The Rainbow Loop Trail is a patchwork of mostly utility trails that encircle the mountain community of Rainbow in the Spring Mountains NRA. To access the loop, thirteen hikers parked at the Fletcher Canyon trail parking, hiked up the highway past the Visitor's Center, continued through the campground and followed alongside the Kyle Canyon drainage ditch.
Already a mile into the hike, we passed Rainbow and continued up on a well used trail with no name. When there was a trail turning off to the left (uphill), we turned and began climbing up through the aspen trees and past the Cathedral Rock picnic area to our right. There were many signs warning hikers to not cross into the picnic area as construction there was ongoing and there is a considerable fine for disobeying.
The ladies decided that the shelter needed some house cleaning.
There is a shelter built on this part of the trail that remains there year after year. Soon after the shelter, we junctioned with the South Loop Trail. Mummy's Toe could be seen across Kyle Canyon and wildflowers could still be seen along the path although they were not as brilliant as last week. As we switchbacked up to our turnoff, we were overtaken by a line of uniformed men from the Spring Mountain Youth Camp. They were on their way to work on the "steps" portion of the South Loop Trail. (We requested an escalator.)
Hiking up the old unusable dirt road.
Just before the "steps," we turned to our left on an old dirt road that is no longer being used. This short segment brought us up to the high point of the hike where we took our break and enjoyed an expansive view of Mt. Charleston. The next part of the hike took a right down the hill through the woods on a small soft dirt trail. Last year (2011), this trail was wiped out with fallen trees over the winter. Then, last fall, a group of our club members took a few small saws up to the trail and worked all day. This year, the trail has been flattened and used so that the direction is clear and enjoyable again.
From the small woodland trail, we entered into the cabin area located above Rainbow. The cabin in the photo below is probably the oldest. Following the dirt road down to the paved road, we found the drainage trail on which we had made our approach. Then, we returned to the cars. The temperatures had been warm but the pleasant views and even more pleasant company had been warmer.