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Old 10-22-13, 07:44 PM   #1
bdoranbg
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Ride from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon

Flying in with my bike to Mesa and planning on taking the two wheeled scenic route to the Grand Canyon in late December. Looking for some advice if anyone has done it before. Any suggested routes to take in as much scenery and culture as possible? I've got a week but I think I'll take three or 4 days heading up there and then catch a bus back to explore Phoenix or other areas before flying back out of Mesa. Is it hilly on the way or consistent up hill? Is there ample opportunity to find water if I take a route through State Forest? Plenty of places to camp/rent a room? Really any advice would be appreciated!

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Brandon
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Old 10-22-13, 09:42 PM   #2
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I drove up there 3 times one year when friends and family kept coming out to visit. I hated every minute of it. Although riding might be more fun. Once you get north of Flagstaff, it gets pretty open...not a lot of anything. I'm not sure if water would become an issue or not.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:13 PM   #3
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Haha, did you hate it because it was so open or what? Is 180 safe to ride on?
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Old 10-23-13, 08:49 PM   #4
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It's a long drive to make in day...up and back from Phoenix. And the Grand Canyon is cool, but it really is just a big crack in the ground - making the trip more than once in a month was a lot to deal with. haha.

It's been awhile since I've been on the road but I found this on youtube, its highway 180...looks to be a pretty decent road and if you do it on a weekday, it'll probably be fairly low traffic.
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Old 10-25-13, 07:25 AM   #5
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I'd go up through Payson on the Beeline (87), take 260 west to Cottonwood, then 89A north through Sedona into Flagstaff. Much more scenic than I-17 but longer. It will be cold at night especially at the canyon, probably around 10 degrees f. It gets below zero there every winter at times. Water is always a concern in Az. Plan ahead and you'll be fine. Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy!
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Old 10-29-13, 06:12 PM   #6
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December can destroy your plans from Prescott north. Be sure to check the forecast. There are services and many backroads, I think you will have a great time if the weather is good.
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Old 11-14-13, 10:13 PM   #7
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Today (11/14) it was around 17 degrees above zero at the south rim.
As stated above, December is not a good month ride there or anywhere north of Prescott.
Have ridden from south rim of the canyon to Nogales, Mex. 4 times on a tandem and once on a single.
We always picked the first week of October because of decent weather conditions; still ran into frost at Mormon Lake (near Flagstaff and up to 90+ degrees in Tucson.
At 8,000 feet elevation it can give your lungs a workout if you have not ridden at altitude.
Hilly? Yes. Even rode in the clouds in the Mogollon rim area one year (near Pine/Strawberry).
We rode/started at south rim to Cameron. To Flagstaff. To Payson. To Globe. to Tucson. To Nogales.
500+ miles in 6 days.
Pack at least 2 big water bottles and some food as there are not many convenience stores out there.
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Old 11-15-13, 08:23 AM   #8
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Meanwhile it's been in the 80-90's the last few days in Phoenix.
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Old 11-18-13, 08:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info man, I'd come to the same conclusion about the temp up north and planned a change to head south from Mesa. A conflict with my work schedule has since ruined that week in December for me though so I'm heading to West Virginia this weekend to satisfy the itch to get out of the state. Sounds like you've done a lot of riding out there though so I'd love some more advice/thoughts on best rides you've done. I'll reschedule for spring or fall next year.
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