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In Grand Canyon National Park, which sees more than 6 million visitors each year, the park’s greenway trail system offers a delightful way to connect travelers to those quiet moments where they can take in the awe-inspiring beauty that surrounds them. All told, Arizona's Grand Canyon Greenway Trail totals 13 miles of paved pathway for biking and walking, providing access to numerous scenic viewpoints and attractions in the park.
Running east–west, the park offers a 4.4-mile route from the Village Loop Drive and Hermit Road intersection in the Grand Canyon Village to the South Kaibab Trailhead (off Yaki Point Road). At roughly its midpoint, an additional 6.6 miles of paved greenway trail heads south from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to the park’s gateway community of Tusayan. Note that this north–south trail has an uphill grade as you travel north from Tusayan to the park; since the South Rim is at high altitude (7,000 feet), the extra exertion of this ascent may prove challenging for novice riders.
Farther west and disconnected from the rest, an additional 2 miles of paved greenway parallels Hermit Road between Monument Creek Vista and Hermits Rest (where there is a small gift shop and snack bar).
Pedaling along the park’s greenway trail system, visitors are immersed in the scenery. Winding through ponderosa, pinyon and juniper forest, adventurers will often not only have a rim-side view of the canyon, they’ll also have a good chance to see wildlife, such as elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, gray foxes and one of North America’s largest birds, the California condor (with a wingspan of 9+ feet!).
To learn more about the park’s fascinating landscape, a visit to the Yavapai Museum of Geology makes for a worthwhile stop; from the visitor center, travelers can take the paved, pedestrian-only Rim Trail (or the shuttle bus) for about a mile to reach it. From the museum, a walking path stretching westward illuminates the geologic history of the canyon through interpretative panels—each meter of this “Trail of Time” signifying the passing of 1 million years.
Numerous touchpoints to human history are also available just off the greenway trail in the Grand Canyon Historic Village, where there are many early-20th-century buildings and National Historic Landmarks to explore; a walking tour map of the village can be picked up at the visitor center. Railroad history buffs may even want to enter the park on the Grand Canyon Railway along tracks that first opened in the park in 1901. The trains run daily from Williams, Arizona, and drop off passengers at the Grand Canyon Depot, one of only a handful of stations remaining in the U.S. that were built with logs.
For those who want to combine their biking experience with a hike into the canyon, the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails are easily accessible from the greenway trail. Just be sure to bring water, and follow the park’s hiking tips before venturing out, as these dirt paths are steep and challenging.
Parking is available at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center at Mather Point on the South Rim. At the visitor center and throughout the park, you will also find stops for the park’s free shuttle bus system; buses include bike racks, so you can bike one way on the trail, then take the shuttle back. Additional parking lots can be found in Grand Canyon Village at the Market Plaza and in the Village Historic District.
Admission to Grand Canyon National Park lasts for seven days and costs $35 per private vehicle, $30 per motorcycle, or $20 per person when entering by foot, bicycle, park shuttle bus, Grand Canyon Railway or private rafting trip. Children 15 years old and younger are free, and the park also offers a handful of “Fee-Free Days” for all ages each year.
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