Saturday, November 16, 2013

Biking the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Our primary reason for staying in Williams was for its proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park.  We considered taking the train up to the Canyon, but decided to drive instead. 

Grand Canyon Train

Tom and I were here about 20 years ago, but so much of the park has changed since then.  There’s a new Visitor Center near the entrance at the South Rim, and several bike paths.  Bright Angel Rentals is in their 2nd year of offering bike rentals at the Grand Canyon, and has several options for exploring the Grand Canyon by bicycle.  We opted for the Hermit’s Rest package, where we would ride 11 miles out to Hermit’s Rest

Fullscreen capture 11162013 75614 PM

and be picked up by van for the trip back to the Visitor Center where we left our car.

The bike path took us through the woods,

Greenway Trail

past the stables where the mules are kept,

A group of mules

where we saw a mule deer with her fawn,

Baby Mule Deer

and then continued into the Village.  We stopped to eat our lunches on some benches at the Bright Angel Trailhead, where we got our first look at the canyon,

Our first view of the Grand Canyon

Bald Eagle over the Canyonand spotted a pair of Bald Eagles circling overhead.







We had four hours to ride the 11 miles out to Hermit’s Rest, so after lunch we walked a short distance down the Bright Angel Trail to the tunnel. 

Bright Angel Trail

At the tunnel


Near the edge!


The views inside the canyon were amazing, and hard to capture with photos!

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon











Grand Canyon

The boys enjoyed the short walk into the canyon, and were pretty confident that they could have made it all the way to the bottom and back up again!  I told them that they could come back in a few years and give it a try!

In the tunnel

Bryce in the tunnel

For today, though, we were going to get back on the bikes and continue along the rim.

Careful Nick!

One last photo from below!

Tom at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon











Back on the bikes, it was time to tackle the 6% uphill grade . . . this was the one really tough section of the trip, and it was 1/2 mile long . . .

Biking up the big hill

alternating between walking and riding, we all made it to the top!

We rode along Hermit Rd., with the only vehicle traffic being the shuttle busses every 10 or 15 minutes.  In this area we were away from the edge of the canyon, but each shuttle stop brought us back to the rim, with new views at each stop.

Grand Canyon

The Trailview Overlook offered a spectacular view of the Bright Angel Trail and Grand Canyon Village.

Looking back at Canyon Village


Day 316_Grand Canyon










As we continued along the road, eagle-eye Bryce spotted several elk in the woods on the other side.  They walked casually through the trees as we stood on the shoulder to watch.

Elk in the woods

Our next stop was Maricopa Point,













and by the time we got back to the bikes, the elk herd had caught up with us and were gathering in the road . . .

Elk in the road

The rest of the herd










the same road we needed to ride on – and they had no intention of moving!

Baby & Mama

Tom thought he might get them moving with the bike,

Tom's going to chase them away!

but they hardly even moved off the road when the shuttle bus drove through . . . we rode quickly through behind the bus, looking eye-to-eye with the elk (frighteningly close!), but they left us alone and let us pass.  Whew!

We continued to stop at each overlook, and the further we got from the village, the less people were there with us.

















We finally reached Hopi Point which, at 7071 feet, was the highest overlook on the canyon rim.



Hopi Point

From this point, our ride became mostly downhill and followed closer to the canyon rim.  The boys were ready to go . . . me, too . . . I was ready for some downhill!

Biking the Grand Canyon

We were running low on time to get to Hermit’s Rest by our scheduled pickup time at 3:30, but we could not resist the amazing views at each overlook!












We finally spotted the Colorado River . . . I was expecting it to be blue, so had a hard time finding it!

Colorado River

As the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, the various colors of the canyon began to really stand out.

The sun shining on the canyon

The weather was fantastic for a bike ride . . . cool enough to be comfortable in sweatshirts, and just enough sun to keep it from feeling cold!

Tom & Marci at the Grand Canyon

We continued on, and the last several miles on the bike path went by quickly – we sure were glad no elk stepped out in front of us as we flew down the trail!

One more photo stop,

Almost at the end of the road













and then we arrived at Hermit’s Rest, with our shuttle van right behind us!

At Hermit's Rest

We enjoyed the views from Hermit’s Rest while our bikes were loaded on the trailer,

Our ride back

and took one last picture before the trip back to the Visitor Center.

We made it to the end!

We really enjoyed the bike ride out to Hermit’s Rest . . . it was challenging at times (especially that 6% hill!), but the changing views of the canyon from the various overlooks were amazing!  In previous visits, we had never been past Bright Angel Trail, so this was all new territory for us. 

There are other options for getting out to Hermit’s Rest – walking the rim trail, or riding the shuttle buses, but we really enjoyed the bike ride.  It might not be  quite as enjoyable in the summer – with the heat and the crowds – but November was the perfect time for it!


  1. WOW what and amazing day!! We hiked the West Rim to Hermits Rest about 13 years ago before they had bicycle rentals. We really enjoyed getting away from the crowds and experiencing the canyon with just Mother Nature;o)) Your photos are terriffic!! We'll be waiting for the post of the boys hike in and out of the canyon in a couple years:o))

  2. I will try to remember this bike option for when we are there. Lots like a great way to see that area.

  3. Beautiful! Me and Larry will definitely have to make a trip there sometime. Once I can travel again when my mess is done with. Thank you for giving me the view. Enjoy from tina


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