By Richard Fox
Cycling Grand Canyon’s South Rim area used to be our little secret, but thanks to Bright Angel Bicycles rental bikes, there are now scores of cyclists along the roads and trails; most seemingly international visitors based on their languages. Even with the added traffic it still is uncrowded, and the thrill of cycling with Grand Canyon views is unparalleled. West Rim Drive is closed to most vehicles (except handicapped, trams, and a few tour buses) during March – November, giving you an ultra wide and fabulous bike path that extends 7 miles from Grand Canyon Village west to Hermits Rest. You can access all of the famous vista points, and have some all to yourself along the route as well. If you get tired, hop on a bike-carrying tram at the designated stops. Be warned that although it is an easy ride, there are some gradual grades, so if you’re not acclimated to the 7,000+ foot elevation, take it slow and easy. Also consider taking the tram up the first and steepest hill to the first stop.
From the village, the Greenway Trail is the paved bikeway that heads east and reaches various features such as the Market Plaza with its restaurants and grocery store, the campground access roads, and ultimately the visitors center complex and bike rental facility. It is not especially scenic until it leaves the visitors center and reaches the rim for a couple of miles of amazing vistas, ending at the trailhead for the Kaibab Trail. From there you can also pedal on the closed-to-most-cars road to Yacqui Point.
For extra trail mileage, a new 6-mile path leads from the tourist village of Tusayan outside the park through the forest to the visitors center. It is mostly gravel.