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  1. #1
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    Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail

    If you could only do one of these rides, and you had a noobie rider with you, which is best?

    Also, which section of the AZT actually has the best singletrack and best views? I'm hoping to pick out maybe the primo 10 miles of singletrack on the AZT and either do that as an out-and-back or mabe a loop using the myriad of services roads shown on the maps...

    (Looking at the GPX files from bikepacking.net, I can't work out which sections are double track/service road versus mountain bike friendly singletrack.)

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    For the AZT you could drive out to East Rim View and ride South to the Park boundary. That's all ST and where all of the Meadow pics are usually taken. Then yeah you could loop back on the FS road the runs parallel between the trail and the highway. You might also shorten the drive and park near where the FS road comes in. That way you can avoid riding something you just drove. Unless your looking to camp up that way then drive to East Rim View and go to the next dirt road on your right nice camp sights this 2 track is also the AZT. Going north from there the AZT is going to have some 2 track.

    For Rainbow Rim drive out to Locust Point right in the middle you can do out and backs from there up to 9 miles each way. Great views from right there of course and a couple of sweet camp sites.

    Tim
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  3. #3
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    IMO Rainbow Rim would be easier for a Noobie rider. The views are better from Rainbow as well. You really only get views from the E. Rim at one spot, albeit a big one of Marble Canyon and House Rock Valley. The AZ trail on the N. Rim is a bit more rugged and there are short sections that are steeper that Rainbow.

  4. #4
    Kathleen in AZ
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    I am also planning to bring a newbie rider (my sister!) on the Rainbow rim and will be there next week, Thurs or Fri, before the Labor Day weekend. 6061 - Any remote chance you'll have your newbie out then too?

  5. #5
    bland
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    Rainbow rim is the easy choice for a person that is new to mountain biking, especially if they have never seen the canyon before. A CREC crew did some maintenance on it this May so its in good shape. The views from the kaibab plateau looking east that rockman mentioned are pretty amazing and are worth the 20 minute drive down FS 610. These are from last week when I was up there.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail-photo-1-.jpg  

    Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail-photo-2-.jpg  

    Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail-photo-3-.jpg  


  6. #6
    bland
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    My crappy cell phone pictures don't do it justice. Having the echo cliffs, the vermilion cliffs, and marble canyon all in one scene is pretty awesome. The north rim of the canyon is pretty cool too...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail-north-rim.jpg  

    Grand Canyon North Rim - Arizona Trail v Rainbow Rim Trail-marble.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by m77ranger View Post
    My crappy cell phone pictures don't do it justice. Having the echo cliffs, the vermilion cliffs, and marble canyon all in one scene is pretty awesome. The north rim of the canyon is pretty cool too...
    It's also a bit more interesting from a geology perspective. For the most part, vast expansive views from Rainbow are blocked by Steamboat Mtn.

  8. #8
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by DurtGurl View Post
    I am also planning to bring a newbie rider (my sister!) on the Rainbow rim and will be there next week, Thurs or Fri, before the Labor Day weekend. 6061 - Any remote chance you'll have your newbie out then too?
    No, sorry - I won't be there until around Sept 23rd

    So, from the responses so far, the Rainbow Rim is best for the noobie riding but maybe the views are better on the East Rim?

    If so, my plan would be to camp at Locust Point (mid point of RRT) and do two out and back rides to the N and S ends of the trail on day 1 and then maybe I can do a shuttle ride on the East Rim where I get to do the riding and she drives to meet me at the viewpoint on day 2?

    Sound feasible?

    (And many thanks for the responses so far...)

  9. #9
    bland
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne View Post
    No, sorry - I won't be there until around Sept 23rd

    So, from the responses so far, the Rainbow Rim is best for the noobie riding but maybe the views are better on the East Rim?

    If so, my plan would be to camp at Locust Point (mid point of RRT) and do two out and back rides to the N and S ends of the trail on day 1 and then maybe I can do a shuttle ride on the East Rim where I get to do the riding and she drives to meet me at the viewpoint on day 2?

    Sound feasible?

    (And many thanks for the responses so far...)
    This sounds like good plan to me. The views on both trails are really really good. You wont be disappointed.

  10. #10
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    If I had to choose -- and had a noobie as you indicated -- I would recommend Rainbow Rim. Great views and technically easier than AZT.

    If you have time to do more, I think the Kaibab South section of the AZT is the best. It starts at the north border of the Park and moves through the meadows as you travel to the north. It's probably the highest elevation section of the Arizona Trail and one of my favorites.

    The Arizona Trail - Passage #40

    Have a great time. And expect almost daily thunderstorms.

    -db-

  11. #11
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    Another question has just pooped into my head if anyone is reading this thread...

    I will need a rental car for my AZ trip.

    Will a mini-van be able drive out to Locust Point or is this definitely 4x4 territory? Would prefer a mini-van for the much larger load space for 2 x bikes plus camping gear etc

    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne View Post
    Another question has just pooped into my head if anyone is reading this thread...

    I will need a rental car for my AZ trip.

