I am planning to ride from New Mexico to the Grand Canyon, starting on route 60, eventually going through Flagstaff and taking the stagecoach road to the South Rim. Has anyone biked the Mogollon Rim Road? I am interested in taking the MRR rather than 260 to 87. Can you tell me about the MRR? Is it very gravelly or hard pack dirt? How much time might it add to use it rather than taking 260? Is there good camping along the road, and are you required to use established sites? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Gary Fisher Tassajara commuterized, Evil Imperial stealth bomber, Sun Custom Cruiser, Punk Rock Trike of Doom (in progress), and an S&M Holmes (sentimental).
I am only familiar with the section of road from where it crosses the 260(near the rim lakes), west to the 87. Anything east of that, I haven't spent much time on. The road is mostly hardpack, and should be easily rideable as long as it's dry. July and August get pretty regular afternoon storms with lots of lightening, but they usually pass fairly quickly. Most of the pay type campgrounds are near the rim lakes, west of that there is plenty unimproved camping. The most used spots are pretty obvious (fire rings, etc...). If the forest service doesn't want you there, there will most likely be a sign. Stealth camping would be super easy, but probably not needed. There is water up there (springs, lakes, streams, etc..), but it's probably best to bring your own if you want to minimize side trips. Take a good map, there are many dirt roads up there and you never know when the sign you need might be taken out by natural or "other" causes. The sign I see up there most often is "No motorized vehicles" on some of the old roads, but that doesn't apply to us anyways. Lately, during the dryest parts of the summer, whole sections of forrest are actually closed completely, and fire restrictions are common throughout the warm months. As far as time it would take to ride, ? You could probably (Disclaimer: I don't know you, sooo...) ride the section that I am describing in a day or so, but it's such a beautiful area, why not stop to smell the pines.
With record high temps and record low snowfall this winter, you can almost bet that the Mogollon Road and most other forest roads will be closed this summer due to tinder-dry conditions and the risk of forest fire. Such was the case back in 2001 when I was last there. And this winter looks worse. We tried to plead our case with a forest ranger - that we were cyclists, not motorists with spark plugs - but to no avail. They just didn't want ANYBODY on the forest. The monsoon rains don't arrive until late June and then they might just turn the road into a quagmire. I'd check with Coconino and Sitgreaves National Forests first. The road thru Happy Jack and Mormon Lake to Flag is very pleasant.
Thanks for the info so far. Living in NM, I am familiar with the forest closures, and I expect them again this year. I am hoping to squeeze in (maybe in late April) before the closures go into effect. I am planning to take the Happy Jack/Mormon Lake Rd. That's paved correct?