This trip is rated Moderate Plus (3-4). Trip members should be comfortable riding a mountain bike for approximately 3–9 hours per day for 4 consecutive days. Rides range from 10–30 miles, some including 2,575’ cumulative elevation gain at an altitude of approximately 8,000'. Average ride distance for full days is 20–25 miles.
Our trip begins this morning in Las Vegas. While the glitz and glam of Vegas draws its own following, it’s also an ideal jumping-off point for North Rim recreation. After introductions and an orientation from our guides, we spend the morning crossing two state lines and transitioning from cactus to canyon, where cool pines and remote forest service roads help initiate us into our high-elevation home for the next 3 nights. After an alfresco lunch, we try out our legs and lungs on a simple but fun net-downhill ride straight into camp. We set up our basecamp on the edge of the Grand Canyon, just outside the National Park boundary, in a quiet little corner where we can take in the setting sun from a camp chair while our guides whip up a restaurant-quality backcountry dinner.
Mountain biking: 22.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +571’ / -2,074’; Van transfer: 6 hours
As sun filters through the pines, hot coffee and a nutritious breakfast help to begin fueling our day. No need to pack into the vehicle—today’s ride leaves the mileage to our MTBs! After dialing in our bikes, our guides will lead us through the dips, roots, and banked turns of the Rainbow Rim Trail. This iconic singletrack route weaves along the edge of the canyon and takes in multiple epic viewpoints, dipping back into a mixed deciduous and conifer forest to punctuate the unbelievable vistas. Our guides will help us understand the theories around exactly how the canyon itself was formed, giving us ample opportunity to catch our breath after ripping at 8,000 feet of elevation. At the trail’s terminus, we enjoy a guide-prepared picnic lunch spread and a short optional hike out to Parissawampitts Point, just above Tapeats Creek, and named for a Paiute phrase meaning “place where water bubbles”. We return via the same trail, with options to session certain sections on our bikes as time permits before appetizers and downtime in camp. Dinner is served under the Milky Way, glowing bright amidst one of the darkest skies in the U.S.
Mountain biking: 29.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,575’ / -2,575’; Optional hiking: 1 mile, Elevation gain/loss: +430’ / -430’
Rise with the sun in our remote campsite and take an optional walk along the rim, or sleep in and let that Dutch-oven dessert from last night digest a little more—either way, a hot and delicious breakfast prepared by your guides brings us all together to discuss the day. We start off with more North-Rim-hugging singletrack as we log a 10-mile loop to complete our full traverse of the entire Rainbow Rim Trail, where the views are more abundant than the people. After a quick shuttle and a relaxing lunch under the pines, we hit the Arizona National Scenic Trail next, an 800-mile non-motorized route stretching from Mexico to Utah. Today we’ll cruise a 15-mile loop with rolling hills and punchy climbs, skirting the national park and mixing rim-side singletrack with rarely travelled forest service roads. We cap our day off with a visit to the North Rim Lodge, a beautiful historic building perched at the edge of one of the most photographed views of the Grand Canyon. Here we rest our weary legs and enjoy appetizers and drinks at the lodge’s famed rear deck, and our guides offer us the option to hike the narrow trail out to Bright Angel Point for sunset views, or to squeeze in a shower at the nearby North Rim Campground before returning to our camp for dinner and a campfire.
Mountain biking: 25.2 miles total, Elevation gain/loss: +1,833’ / -1,833’; Hiking: 0.75 mile, Elevation gain/loss: +546’ / -457’; Van transfer: 3 hours
After packing up camp, we transfer by van to the start of a one-way ride to help us make the most of our day. Today we’re back on the Arizona Trail, enjoying our acclimated lungs on a fun, smooth, free-flowing downhill ride through the Kaibab National Forest and into the tiny community of Jacob Lake, whose name has strong historic ties to John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the entire length of the Colorado River. Here we sit down to a home-cooked meal, rehash stories of our bruises and successes, and load up on Jacob Lake Inn’s famous cookies—seriously, people drive hours to get these—before making the drive back across the Arizona Strip, through southern Utah, down the Virgin River Gorge, through the Mojave Desert, and back to Las Vegas with a drop-off at Harry Reid International Airport, followed by a drop-off at our host hotel.
Mountain Biking: 10.6 miles; Elevation gain / loss: +490’ / -1,096’; Van transfer: 5 hours