    Will a mini-van be able drive out to Locust Point or is this definitely 4x4 territory? Would prefer a mini-van for the much larger load space for 2 x bikes plus camping gear etc

    Thanks
    A mini-van can make it. But it's a lot of miles on gravel roads so you run the risk of tire puncture and then it's a looong way on donut.

  13. #13
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    Thanks - I guess I should pick up some tire sealant as well!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne View Post
    No, sorry - I won't be there until around Sept 23rd

    So, from the responses so far, the Rainbow Rim is best for the noobie riding but maybe the views are better on the East Rim?

    If so, my plan would be to camp at Locust Point (mid point of RRT) and do two out and back rides to the N and S ends of the trail on day 1 and then maybe I can do a shuttle ride on the East Rim where I get to do the riding and she drives to meet me at the viewpoint on day 2?

    Sound feasible?

    (And many thanks for the responses so far...)
    I'm planning to be there with a group of riders at the same time as you. We are driving up on the 20th and leaving on the 23rd. Maybe we'll see you there.

    ben

  15. #15
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    The AZ Trail is higher elevation than the Rainbow Rim at the East Rim Viewpoint. 8400' while I'd guess the Rainbow average at 600' lower. Makes the AZ Trail a spruce/fir/aspen forest while the Rainbow is mostly pine and thorny NM Locust.
    Cold air drains away at Locust Point so it stays pretty mild at night. Great place to camp.
    Then burn the gas and go to Gooseberry Mesa. The trails are soooo much fun.
    Worst thing about Rainbow is if you get stuck behind a bunch of horses, go the other way!
    agmtb

  16. #16
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    Where's Gooseberry Mesa? I was thinking camping at Locust Point and doing Rainbow Rim trail & maybe some of the AZ trail if we have time. Any input or directions on some fun stuff would be great.

    Quote Originally Posted by abegold View Post
    The AZ Trail is higher elevation than the Rainbow Rim at the East Rim Viewpoint. 8400' while I'd guess the Rainbow average at 600' lower. Makes the AZ Trail a spruce/fir/aspen forest while the Rainbow is mostly pine and thorny NM Locust.
    Cold air drains away at Locust Point so it stays pretty mild at night. Great place to camp.
    Then burn the gas and go to Gooseberry Mesa. The trails are soooo much fun.
    Worst thing about Rainbow is if you get stuck behind a bunch of horses, go the other way!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne View Post
    Will a mini-van be able drive out to Locust Point or is this definitely 4x4 territory? Would prefer a mini-van for the much larger load space for 2 x bikes plus camping gear etc

    Thanks
    Most of the drive is on well-maintained gravel roads. The last few miles are lesser quality but still driveable by any car -- including sedans. You may need to slow the pace but since its only a few miles it's not a big deal.

    For the record, I have not driven to Locust Point. I have driven to TImp Point (south end) and to Parissawampitts (north end) in my Subaru with no issues or concerns.


    -db-

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbflg View Post
    Most of the drive is on well-maintained gravel roads. The last few miles are lesser quality but still driveable by any car -- including sedans. You may need to slow the pace but since its only a few miles it's not a big deal.

    For the record, I have not driven to Locust Point. I have driven to TImp Point (south end) and to Parissawampitts (north end) in my Subaru with no issues or concerns.


    -db-
    Probably so but on the other hand 2-ply passenger car tires are no match for extended time on gravel roads. Especially when repair is not a close option. Case in point: Zinger-UK's experience with a mini-van and subsequent 150 mile drive to Flagstaff on a donut. Colorado -> Utah -> Arizona MTB road Trip - Part 10 - Rainbow Rim Trail

    Tires spec'd on an all wheel drive subaru are a bit more burly than what you might find on a rental min-van picked up at the airport. Just my 2 cents.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Case in point: Zinger-UK's experience with a mini-van and subsequent 150 mile drive to Flagstaff on a donut.
    Wow, bad luck. Our next stop will be Page - hopefully they have facilities to repair tires if needed!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne View Post
    Wow, bad luck. Our next stop will be Page - hopefully they have facilities to repair tires if needed!
    oh yeah, there's a couple of places in Page. Maybe just make sure that whatever you rent has a full size spare. Maybe I'm just getting cautious in my old age but I know a little bit about tires. It's more about the sidewall toughness than the tread.

  21. #21
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    Driving into any of the 5 points is going to be pretty flat most of the way. If you need to connect from one to the other by car be sure to get far enough east to the flat lands. There is one road that's closer to the rim but it's by no means flat.
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Probably so but on the other hand 2-ply passenger car tires are no match for extended time on gravel roads. Especially when repair is not a close option. Case in point: Zinger-UK's experience with a mini-van and subsequent 150 mile drive to Flagstaff on a donut. Colorado -> Utah -> Arizona MTB road Trip - Part 10 - Rainbow Rim Trail

    Tires spec'd on an all wheel drive subaru are a bit more burly than what you might find on a rental min-van picked up at the airport. Just my 2 cents.
    Fair enough. Having driven in Subarus for so many years I had forgotten that other cars were less endowed!

    -db-

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