Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Bikes: Custom Zona c/f tandem + Scott Plasma single
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June/summer is a bit busy in that neck of the woods with lotsa tourists/motorhomes on the road. However, with the gas prices maybe traffic will be less than usual.
Here is a tour we've done several times on our tandem. A 200 mile loop from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon (south rim) and back. 3 or 4 days, depending on how used you are at hills and higher altitude, up to just over 8,000 feet.
Start in Flag and head north on Hwy 180 (near the Flag train depot). A bit narrow/busy for the first several miles. Ride 51 miles up to the miniscule town of Valle. There's one motel in town (maybe more by now) and a couple restaurants. Then northward on Hwy 64 to Tusayan; lots of motels, lots of restaurants and a couple campgrounds. Or pedal on to Grand Canyon Village and overnite there. About 30 miles.
From there leave early (well before 9 a.m.) to avoid the motorhomes and head toward Cameron about 57 hilly miles away. Lots of overlooks for Canyon views on the left side of the road. Do not try to 'rubberneck' as you pedal by; stop and look. Last good overview is at Desert View (food, bathrooms, souvenirs and great views). As you leave the park proper, traffic will greatly diminish; eventually you hit one hell of a downhill for miles; speeds of 50 mph not unusual. Some Indian souvernir stands along the way and vast expanses. You''ll hit the T-intersectiin with Hwy 89. Turn left to get to Cameron. One motel and do try their Navajo Taco (good and huge!) but no booze allowed, Indian reservation rules. Leave Cameron and head back toward Flag about 51 hilly miles. You'll climb up to small town of Grey Mountain with 2 motels and couple restaurants. Then long climb back up to Flagstaff.
Do make motel reservations NOW. You can overnite in Valle, Tusayan, Grand Canyon Viillage, Cameron or Grey Mountain . . . your call. No Starbux, 7-11's or convenience stores.
Options for 1 day trips. Flagstaff to Sunset Crater loop; much hefty climbing but worth it with Indian ruins at Wupatki and lava formations. Or for shorter/less streneous ride go to Walnut Canyon . . . do take the tour of the canyon.
Other 1 day ride; Flag south toward Sedona on 89A. Ride past Lake Mary and do the turnoff at Mormon Lake and ride that loop then back to Flag. One good restaurant on the Mormon Lake loop.
Or, go all way down Oak Creek Canyon into Sedona. Beware, very busy narrow road and switchbacks going down Oak Creek Canyon; you will do lots of braking. Do not attempt to do this on a weekend. Do not ride back up Oak Creek Canyon, you'll be much too slow and in the way of northbound traffic. Arrange for someone to pick you up for the trip back up the canyon. But spectacular views on the way down. Sedona is VERY touristy and very busy . . . do the Pink Jeep tour for a fun experience.
Do pack x-tra water and use sunscreen! Low humidity and high altitude will let you sunburn f-a-s-t!
Hope this is of some help!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem