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Rainbow Rim Trail #10

 25 votes

Length

22.6 Miles 36.4 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,671' 509 m

Ascent

-1,328' -405 m

Descent

3%

Avg Grade (1°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

7,939' 2,420 m

High

7,506' 2,288 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

Getting forecast...

A high elevation, remote, and iconic singletrack trail that hugs the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Kevin League

Overview

The trail is usually dry and snow-free from late spring (mid-May) through late fall (mid-October). Access roads to the trail are open during this period as well. Roads are closed and the trail is buried under snow in winter. Check in with the National Forest before making the trip.
Located in the Kaibab National Forest of northern Arizona, the remote and aptly named Rainbow Rim Trail follows along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, connecting five large overlooks that peer into one of the largest and most fascinating canyons on Planet Earth!
Dogs: Off-leash

Need to Know

The trail is located in a very remote area, the nearest services are many miles away, so be prepared for backcountry conditions. Because of the trail's remoteness, many riders will take advantage of the plentiful primitive camping at one of the five overlook points and spend a couple of days exploring the area. Bring everything you might need including water and food, no services are available. The forest roads out to the Rainbow Rim are ok (not great) for two-wheel drive cars.

Many riders prefer the flow of the trail from north to south, but it rides well either way. Setting up camp at Locust Point for example, which is the midpoint of the trail, enables you to divide up the trail as two separate out-and-back rides: 1) Locust Point south past Timp Point and back and, 2) Locust Point north to Parissawampitts Point and back.

Even though it is purported that up to 90% of the Rainbow Rim's users are mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders commonly use this trail as well.

Description

The Rainbow Rim Trail offers 22.5 miles (one-way) of exceptional solitude on a remote rim of the Grand Canyon. The trail offers an extremely unique experience; it is the only singletrack trail on the rim of the Grand Canyon open to bikes. Trails in nearby Grand Canyon National Park are closed to bicycles.

While riding the Rainbow Rim, the views are fantastic, but somewhat infrequent, which make you appreciate every time you come across a glimpse into the great abyss. In fact, you never are very far from the rim, but the majority of the riding is spent traveling on a well designed and sustainably built trail through forest, up and down shallow drainages, and across flower-filled meadows.

Each of the trail's five overlooks offer a distinct view and perspective of the Grand Canyon's features including the Powell Plateau, Steamboat Mountain, Tapeats Amphitheater and Great Thumb Mesas.

Mileage from each Point are as follows:
Parissawampitts to Fence = 5.5 miles
Fence to Locust = 3.0 miles
Locust to North Timp = 6.5 miles
North Timp to Timp = 3.0 miles
Timp to Forest Road 271= 4.3 miles
Total = 22.5 miles one-way

History & Background

Due to the popularity and uniqueness of the trail, IMBA and the Kaibab National Forest have agreed on a plan to extend the trail by a total of 8 miles! The district signed a decision memo in November 2012 to allow for construction of up to 8 miles of trail. The expansion will extend east off of the existing trail, consisting of 3 miles of new construction and 4 miles of road-to-trail conversion, turning the out-and-back trail into a lollipop. As of 2016, a few miles of the planned expansion have been completed and the trail now reaches to the intersection of FR 271 and FR 271A.

Contacts

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 15, 2017
Jim McKee
17mi
Sep 14, 2017
Peter Kirchgessner
Jul 6, 2017
Craig Champlin
May 27, 2017
Amy McClintock
Camped in middle and split over two days.
May 15, 2017
Michael Remke
Two down trees on the North end of the trail and one down tree between North Timp and Locust Point 42mi — 4h 10m
Feb 24, 2017
Nelson646 Nelson
Nov 9, 2016
Heather Priemer
Locust point
Sep 23, 2016
John Tveten

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 25 votes

#1

in North Rim

#206

Overall
  4.1 from 25 votes
5 Star
36%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
4%
Rankings

#1

in North Rim

#16

in Arizona

#206

Overall
1,330 Views Last Month
51,207 Since Jul 12, 2013
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

7%
53%
40%
0%
0%
0%
Bruce Cooper
Boise
Bruce Cooper   Boise
Does anyone have an average width on this trail? Can't ride a Mt Bike due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan so I ride a trike. Wheelbase is 30.5 inches. I plan on doing the paved rim, but would like to do some off road rim action. Jan 13, 2018
Thinking about riding here in July/August, but unsure about how hot it will get. Is it high desert weather like Taos in the summer? Does anyone know what the temps run at this time of year? Feb 27, 2018
Eric Donley
Moab, UT
Eric Donley   Moab, UT
Such an amazing place to visit and ride. The camping is amazing and the riding is suitable for intermediate riders, but more advanced riders will enjoy the rides because of the scenery and trail quality. If you thinking about going on a trip here and would like a fully guided experience please contact Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. 4 days ago

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