyon on my way back. If you have any info that would be great. Thank you
When are you doing this, and are you riding from San Diego north to the Oxnard/Ventura area, then heading east?? ANy additional route info??
I haven't cycled in that area, but I recall the South Rim as being much more developed and crowded than the North Rim. The North Rim would definitely be more worthy of a visit if you can work your itinerary that way.
07-30-09, 10:58 PM
I fly out aug 19th, I was thinking after Santa Monica just keep going north up to San Clarita or maybe San Fernando, then start heading East. Thoughts or comments?
I would love to see the North Rim, South is just going to have to do this trip.
07-31-09, 12:38 PM
07-31-09, 01:00 PM
Try PM'ing Jamawani, he's toured there.
07-31-09, 03:26 PM
Well, it's an Adventure Cycling Route (http://adventurecycling.org/routes/grandcanyon.cfm), have you looked there?
Would you really be going from Flagstaff to the Canyon, since the South Rim is west of Flagstaff? It seems like if you're going west-to-east, it would make more sense to use the Adventure Cycling route on the way to the Canyon, and then go through Cameron->Flagstaff on your way out.
I biked in and out of the North Rim in spring, so the Cameron->Flagstaff section would be common between us. From either rim, Cameron is the low point, so you descend a big hill to get there and then climb another big hill back into Flagstaff. The Cameron area is mostly blasted desert, which gets nicer as you return to elevation near Flagstaff along US-89. The western approach on AZ 64 is probably a bit nicer, as it stays at higher elevation the whole way to the rim. Either way you can expect a whole lot of nothing, but that shouldn't be out of the ordinary for you by that point.
a few years ago I rode to the south rim from Phoenix (www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391) via ACA's Grand Canyon Connector Route, but I didn't ride thru Flagg. The GC is amazing, definitely worth a trip! I don't recall the crowds being a problem, except for finding a good spot for your camera at the vistas at sunrise.
If you're planning on doing this in August, you're looking at the potential of hot, not just warm, temperatures in conjunction with crossing substantial open expanses of desert. Neil G's observation about the turn off for the so. rim being west of Flagstaff was the reason for my initial inquiry about the intended route. Santa Clarita, CA east to Kingman, AZ is about 250 miles of desert. Once at Kingman, you climb to Williams, where the turnoff is to the so. rim, which is west of Flagstaff. Cameron is a trading post on the Navajo reservation, with some very nice facilities I might add, north of Flagstaff where the junction to the no. rim is. West of Williams, and north of Flagstaff are open expanses of desert with long stretches between facilities. This could be a very trying effort at that time of year if you're not prepared for hot, hostile, environment.
07-31-09, 07:08 PM
We cycled the South Rim a few years ago, but didn't go through Flagstaff so I can't say anything about that road. What I can say is that the area directly south of the rim is National Forest land and has free camping. Just find a road heading south away from the canyon and head back in there to camp. No need to stay in the jam-packed official campgrounds.
07-31-09, 07:34 PM
Thank you all for the help.
I hope you realize how hot it is between Los Angeles and Flagstaff. In August you will most likely die crossing that desert, we are talking serious heat, wind, blowing sand and no water.
Take the train from LA to Flagstaff, then ride to the canyon from there. I'm not kidding.
I like Shifty's idea of just taking the train here to Flag. In fact you could also take the train from Williams directly to the South Rim and then ride back. Riding from Williams will only allow you to be in the pines for a short time before it opens up to full desert exposure. If instead you ride from Flagstaff out Hwy 180, you get a pretty ride for about 35+ miles of rolling hills passing between Kendrick Peak and the San Francisco Peaks and through aspen and pine forests. In addition to hot temps in the desert during the day, also be ready for cool nights with temps in the 50's. Also beware of the summer monsoons. They are a daily occurance. I got caught in a hail storm today during a high elevation ride just north of Flag. The Canyon gets it too. I would stay away from the Cameron side - very boring and full desert exposure. If you are feeling very adventureous you can actually ride all the way from Flag to the Rim via the original dirt stagecoach road used in the 1890's to buggy tourists up to the Canyon from the BNSF rail station in Flag. There are still busted wagon wheels along the road and historic sign posts. If you choose asphalt, auto traffic is usually light but they motor at high speeds at 70+ mph. The roads are two lane with no shoulder for most of the way. Be careful! Hope you have a great time!
08-01-09, 12:42 AM
I was given the advice of always carry water and a jacket in Arizona in summer. When it starts raining in the high desert the temp drops fast and the wind blows hard -- I saw it go from 85 to high 50's in minutes last summer when it started raining.
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