1. North Rim of the the Grand Canyon. (5 Star Destination. Best of the Grand Canyon
Whenever anyone mentions the Grand Canyon, the South Rim is usually what they are referring to. It is the closest to the Phoenix area, the easiest to get to and the most often visited by far. In fact, of the 5 million visitors to the Grand Canyon every year, only about 10% make it to the North Rim. But as far as I'm concerned, those 90% are missing the real beauty of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is much more beautiful in my opinion. It seems to be enhanced by more erosion which creates more of a 3-D look to the canyon versus the "big ditch" look of the South Rim. It is a really pretty ride to get there and plenty of miles to ride along the rim. Cabins are available for overnight stay. Dress warm as it is at 8800 feet in elevation. The park is only open from Mid-May to Mid-October. Put this one at the top of your list for an overnight ride this year. Click Here for Full Story.
Click Here for Google Map.
Click Here for 190 Beautiful Photos.
2. Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. (Never get tired of this one)
Located just 25 miles South of Flagstaff, Arizona.The red rocks of Sedona at 5000 feet in elevation are so unique and one of a kind that it is a place that I never seem to get tired of. I have ridden all over the Western United States and Canada and haven't seen a place that compares to the color and beauty of Sedona, Arizona. And the good part is that it is only 90 miles away from Phoenix. People come from all over the world to see the red rocks of Sedona and it also happens to be one of the best places to ride a motorcycle through. The best way to get the full view of riding into Sedona is to take Hwy. 179 off of I-17. This way you get the views for about 20 miles as you ride in. There are plenty of places to eat, stay or hike while you are there. Then head up 89A toward Flagstaff to cap off your ride. This is a really good 25 miles of riding. Here are some photos from the ground. And here are some exceptional photos from the air that will give you an overview of what you will see.
Here is a link to the Day Ride feature for Sedona that was done several years ago with a map that includes Jerome.
Click Here for Map.
Click Here for Full Story.
3. Tortilla Flat and Canyon Lake. (Best Local Destination)
Located just 14 miles East of Apache Junction, Arizona. This destination has been and always will be my favorite ride in the Valley area. If you are looking for a ride with magnificent desert landscape packed with centuries old Saguaro cactus nestled in between the mountain backdrops of the Tonto National Forest, this is the one for you. In my opinion, if that is your criteria, this is one of the most beautiful, curvy, and enjoyable rides that you can take in the Phoenix area topped off by an extraordinary view of Canyon Lake as you make your way to the old stopping point known as Tortilla Flat for lunch. Don't forget to take the additional 6 miles of asphalt past Tortilla Flat. Most riders have not done this section or have even heard of it. But it is the icing on the cake. When the road turns to dirt, turn around and enjoy the 20 miles back to Apache Junction.
Click Here for links to recent Story, Photos and Map.
Click Here for original Day Ride Feature with map.
Ever wonder what the road looks like from the air? Click here for a birds eye view. Very interesting.
4. Mt. Lemmon and the Catalina Highway. (5 Star Ride and Destination)
Located on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. The ride up to Mt. Lemmon on Catalina Highway is exceptional in many ways and is a motorcyclists gem of the Southwest. This 30 miles of road has you in awe from the beginning as you ride through 3 eco-systems with massive amounts of huge saguaros and beautiful desert, twisty roads and canyons, breathtaking vistas that will have you rubber necking to get a peek as you are riding, Hoodoo's that will entertain you followed by tall pines and Aspen as you drop into Summerhaven to try and absorb all that you have just experienced. It is truly like being in 3 different places all in a 30 mile ride. The best way that I can describe this ride is that you start out on your way to Tortilla Flat, you get a glimpse of Bryce Canyon minus the red Hoodoo's on your way to the Sierra Nevada's and Yosemite National Park in California before ending up in Colorado. At the top in Summerhaven there is a good little place to eat. This is at 8200 feet. So check the weather before you go. Click Here for the Full Story with photos and maps.
Click Here for the original Day Ride feature with maps.
Click Here for Map
5. Kartchner Caverns. (An Unforgettable Experience)
Located at Kartchner Caverns State Park just 50 miles Southeast of Tucson, Arizona. Kartchner Caverns has got to be one of the coolest and most memorable places that I have been in Arizona. Kartchner Caverns is a still virtually pristine massive limestone cave that has 13,000 feet of passages and two rooms as long as football fields. The State Park offers tours through these multi-colored formations that are live and still developing today. You will see the 58 foot tall Kubla Khan column as well as many other formations.
The Caverns are the combination of the awesome colors and natural beauty that nature has been preparing for us over the last 200,000 years combined with the diligence of the State Parks to bring to us this phenomenon and light it in such a way that it is a real "life experience". I'm not going to give it away, but the end of the 1.5 hour tour is phenomenal. The last 5 minute production is worth the whole trip, you will be moved by this experience. The visit to Kartchner is still something that I think about often. The park is open year round. There are 2 separate tours in 3 rooms that you can take. The Big Room is only open October - April. You will need to make tour reservations ahead of time as there is limited space per tour. Cost is $22.95 per person for ages 14+ and well worth it.
I highly recommend a visit for the whole
family to Kartchner Caverns.
Click Here for my story with maps and photos.
Click Here for Map to Kartchner Caverns.
Click Here for Kartchner Caverns State Park information and to buy tickets.
So these are 5 of my top destinations to put on your upcoming list of places to ride. I will be visiting a few of these myself again this year. Feel free to forward this to your riding groups to share some ideas with them.
Enjoy and RIDE SAFE!
Mid Week Updates will be made on the Cyclerides.com Facebook. New Easy to remember Facebook address. Go to Cyclerides.com Facebook. Over 4100 FANS! Take a look at all the new photos posted on the wall. If you are not on Facebook, you can still view the page, but you will not be able to post. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined. Click the LIKE button!
I’m always looking for that next cool road to ride. Check this one out. Might want to wear your rain gear on this one and go on a calm seas day. Go at least to the 1:15 mark. This road is on the Norwegian coast. Click Here to View.
This is an interesting British advertisement for Mini Coopers. Click Here to View.
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