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Rainbow Rim Trail (North Rim Area)
Fence Point to Parissawampitts Point Loop
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park
Rainbow Rim Trail
Rainbow Rim Trail
Campsite at Fence Point (view southwest).

Overview

The Rainbow Rim Trail runs for about 18 miles from Timp Point in the south to Parissawampitts Point in the north, passing North Timp, Locust, and Fence Points along the way. This area is not actually in Grand Canyon National Park, rather it is located on the Kaibab National Forest where regulations are less restrictive. For example, the area is free, this trail is open to mountain bikes, and camping is permitted anywhere. However, there are no facilities. The trail was actually designed for mountain biking and the grades are gentle, which makes for easy hiking.

While it is true that there are some nice views of the Grand Canyon along this trail, they are only at the points. Essentially all of the hiking is back in the woods, and we were disappointed to spend an entire day of vacation hiking on this trail.

Link to trail map, trailhead sign map, or elevation profile.

Rainbow Rim Trail
Hiking in the woods (view northeast).

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this trail is pretty safe, but in a couple of places, it runs along steep hillsides with precipitous drop-offs, and while not a dangerous trail, falls from the overlooks would be damaging.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a long hike, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Rainbow Rim Trail
Hiking in the woods (view northwest).
Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, about 7 hours northeast of Las Vegas.

From Las Vegas, drive out towards the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. From Jacob's Lake, AZ (Table 1, Site# Road 00), drive south to the Kaibab Lodge, which is before you enter the National Park.

Just south of the Lodge, turn west on Forest Road (FR)22 (Site# Road 11). All of the signed roads are well maintained, but rain, snow, and fallen trees can make the roads temporarily impassable.

Rainbow Rim Trail
Hiking in the woods (view north).

Drive northwest on FR22 for about 10.4 miles to a signed intersection with FR206 (Site# Road 12). Follow FR206 south for 5.0 miles to a signed intersection for Locust and Fence Points (FR293, FR294) (Site# Road 15). Turn west and shortly turn northwest onto Fence Point Road (FR293) (Site# Road 16). Follow the road for another 8.2 miles to Fence Point (Site# Road 23). There is one big drive-in campsite just back from the end of the road and some walk-in campsites out on the rim.

Rainbow Rim Trail
Finally, a view a few minutes before Parissawampitts!

The Hike

I didn't think the hike was worth it, so I don't want to spend a lot of effort here. Suffice to say that we picked up the trail where it finally left the road, walked through the woods all the way to within a few minutes of Parissawampitts Point before we got a view, then walked back on the road hoping for a change of scenery (see the map of our route). In all, we put in 7.9 miles on this hike, and our conclusion was that it was a nice hike in the woods, but we wanted rim views. In hindsight, we could have enjoyed our rim view at camp on Fence Point, driven to Parissawampitts Point and enjoyed the view there, and still we would have had enough time for a real hike in the canyon.

From the looks of things, my guess is that the hike from Fence to Locust would also stay away from the rim. I can't speak about the trail south of Locust, but the map makes it look similar. I would not spend my time hiking this trail unless you want to hike in the woods.

Rainbow Rim Trail

Parissawampitts Point and car camping (view west). This is the best camp site for a view, but there are a few other campsites a short ways back up the road. I think there were three sites total.

Rainbow Rim Trail

Although we were disappointed by the lack of rim views, it was a nice hike in the woods. Adding to our pleasure were several short-horned lizards along the trail.

Rainbow Rim Trail We did this hike in early summer, and there was a lot of green and many species of flowers in bloom, including this huge Colorado blue columbine (Aquilegia coerulea).
Rainbow Rim Trail Trailhead sign at Parissawampitts Point (click to enlarge).

Table 1. Highway Coordinates (NAD27, UTM Zone 12S). Note: these are UTM Zone 12 Download GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site # Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
Road 11 Hwy 67 at FR22 36.40108 -112.12876 398781 4028826 8,700 GPS
Road 12 FR22 at FR206 36.46470 -112.26049 387060 4036029 8,354 GPS
Road 15 FR206 at FR293-FR294 36.40120 -112.23475 389276 4028955 8,510 GPS
Road 16 FR294 at FR293 36.40191 -112.24179 388646 4029042 8,537 GPS
Road 23 FR293 at Fence Point (end of road) 36.40488 -112.36736 377390 4029524 7,531 GPS
Road 14 FR214 at Parissawampitts Point 36.41871 -112.36634 377503 4031056 7,620 GPS

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates (Waypoints; NAD27; UTM Zone 12S). Note: these are UTM Zone 12. Download GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Start along Road 378720 4029775 7,702 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 First View 377698 4030781 7,640 3.73 3.73 GPS
03 Parissawampitts Point 377404 4031125 7,562 0.43 4.16 GPS
04 Parissawampitts Trailhead 377503 4031056 7,620 0.09 4.25 GPS
05 Leave Road 379946 4030810 7,814 1.66 5.91 GPS
06 Leave Trail 379318 4029796 7,758 1.45 7.36 GPS
01 End along Road 378720 4029775 7,702 0.43 7.79 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120424

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