The BF says to me yesterday, "If you could bike anywhere around here tomorrow where would it be?" I said, "Western Rim." Who wouldn't want to spend hours looking at this view?
I think I'm getting comfortable with this trail. Last year I took a bad endo (head over handlebars) off of a ledge right at the start of the gorgeous rim portion and I kind of froze up for the rest of the season. I improved a little, but I was nervous. This year I feel like I'm breaking through every time we bike there. Each time I've ridden something I didn't ride before and I've gotten more at ease with the whole trail.
If you've never been there, the Western Rim trail starts way out in Rabbit Valley by the McDonald Creek Trailhead. You can read some great directions here. When you start out I suggest heading straight over the cattle guard and up the double track Kokopelli Trail. You can follow this all the way to the overlook. You'll save some energy climbing this as opposed to Trail #2 which bears to the right over the cattle guard. Ride the Trail #2 back to the trail head for some awesome downhill!
From the overlook I suggest riding clockwise. You'll hit a huge sandy portion of the trail but after that it's almost all rideable. There are a few hills to push up and maybe a few ledges to walk over/around, but a lot of it is like this:
Fun single track close (but not often scarily close) to the edge of a cliff. You get this for oh 5 or so miles. Here's a challenging but fun little bit on the rim:
I suggest staying far left coming down this!
After that there are 2 hills that will require some pushing by all but the most awesome of awesome riders. Past this is MORE fun downhill over rocks and then you hit the slog...This is me, halfway through the slog:
I'm smiling because I found shade! The 3 miles or so of grinding away at the road takes you back to the overlook where you can bomb down Trail #2 almost all the way back to the car.
IF you decide to check out Western Rim you'll need a high clearance vehicle, or at least a Subaru to get out there ;) I also think, for your virgin Western Rim ride, it's best to have a guide! Happy riding!