Grand Canyon Mountain Biking

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4–8
Activity level
Starting from
$1,499 for REI Members
$1,649 for non-members
Departures May 2022-Sep 2022

Take a long weekend to stretch your mountain biking legs and dial in your skills in one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World—the Grand Canyon.

Of the over five million visitors to the Grand Canyon every year, only a fraction of those head to the little known, but much loved, North Rim. Here, adventurous souls can take in the mild summer temperatures and incredible variety of wildlife and plant life without the constant jostling for a panorama that’s so common at the South Rim.

Over the next four days, we combine dirt pedal strokes with back-to-basics rim-side camping at 8,000 feet above sea level. Shred and flow through one of the best-kept secrets in the southwest, the Rainbow Rim Trail, which takes in five breathtaking canyon viewpoints while weaving through forests of maple, aspen, birch, oak and ponderosa pine. Camping at the hub of this trail system, we have premier access to miles of remote, wild trails hidden deep within the Kaibab National Forest at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park. Winding dirt roads and our guides’ unmatched local experience take us to parts of the famed Arizona Trail as well, showcasing the only trails open to mountain bikers at the canyon. This is a bucket list trip for any fat tire enthusiast with confident beginner/intermediate skills and up.

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Trip Highlights

  • Edge-of-the-canyon primitive basecamp for all four days
  • Ride the iconic and remote Rainbow Rim and Arizona Trails
  • Visit the North Rim Lodge for appetizers and drinks overlooking the National Park
  • Full suspension mountain bikes and professional guide support throughout
  • Crowd-free canyon views from the bike

Activities

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.

  • Mountain Biking

What's Included

Two professional guides; roundtrip transportation from Las Vegas; all park fees and permits; meals as noted in itinerary; full suspension mountain bike.

Accommodations

Primitive dispersed camping on the edge of the canyon, just outside Grand Canyon National Park's north rim, 3 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim

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

Day 2

Ride the Rainbow Rim Trail

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’

Day 3

Journey to the North Rim and Bright Angel Point

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

Day 4

Jacob Lake ride and return to Las Vegas

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

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 800-426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.