Day 18 - Rainbow Rim Mountain Bike Trail, AZ

Today I said good bye to Rick & Cathy , I'd had a great time staying with them. After getting some gas I started the long drive to the Rainbow rim at around 8.15am. While I had not done any riding around St George this time, I had had a great time doing the Zion Narrows Hike and the Brian Head rides, and Rick & Cathy had been great company.
Today I was going to go and ride The Rainbow rim trail en route to Flagstaff. I'd decided to start the ride at Locust point , which is the middle point of the ride. Its a long drive to Locust point of around 145 miles. The route took me along HW 9 and US 89. I very nearly didn't do the rainbow rim trail when i had a sudden urge to go ride Little Creek Mesa instead, But I talked my self out of this after i'd driven down the Little Creek turn for about 1/2 a mile.
The last 31 miles of the drive is on a dirt road called Ryan Road, which then connects onto a few different forest roads, which gets quite narrow and rough towards the end. Along the way I stopped at a board which said there was going to be a prescribed burn which would close the Timp section of the trail.
I arrived at Locust point at around 11:30 it was great sunny clear day, with a fair breeze blowing. I Unpacked my bike and then decided to ride out and back to Parissawampitts Point first. As there were signs here as well saying the other section of the trail was closed.
The trail it self was very easy singletrack with no technical riding at all. There were a few ups and downs but none of them were that steep. There were however fantastic views where the trail broke out on the rim of the Grand Canyon which made up for the slightly dull at times trail.
The trail it self is not always out the rim , as it wiggles in and out of various valley's, along the way I passed some other bikers coming the other way, and there were also about 9 sierra club members hiking along doing trail maintenance cutting back the plants from the side of the trail.
The first point you come to is fence point after about 3.5 miles, from there the trail has a few long ups and downs heading in and out from the canyon until you reach Parissawampitts Point after about 9 miles of riding. I met a woman walking her dog here.
The trail heading to and from Parissawampitts Point is the most scenic on the trail, I setup the tripod in a couple of spots and took quite a few pictures.
I arrived at Parissawampitts Point at around 13:30 I then headed back along the trail, there's one fun fast long descent on the way back. The trail it self goes through a couple of meadows , as well as through pine forest and a few Aspen in places.


I stopped and took more pictures at fence point on the way back to Locust point.
After 18 miles of riding I arrived back at Locust point at about 16:00, I had some refreshments from my SUV, and then decided to see how far I could head along the trail to Timp point before I reached the closed section. As i rode along the trail I passed the woman who had been walking a dog earlier , she was now widing her bike.  
It turned out I was lucky in that the planned burn had been delayed due to the high winds, so even though in places there were fire breaks cut, and hoses laid out the trail was still open, so I carried on past North Timp Point. The views on this section of the trail were not as readily available as on the first part of the ride.
I arrived at timp point at about 17:30 , and then headed back towards Locust point , here some pictures taken near Timp Point. On the way back from Timp point there is a fairly tough up shill seciton as the trail surface is quite loose.  

Pictures taken near North Timp point

With the sun going down lower it got quite dark when riding in the woods, so I rode a bit faster to get back to the SUV before sun down.

My Cycle Computer said I'd ridden 37.47 miles, even though the trails not that technical doing the whole trail like I did is a fair workout as the trail is at altitude - 7800ft . But as the trail is so far off the beaten track its not one I'll be rushing back to do again though, as although there are great views the trail it self just does not have enough variety in terrain to make it interesting. It definitely a trail you should do at least once though.


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After packing up my bike and getting out of my cycling gear i took some food down to locust point and watched the sun go down. There were a few spots of rain from passing clouds as I sat watching the sunset. Which was pretty nice, I took a bunch of pictures which I've put on the site.

When I got back to the car and started it up a warning light popped up for tire pressure, I got out and had a look at the tires and they all looked ok. As it was getting dark I decided I should get out to a paved road as soon as I could. My planned route back didn't work out for me too well as my GPS tried to take me down an overgrown logging road, after a long rough drive I finally got to HW 67. It was pitch black and the road was lined with trees on either side, so I had to drive another 10 miles before I found a lay by in an open meadow where I felt safe to stop. Here I found my cars rear tire was completely flat. I then spent the next 30 minutes changing the tire. The car only had a doughnut spare tire, which meant I could only drive at a maximum of 50 miles an hour , and I had over 180 miles to drive to get to Flagstaff. One good thing about the puncture was I had to drive slowly , as I came across one of the cars that passed me while I was changing my tire which had been totaled by hitting a big deer. Eventually I came to a garage at Jacob Lake Inn where I was able to ring my Hotel in Flagstaff to tell them that I would be late, and then I crawled along back to flagstaff, the car felt very unstable as soon as I got to about 50 mph and loads of warning lights were showing on the dashboard about things not working. I finally got to Flagstaff at 2:33AM feeling - I unpacked and hit the sack for some well deserved rest.

Click here for Day 19