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Ride Report: Rainbow Rim

There are few things better than spending a weekend camping and riding with friends. Drop those two things next to one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world, and well, you have what some would call a winning combination. Our recent trip to the Rainbow Rim was that perfect combination, great friends, good rides, killer views and temperatures that don’t allow you to boil an egg on the dash of your car.

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The Dye Clan enjoying some down time in the hammock.

Rainbow Rim is a magical place. Millions of people flock to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for the spectacular views leaving the park crowded. Rainbow Rim sits just outside of the park providing the same quality scenery, but access is from a dirt road so you will see 16 people instead of thousands. Even better, it only takes a few hours to get there from St. George. We know that technically speaking, the Rim is in Northern Arizona. The funny thing about NoZona is that it is essentially forgotten. Outside of the national park, the majority of the land north of the Grand Canyon is completely forgotten by Arizona. So we claim it as Southern Utah.

Getting there is fairly simple. The fast way is to drive to Fredonia and as you leave town headed toward Jacob Lake hang a right on Forest Road 22. This will take you almost all the way to the rim. The pavement will turn to dirt after 10ish miles and then you continue on dirt toward the Vista Points. Follow the signs with that phrase. The trail goes from Vista Point to Vista Point. It is common for people to camp at Locust Point which is the midpoint of the trail. This gives you the opportunity to ride half the trail and back to camp, grab lunch and then ride the other half. Or break it up into multiple days. Timp and North Timp also have fantastic camping opportunities.

The slow way to get there is to stick to pavement to Jacob’s Lake and access Forest Road 22 farther up the mountain. In my experience, this adds about an hour to the trip. If you are looking to hook this into a visit to the North Rim, this would be the way to go.

Treehouse anyone?
Treehouse anyone?

As mentioned above, the trail links together the points creating an 18 mile ride. There is some elevation change, but for the most part it is a fairly mellow ride or at least it would be if you weren’t riding around 8,000 feet. The elevation always makes me feel like I’m riding through quick sand, but that’s just me. The five Vista Points are Parisswampits, Fence, Locust, North Timp and Timp. All of the points can be accessed via dirt roads and sit between 3-6 miles apart. The multiple access points make this a great ride for the family. It’s kind of a pick your adventure type of outing.

Shirley and Steve ready to rip through the trees.
Shirley and Steve ready to rip through the trees.

Our recent trip began on Friday. We more or less met at the shop at 5:30 and then caravanned toward the hills. Camp was set up just as the sun was setting on the rim and we got a fire going for a relaxing evening in the mountains. This was followed by a lazy morning waking up with the sun, making breakfast and readying the bikes.

We'll be ready in a minute.
We’ll be ready in a minute.

Once the coffee had us moving, we were stoked to get riding. We planned to ride to Parisswampitts from our camp and back. The trail was in good condition with some loose, rocky spots to keep us on our toes. There were multiple peeps who couldn’t stop saying, “This is so much fun.” or “This is amazing.” or “We should do this every weekend.” Of course, it was said over gasps and as we sat at the points enjoying what is such an awesome view it is sometimes referred to as cartoonish. About half the group made it to the end, the others turning around as they saw fit for puppies or family. We were all back in camp in time for some lunch and more relaxing in the shade of the Ponderosa trees.

Day 2 was similar. The lazy got turned up a bit, people rolled out of bed a little slower, but the stoke was still there and everyone was back on for a ride. We had picked up a couple of new riders who had shown up later and lost a couple who had headed home. Despite comments to the contrary, almost the entire group made the length of the trail to Timp Point. The pace was fast and the stoke was high.

Riding in the shade of the Ponderosas is pretty nice.
Riding in the shade of the Ponderosas is pretty nice.

It was a great weekend with great peeps. If you missed this one, don’t worry, we’ll be doing it again soon. It might not get the suggested monthly rotation, but it’s too sweet of a place to let too much time go by before our return.

Trail Maps
Locust to Parisswampitts

Locust to Timp

Photos of the Fun

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