The Rainbow Rim Trail … Believe the Hype

While Sharon and I were between our Grand Canyon Trust trips in Utah and the Arizona strip, we had the opportunity to camp on the North Kaibab National Forest. We were very fortunate that we also got to ride part of the Rainbow Rim trail. The Rainbow Rim trail is relatively new and goes from Parissawampitts point to Timp point.

parissawampitts Trail head

Where we started our ride

As far as I can tell this is the only trail with significant Grand Canyon rim view portions that is open to mountain bikes. There are a few places on the north rim where the Kaibab National Forest goes right to the rim and the National Park starts right below the rim. The Kaibab National Forest seized the opportunity and created a trail built for mountain bikes that is largely right on or near the rim that also encompasses several points.

view from along the rainbow rim trail

An early Canyon view along the trail

The whole trail segment is a point to point totaling about 18 miles. Sharon and I started at Parissawampitts and went to the next point, Fence and back for a total of 11.5 miles of sweet single track. The trail has a fair number of twists and turns and ups and downs and nothing too crazy.  It’s mostly fast flowing single track of the sort that induces grins on most if it were just simply out in the woods somewhere and not on the rim of the Grand Canyon. But of course it is right on the rim much of the way.  The trail leaves you breathless in more ways than one since it’s at over 9,000 feet of elevation.

Sharon and Jay at Fence Point, overlooking Grand Canyon

Sharon and Jay at Fence Point, overlooking Grand Canyon

Sharon adds: The photo above was taken by this awesome man, Frank, who we met at Fence point.  Frank had come all the way from Hollywood California to ride the Rainbow Rim Trail.  He had a long grey beard and was in his early eighties.  He was just loving the trail, taking it slow and doing different parts everyday.  He was a great inspiration to me as I struggled to both breathe and ride at 9,000 feet.

Rainbow Rim Trail

a view of the trail itself

I will now be thinking about going back until I actually get the chance to. There is also lots of nice primitive camping to be had along the trail at various points.  I would think that a whole week here would be better than a long weekend.  It also seems well suited to lightly supported bike packing trip with all the great camping along the way and in the area and the Arizona Trail being so close. The possibilities for adventure on this part of the North Kaibab seem endless.

Fence Point

Another great view from Fence Point into the Grand Canyon


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