How-to: guided motorcycle tours through Grand Canyon

Abby TegneliaΒ After rising at 3:45 am, taking a private jet charter to Arizona during which we saw the sunrise, and then taking a Papillon helicopter tour through the Grand Canyon, our day had yet to reach the grand finale: Β Have you ever considered guided motorcycle tours through this glorious national park? Let me tell you — it was amazing! I had one rather sad attempt at being a biker chick awhile back. I felt so uncomfortable that I didn’t even take any photos. But I made up for it this time! Don’t I look like a natural? And I definitely need to buy a leather jacket…

guided motorcycle tours

Our chariots await!


One of the most fun parts about jumping onto a motorcycle tour was the costume change: We all got to borrow leather jackets. We ended up going at relatively low speeds, but as I learned on my last Harley ride, while traveling at high speeds on asphalt with nothing between it and you in case of a crash, leather is a fantastic option.

Marina Nicola

Our fearless leader, Marina, who arranged the entire trip for us.


Laura Downey Abby Tegnelia

Laura and I model: Don’t we look like naturals?


If you know Zeke, then you will not find it shocking at all that he was the only one of us to ride his own hog. On these guided tours, as long as you have a valid motorcycle license, you may drive yourself.

Zeke Quezada

Photo courtesy of EagleRider.


The joint helicopter/motorcycle tours are brand-new: They started this past August and are an amazing addition to the standard ‘copter ride through the Grand Canyon. Because of relatively low speed limits in the quaint towns around the national park, it was a pleasant ride. All of the guides were fantastic, fun guys who legitimately love riding motorcycles. The leader of the pack: a bad-ass German woman (yes, woman) who is half of the couple that owns the touring company EagleRider. All in all, it was a great group!

Susan Stapleton

Susan is so excited to get moving!


As you can see, all of the bikes have little backrests on them, so you don’t have to hold on for dear life.

Papillon Motorcyles

I am ready to ride! Photo courtesy of @EagleRider.


Unlike the rest of us imposters, this guy is the real deal!



The ride itself was a few hours, including a few stops at lookout points and for lunch. (They packed what was perhaps the best brown bag lunch I’ve ever had!) The ride was almost meditative — the scenery was gorgeous, the speed wasn’t so fast that it hurt your eyes, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

Papillon motorcycles


And we got to take in splendid views like this one!

Grand Canyon


Our tour was arranged through Papillon and included a private plane from Boulder City to the South Rim, a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, and a motorcycle tour through the surrounding areas. The motorcycle tours are seasonal, so check ahead before planning.

Have fun!

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. This sounds so fun! I have my motorcycle license, but it might be nice to just be a tourist and relax on the back.

  2. I’ve spent a lot of time on motorcycles, but never a Harley! This would be so much fun, I’ll have to bookmark this for a fun future trip idea…

  3. So much time on motorcycles, you are making new friends!

  4. Emily, of COURSE you have a license lol.

    This was so much fun!!

  5. That looks like an awesomely bad-ass way to spend a day!

  6. The helicopter/motorcycle tours are a great idea. I think they’ll do very well. And yes, you do look like a natural. Cool jacket.

  7. BOO. Shaun technically doesn’t have his license but is a super safe driver! πŸ˜›

  8. I also think they’ll do well!!

    Shaun belongs on a motorcycle lol

  9. Look at you looking all bad-ass! πŸ™‚

  10. Smoke and mirrors lol

  11. How much fun!!! I can so see you buying a motorcycle now and painting it pink! πŸ™‚

  12. HA — I can barely drive a car!

  13. Grand Canyon is beautiful in the fall. Glad you got to visit during this time of the year. I’ve got my motorcycle helmet in our garage but I don’t pull it out to ride nearly as often as I used to even just a few years ago. I’ve never done GC on a motorcycle ~ we’ll have to put that on the list as a must do.

  14. Lets see…private jet. Check… Helicopter…check… Harley…check. How many more modes of transportation are you gonna utilize?:)

  15. This is so epic!!! Fierce!!!

  16. Now here is a wonderful adventure I would be a little frightened to do πŸ˜›

  17. You always seem to do the most unique things when traveling. I’ve never even been to the Grand Canyon!

  18. So awesome Abby. After only riding for a few years I’ve really developed a passion for it. Enough that the hobby is start take away some travel funds (yikes!)

    Sounded like a great time. So when are you getting your bike? πŸ™‚

  19. How fun!
    That is the coolest way to tour the Grand Canyon!! πŸ™‚

  20. I’ve always thought you’d make an excellent biker chick!

  21. The leather jacket is my favorite part πŸ™‚

  22. Now that’s a motorcycle tour I would love to participate in. πŸ™‚ How nice to have your own driver so you could sit back and absolutely enjoy it. What a gorgeous day too!! And yes ma’am, you do look like a natural. πŸ™‚

  23. What a great way to see the Grand Canyon! We’ve been several times but never on a bike!

  24. Looks like a blast! You ladies look so SOA! LOL

  25. I was almost tempted to share this post with my hog lovin cowboy but then realized it might not help my case in not getting another bike. I never thought about a guided tour but this sounds so amazing, I need to put it on my bucket list…lol, so I don’t forget.

    So you DO need to have a motorcycle license to ride? If not you ride with someone? Ok, I think I might share it with him, he still keeps his license up and I can pile in behind him like the good ole’ days before kids.

  26. Yes, share, silly lol. The little seat and the low speed limits around the national park equal the easiest ride ever. It really was almost meditative! And then your husband can get his fix, while you have a relaxing ride…

  27. OK…first, I want to know if your hair looked that amazing AFTER the bike tour! Second…girl! I am living vicariously through you and your adventures. You do everything a mom of 4 would have liked to have done before she had babies. Helicopter rides…motorcycles tours…you ROCK!

  28. Looks like a blast!!

  29. Rocking the leather Abby!

  30. Okay, that’s a pretty cool tour! I guess having elbow pads on the leather jackets wouldn’t have the same effect, right? πŸ™‚

  31. As soon as I saw this post I thought “I bet Abby bought a black leather jacket just for this tour!” Haha. You do look great in that leather jacket!

  32. So, I have to go on a motorbike ride this week in Cambodia. I am looking to you for inspiration, as it scares the caca out of me.

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