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I'm heading to the Grand Canyon for a wedding in June and hoping to do some riding while I'm there. Two questions...

1. What is there to ride around GC(south rim) and Williams Az? I couldn't find anything on the trail reviews unless I had my towns messed up.

2. Are there any places to rent a bike around those towns? I'm debating on having someone bring my bike out for me that's driving (my family is flying) or just renting one while I'm there.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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There's a good couple trails up and over the mountain in williams. You start at the forest center that is on the frontage road at the first Williams turnoff if you're comming from the west. You turn left going into this place, and there's a trail head a little ways down the road. Then you ride through the town of Williams. Benham trail starts off of the old perkinsville road, which goes south out of the town, it's about 3-4 miles south of town, and this goes almost all the way to the top of bill williams mountain, and then you take the Bill Williams Trail back down to the forest center.

You can actually now bypass some of the ride through town with a few trails on the lower part of the mountain.

I don't like to share much how fun this ride is, because if everyone knew, everyone would come up and do it! It's kind of a little mini-flagstaff, but this route is really fun. You climb up the mountain, at a pretty steady grade, and then get to the top, and then start comming back down. It's aspens and firs up here, and the beginning of Bill Williams trail is steep, fast and fun. The mid and lower section involves more rocks and some ledges as you keep descending, and there's almost no climbing involved on the descent. It's not super long, but it is tons of fun, and it easily outclasses anything in prescott for descent.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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rockman said:
That is indeed a fine downhill but the climb up Benham is a grunt.
Not really, I haven't died yet.
 

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Kathleen in AZ
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rockman said:
That is indeed a fine downhill but the climb up Benham is a grunt.
Back in 97 there was an MBAA race on the SE flanks of Bill Williams Mnt. I recall it being blazing hot that year but the trails were fun. More fun than the race course, however, was the day after when we rode up to the top of the mtn on the access road then went down what I'm guessing is called the Bill Williams Mountain trail: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/recreation/trails/handouts/wil_bill_williams.pdf All I recall is that the DH was an absolute hoot!! I'm sure there's lots of other fun stuff up there, but you gotta get the locals to give it up ;) . Have you looked to see if anything is posted in the MTBR trail reviews?

K
 

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Jayem said:
Not really, I haven't died yet.
Well, 1200' of climbing in the last 2 miles shouldn't kill ya but that's about an 11% grade which is a grunt in my book. You'd probably like the climb up Bixler from the saddle on Bixler Road to the Bill Williams trail, if you haven't ridden it already. That's more like 14% grade. And it makes for a great descent as well through the Gambel Oaks. You don't see Oak trees at 8000' too often.

At any rate, an intermediate would be better off climbing the road for the last couple of miles (its never too far away from Benham) or perhaps do the Sycamore Rim trail instead.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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rockman said:
Well, 1200' of climbing in the last 2 miles shouldn't kill ya but that's about an 11% grade which is a grunt in my book. You'd probably like the climb up Bixler from the saddle on Bixler Road to the Bill Williams trail, if you haven't ridden it already. That's more like 14% grade. And it makes for a great descent as well through the Gambel Oaks. You don't see Oak trees at 8000' too often.

At any rate, an intermediate would be better off climbing the road for the last couple of miles (its never too far away from Benham) or perhaps do the Sycamore Rim trail instead.
No problem.

Why does everyone always assume that someone asking for recommendations wants to take it "easy"? A good hard ride (like this with LOTS of payoff) can be a lot more fun for some people than an "easy" ride. It depends on who is asking of course, bit it just seems so strange to always recommend riding up a road, or mt elden road, when perfectly fun and good trails exist, especially when the grades are about the same. The last half a mile or so on the access road up to bill williams mountain sucks too, I don't know if it sucks any more or less, but it's also going to get the heart up a few beats.

Anyway, yes, once you get to "the switchbacks" on benham trail, it's a steady constant grunt up from that point to the top of bill william mountain. It's good IMO because the grade doesn't change much throughout the climb, which keeps you from having to go into the anaerobic regime, vs shorter and steeper climbs with more level areas, you'll bonk earlier when you have to do steep climbs above your aerobic limit.

Due to the amount of old growth oak, firs, and aspens in places, it's highly worth it, one of the most beautiful trails up here in NAZ that rivals anything in flagstaff IMO. The views don't suck to bad either.

I think it's a far better "mtb experience" if you start at the ranger station, ride on the trails that cut through town, then out on perkinsville road to benham, up and to bill williams, and then down. You then spend most of the time on trails, vs spending most of the time on roads of some kind. Much higher chance of seeing some black bear poop on benham as well. :thumbsup:
 

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I'm not sure I assumed anything. Isn't the basic idea behind providing advice when someone asks for recommendations is to give them an idea of what to expect?

Perhaps my thinking about trails has changed as gravity continues to exert more influence over my aging carapace.
 

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dirty trail dog
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Okay, how about a trail to take a kid on? My 13 year old is not an experienced mtb'er, and I'd like to take him on something that won't torture him too bad. He's a video game junkie, and I'm going to use my summer trip to try and get the kid more active and more into mountain biking so his $450 Specialized Hardrock doesn't go to waste. So I need a place that I can take him where he'll enjoy the ride, see some great sites, and not feel like daddy hates him.

Know what I mean? Is there anything around Williams/GC area that would help me out?

thanks
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Fort Valley trail system in flagstaff would probably be a good idea.
 

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Planning to ride Benham Trail up Bill Williams Mtn then descend via the Bill Williams trail to the TH near town. Is there a trail (or trails) that connect the Bill Williams Trail and the Benham Trail to avoid the ride up the road?
 

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holy thread resurrection! There is rumor of such a trail but it's on private property. I looked a year or so ago and didn't see anything. I ended up doing the basic connector trail to Williams that stays high from the ranger station/TH and then a surface street or two to the road. The road goes pretty quick. And Benhm is still a sucky climb 10 years later. Bill Williams has also had some stair-step type rock water bar diversion maintenance that is more favorable to horses than bikes.
 

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Thank you Rockman. Do you have any other suggestions for riding in that area? We're camping at Dogtown Lake in a couple weeks and I was looking to ride from the campground.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Some super-rocky lava fields on that Sycamore Rim trail, otherwise it's ok, not a lot of elevation gain or loss. I still love the Benham climb, so amazing with the scenery/firs/aspens, and just a nice steady grunt.
 

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I wouldn't drive out of my way to do the Sycamore Rim Trail. I included it on my Prescott to Flagstaff bikepacking trip last weekend. While the views of Sycamore Canyon are stunning, it's not great mountain biking. It's mainly flat but incredibly rocky and covered in lava fields. Not worth it on the bike, IMO unless it's already planned into a longer route.

 
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