Yes, you read that right. If, like me, you didn't fully realize there was singletrack open to bikes at the Grand Canyon, you will be even more pleased to know that the USFS is working on more.
And this past weekend, the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew helped the good folks at the Kaibab Ranger District prepare for seven more miles. Several of the employees are mountain bikers, and they wanted some help designing the extension specifically for bikes. The addition uses a fairly steep slope to ultimately add a loop to the Rainbow Rim's current out-and-back layout, and we were happy to help them find a sustainable route.
That section is still involved in the NEPA process, so nothing will happen immediately, but as soon as they get the go-ahead, building will commence on the layout we put in place.
The loop also involves a road-to-trail conversion, which is already underway. The crew and their Saturday volunteers had an extremely productive visit, reclaiming 900 feet of road, bench cutting a new 900 feet in its place, and converting about 1200 feet of road into trail. The USFS will finish where we left off, and soon that road will be long gone, leaving a lovely singletrack in its place.
Read about their visit and see tons more photos here.
And then, make some plans to go there! The North Rim is two hours from the closest town, so be sure to bring everything you will need for primitive camping -- water, food, warm clothes for the evenings, etc. It is absolutely worth the drive to enjoy the Grand Canyon from your bicycle. And you can read here about other trails in the area.
By the way, this is no desert. The North Rim sits at about 8,000 feet, and is covered in beautiful aspen and ponderosa pine forest. It is awesome, in the true sense of the word.
P.S.: Kaibab is a Paiute Indian word meaning "mountain lying down." And you'll see the Kaibab Squirrel, with its tasseled ears and white tail, running around the woods. In a weird, Galapagos-Islands-style turn of events, the Kaibab Plateau is the only place this critter can be found -- an area of only 20 by 40 miles. Pretty cool.