“A high elevation, remote, and iconic singletrack trail that hugs the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
— Tom Robson
Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
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.
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 trial, enables you to divide up the trail as two separate out-and-back rides: 1) Locust Point south to 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.
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!
The Rainbow Rim Trail
offers 18 miles (one-way) of exceptional solitude on a remote rim of the Grand Canyon.
While running 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 running is spent traveling on a well-designed and sustainably built trail in 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.
Mileages 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
Total = 18 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 another 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.