Ride Report: The Grand Canyon on Two Wheels

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Last year, my friend Genevieve and I decided to ride to the Grand Canyon from our homes in Long Beach and San Diego. I had never been, and despite being told by multiple people to not waste my time (“It’s a tourist trap! Go to Zion/Death Valley/Antelope Canyon/the beach instead!”) I was hellbent on going. I mean, it’s the GRAND CANYON. How much could it possibly suck?

Well, I didn’t actually get to find out, because after arriving in Flagstaff, a small college town about an hour and a half south of the Grand Canyon, it started snowing. And it didn’t stop. We stayed the night at a cute boutique hotel and woke up the next morning to 31 crisp degrees and two motorcycles covered in snow. Riding further up into the mountains didn’t seem like a good idea, so we reluctantly turned around and went south to Sedona instead. It was an awesome trip, but in my head, I instantly started planning for Grand Canyon II: The Revenge.

Fast forward one year, and it was time to try it again. This time I convinced Katie to come with (it was not a hard sell, Katie is always down for an adventure), and after a few weeks of carefully watching the weather forecast, we settled on a weekend in May.

Between San Diego and Phoenix — the first leg of our trip — the temperature went from in the 60s to in the 100s. But it was Friday, we were on the open road instead of at the office, and we had about 1200 miles ahead of us in the next two days. Life was good.

And then it got even better, because we made it to the Grand Canyon. And I dunno about you guys, but I’ve been to some pretty cool places (including Colca Canyon in Peru, which is twice as deep as the GC but nowhere near as wide), but nothing quite like this. It’s got “grand” in the name for a reason.

It’s so huge and so overwhelming that you kind of need to focus on a small section at a time, or your brain simply can’t register it all. So, it was pretty cool, I guess.

By some magical coincidence this day happened to be May 6, also known as International Female Ride Day (weird name, cool sentiment). And I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than by riding to the Grand Canyon with your gals.

Our route from San Diego to the Grand Canyon, via Phoenix, and back.

My advice for anyone who wants to do this ride is WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR JUST DO IT. But also: It’s probably better to go in the fall than in the spring, since the weather in the mountains is still really fickle this close to winter. One day it’s sunny, the next day it’s literally snowing. Also, be prepared for wind. And bring a camera!

As Ron Swanson would say, “Crying: acceptable at funerals, and the Grand Canyon.”

Sanna likes motorcycles, kittens, and punk rock. You’re most likely to find her riding twisties in the mountains or camping in the desert with her moto squad. She has a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, a H-D Shovelhead chopper, a 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan, and a Honda CRF230F.