Hands down one of the most fun ways to experience the South Rim is to book Grand Canyon bike rentals and explore the paths. There are multiple view points to discover along the way and even mules to pet if they let you.
Before you convince yourself this will be too difficult of a task, let me remind you of the new invention called e-bikes! These assist you during your ride along the rim as much or as little as you’d like so you can save your legs for a hike or walking other parts of the park.
No matter if you choose a Grand Canyon bike rental company or bring your own, this post will guide you through the different route options available so you can craft your perfect adventure.
Why Bike The Grand Canyon South Rim?
At first I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of biking a portion of the South Rim, but I booked my Grand Canyon bike rentals anyways just to try something new for my twenty-ninth birthday. Let me tell you…after the bike ride we had I am hooked!
One of the main perks about adventuring on two wheels is that you’re able to cover more ground quicker than you would on your own two feet. Most people don’t hike the entire Rim Trail, which in my opinion is a mistake. Because, well, they miss out on some pretty awesome views; which leads me to my second point.
There are so many unmarked viewpoints along the South Rim that are much less populated than the commercialized ones most visitors flock to near the visitor center. These view points provide a different perspective of the Grand Canyon and are just as (if not more) impressive.
Lastly, biking along the rim is just a neat experience. It is a different way to cover ground and still get in some outdoor physical activity. It can be a leisure ride or more of a challenge- it is all up to you. You’ll enjoy it as a solo adventure or can use it to plan a date!
How To Secure Grand Canyon Bike Rentals
If you don’t have your own bikes you’re able to rent some from within the park itself. It is a very easy process since there is only one Grand Canyon bike rental company that operates within the park- Bright Angel Bicycles.
They are located near the visitor center and also hold a cafe inside their building. You have the choice of renting:
- Cruiser Bicycles
You can book online or give them a call if you have additional questions.
Bright Angel Bicycles also offers an add on lunch which I thought was a neat idea. When I booked my grand canyon bike rentals I chose the add on lunch and we ended up having a picnic on the rim with a killer view. So worth it!
Best Time To Bike Grand Canyon South Rim
While the Grand Canyon is open year round, biking year round probably isn’t a great idea. The South Rim gets snowfall and ice during the winter months, so I’d refrain from biking anywhere from November-February, sometimes March depending on the weather.
You’ll most likely enjoy biking the Grand Canyon between the months of April-October when the roads are clear and temperatures aren’t as cold. June, July, and August land during monsoon season so you’ll have to keep an eye on the weather for you may get rained out. If you decide to bike during the summer just watch the daily high temperatures and try to begin your biking adventure as early as possible!
Biking Routes Along The South Rim
There are several routes to choose from when biking Grand Canyon South Rim. Choosing the correct route for your adventure can seem a bit overwhelming at first. You have to consider the overall distance, difficulty, and what you’ll actually get to see along the way.
When biking at the Grand Canyon I chose the route to Yaki Point, so we’ll cover this route first then provide details on other options afterwards. You also have the option of booking a Grand Canyon bike tour- more on that later in this post.
Visit the Bright Angel Bicycles map to view the routes!
- Distance | 7 miles RT
- Difficulty | Easy-moderate
- Total Time | 1-3 hours
Bright Angel Bicycles suggested the orange route for my husband and I which leads bikers to South Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point, the furthest view point heading east along the South Rim. We went along with their suggestion since we were looking for more of a leisurely ride and had planned to hike Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch the next morning.
The orange Grand Canyon biking route is 7 miles roundtrip and can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on how often you stop. If you purchase a half day rental you’ll have plenty of time for your adventure.
There are portions that have slight inclines but nothing crazy as the total elevation gain is 142 feet. With e-bikes you’ll be cruising right along. Some of the best parts were passing under the tall pines and riding right along the edge of the rim. I believe this Grand Canyon biking route is the only one that has you on the Rim Trail for a great distance, and quite literally right on the edge.
