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  1. #1
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    Route to Grand Canyon

    I am currently touring down the Pacific Coast and have become somewhat addicted to this style of travel. In an effort to continue, I thought it would be pretty great to continue riding to the Grand Canyon from L.A. However, I have been unsuccessful in finding a route. Does anyone know of a possible route between L.A. and the Grand Canyon? Or are the roads simply too busy or the terrain too crazy? Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I'm not familiar with the best route from LA to Arizona. I do know there are a lot of very lightly traveled two-lane highways in that part of CA but I wouldn't be surprised if you might have to get on an Interstate at some point. I would suggest taking a route that will get you into Kingman in the NW portion of the state. You could then follow historic Route 66 until 15 or so miles west of Williams. This is a beautiful route will very little traffic. At this point you'll have to take Intersate 40 into Williams. This is a fairly short but steep section. Take highway 64 north from Williams all the way to the Canyon. I rode much of 64 to the Canyon a few weeks back. The tour bus traffic was pretty heavy but should be tapering off soon. Hwy 64 is two lanes and there is a decent shoulder to ride on.

    Keep in mind that this part of Arizona gets ~100" of snow a year and it is supposed to snow this week. The temps will be in the 30s during the day and the teens at night.

  3. #3
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Routing depends on when you would turn East and whether you want to include Death Valley NP along the way. Some routes tend to have longer stretches without regular services. You would need some water carrying capacity. Cold weather gear may be needed soon in the mountains where you are heading as elevation increases.

    AAA maps are useful particularly the Indian Country Map and Southern Nevada and Death Valley area.

    Approximately when will you arrive in the Santa Barbara area?

    Do you want or need to ride through LA?

  4. #4
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We turned off the coast at San Luis Obispo and went over to Bakersfield, Death Valley, Las Vegas. From there you can get to the Grand Canyon quite easily. We opted to head up to Utah to Zion NP, then along the north rim of the Grand Canyon to Page, then to the Grand Canyon - it was fabulous! We did have to get on the interstate to get to St George, Utah, but the rest was all on back roads. We have a blog at crazyguy - search for Vogel family and it should come up.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  5. #5
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Riding interstates, as a limited route, is fine and legal under the right circumstances (I believe the rule is that if there's no other route to where you are going they're legal). We rode them a lot on our transam-all of them in the western states. You'll often find low traffic counts and great surfaces-often much better than the two lane roads you'll find. The trickiest part is getting past an on/off ramp- really dangerous. You really have to watch for cars that are exiting-they can be on you in a heartbeat.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    When are you dong this? You realize how cold it is going to be? Check to make sure North Rim (Jacob lake) is not closed after our WED. blizzard. Get your food in Kanab UT. I like the Las Vegas route with Zion and North rim much better IMO.
    Not sure about CA but I am sure you will be on I 10 for some of it. Arizona I 10 to US60/71 to AZ89 to US180 to grand cannyon. Not very fun I might add until you get past Prescott. Lots of climbing to Prescott 6,000 feet. Yarnell hill is really tough. Narrow lanes outside Wikenburg with lots of traffic unless you travel in the morn. Mexico sounds much better ride down the Baja.

  7. #7
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    The other posters are correct in their advice about getting to the North Rim. I didn't mention it because of the good chance of snow there. Also, the North Rim developed area, because of the snow, closes for the winter. I'm not sure of the exact date (check the National Park Service Grand Canyon website) but I'd bet it'll be closed by the time you are planning to be at the Canyon. Parts of the North Rim are at 9000'. I've worked up there in the summer and it can get surprisingly cool there even that time of year. It would be horrible to cycle from Jacob Lake to the rim and then have it snow. The road isn't regularily plowed and you'd have a heck of a time getting out of there. The South Rim will be your best bet this time of year. I'd suggest again that you come into NW Arizona instead of further south on I-10. That is a very busy Interstate and as mentioned by someone else, you'll have some serious climbing to do to get into the high country of Northern Arizona. Route 66 is really quite beautiful and there is almost no traffic but there are services every 30 miles or so. The elevation gain on it is extremely gradual. Regardless of which rim you decide to visit, the weather should be a real consideration. I biked up to the South Rim a couple of weeks ago and it was already getting down into the high 20s at night. Southern Az may be your best bet to avoid the cold.

  8. #8
    BWF
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    To add a few words to what the others have said - the north rim got a big snow a few days ago. A friend of mine got stuck on the Nankoweap hiking trail which prolonged their trip an extra day. In all fairness though, most days are still rideable and very pretty. The snow coming on Wednesday is expected to be a single day of light showers only and then several days of beautiful weather after. The weather is a gamble though, so you would be taking a risk. I haven't ridden my bicycle to LA, but I do make that drive about four times a year. Much of it is boring wide open desert with few services. The stretch from Barstow to Needles is especially boring. I dread making it in a car let alone a bike. I reccommend taking the Amtrak from LA or Santa Barbara to Kingman, and then taking your ride from there.

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    BWF
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  11. #11
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Here's a route without going on the interstate. I can't tell you anything about its safety. It looks interesting and is about 457 miles. I used the google walking directions engine to create it. Switch to "hybrid" and zoom in to see more.

    *** EDIT NOTE ****

    Hey all, I do apologize, the LA to Grand Canyon route, previously posted, has been removed as it is potentially dangerous.
    Last edited by BigAura; 10-27-09 at 05:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    Here's a route without going on the interstate. I can't tell you anything about its safety. It looks interesting and is about 457 miles. I used the google walking directions engine to create it. Switch to "hybrid" and zoom in to see more.

    L.A To Grand Canyon
    That route is totally unacceptable. I would need a GPS, tons of water, and enormous amounts of time to go over the gravel and or sand. I can't think of who would suggest this to anyone with a little knowledge of touring in rural areas on the west coast.
    Last edited by wheel; 10-26-09 at 10:03 PM.

  13. #13
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Hey all, I do apologize, wheel is right that LA to Grand Canyon route is inappropriate and potentially dangerous. I have removed it. I my own defense I did state that it was generated and its safety unknown. Sorry for the mistke.

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