It was a thrilling ride with outstanding views to say the least. Being able to pet the mules at South Kaibab Trailhead was also a perk!
Hermits Rest Via. Visitor Center
- Distance | 21 miles RT
- Difficulty | Difficult
- Total Time | 3-6 hours
If you don’t have to save your legs and are looking for a challenge while biking the Grand Canyon, consider the yellow route. This route is the longest option clocking in at 21 miles roundtrip, has more hills, and can take anywhere from 3-6 hours to complete.
Good news is the e-bikes are able to go for 45-50 miles so you can cruise the entire way if you don’t want to pedal. What I love about this route is that is leads you from the Visitor Center, through the Grand Canyon Village, and all the way to Hermits Rest, the last view point on the west end of the rim. Along the way you’ll have access to restaurants, shops, and a ton of view points to stop at.
Biking the yellow Grand Canyon route is a great alternative to hopping off and on the shuttle busses which are typically stuffed with other people. This way you still get to see everything at this end of the South Rim, but with the addition of fresh air and some physical activity.
You can bike along Hermit Road since it is closed to private vehicles from mid-March through mid-October. Shuttle busses will still be passing by, so don’t forget to pull off to the right and dismount your bike to let them pass.
Hermits Rest Via. Grand Canyon Village
- Distance | 10.5 miles
- Difficulty | Moderate
- Total Time | 2-5 hours
Say 21 miles is a bit more than you’d like to commit to (I get it). With the red bike route you’re able to utilize the park shuttles. Bicycles are able to be racked on each of the shuttles but you must be able to do it yourself. E-bikes are not allowed on the shuttles, only cruiser type bikes or pedal bikes.
When utilizing the shuttle buses you have a few options. You can either hop on at the Visitor Center or Grand Canyon Village and ride all the way to Hermits Rest, then bike back. Or you can choose to bike to Hermits Rest first and hop on the shuttle to return to either location.
This is a nice option if you want to make it to Hermits Rest on the bikes but cut the mileage in half from 21 to 10.5 miles. It still makes for quite a bike ride but you’ll get to see so much!
The steepest section of this route runs from the Visitor Center to Hopi Point. To bypass a steep hill, you could also shuttle to Hopi Point and being your bike ride there.
Grand Canyon Bike Tours
Bright Angel Bicycles also offers tours so if you’re looking for a Grand Canyon biking tour they’re your go-to. The perk of taking a tour versus renting bikes for a solo outing is your guide will be a wealth of knowledge and share some of that along the way. Typically they share history on the geology, wildlife, plants, and human life.
You have two options when it comes to tours- the Yaki Tour which does not include a shuttle since it is only 7 miles, and the Hermit Road Tour which begins at Hopi Point and ends at Hermit Rest with a shuttle back to the bike shop and cafe.
Tips For Biking The Grand Canyon Rim
- Wear a backpack to carry all your essentials.
- Don’t forget sun protection- sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen!
- Pack a layer or two in the cooler months because the temperature can change, especially in shaded areas.
- Carry a national park map with you so you know where you’re going.
- Pull off to the right and dismount your bike when a shuttle bus is passing.
- Purchase the lunch add on or bring your own to enhance your overall experience!
Final Thoughts On Grand Canyon Bike Rentals
I absolutely loved my time biking the Grand Canyon South Rim. It was somewhat a last minute idea that turned into one of the best experiences I’ve had there to date. The orange route was perfect for us to have a leisurely day and acclimate to the elevation before our big hike the following morning.
Adding on the lunch option to our rentals was a huge perk as well. We drove from Phoenix that morning and arrived to the Grand Canyon at 1 p.m. to begin our bike ride. I didn’t want to stop prior to entering the park for lunch, so it was nice to arrive with it all prepared and bagged for us. The spot we found along the rim for our picnic was epic!
Next time I return I definitely want to bike to Hermits Rest and experience that end of the part from two wheels. If you do visit the to bike the Grand Canyon South Rim, return to this post and let me know. I’d love to hear all about it.
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