The Black Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is home to a system of
singletrack trails. The WMA is located just one mile east of the city of
Ephraim. The trails vary from easy cross-country (Rabbit Run) to
moderately techy (Quarry) to full-on downhill (Limekiln), with many choices
of routes for loop rides.
Bruce blisters the
slope of Black Hill during his checkout ride May 29, 2018.
The terrain varies from dry and rocky juniper slope to
grassy meadow. The forest sections provide no overhead shade, so this ride
will be hot in mid-summer. The usual riding season will be May through
The starting altitude at the trailhead is 5900 feet, with a top
altitude on Black Hill of 6400. Depending on your trail choices, you can
do very little climbing, or a lot.
View east from the top of Black Hill. The dirt road
below is the main WMA road, which -- assuming you keep to the left -- will
circle the mountain.
The most popular ride for the locals seems to be pedaling to
the trailhead from town, then hitting a few easier and intermediate trails
for a loop around the mountain, then back into town via the Limekin Hollow
dirt road. I've included the singletrack portion of this loop as the first
half of my sample ride below.
View of Black Hill from the east (looking down Cougar
Getting to the area is simple. Turn east on 100 North
(toward the mountains) in Ephraim. Then keep going until you find yourself
crossing a cattleguard to arrive at a trail kiosk and parking area. It's
2.7 miles from the center of town.
None of the singletrack trails actually start at the trailhead, at
least not as of May 2018. The mish-mash of trails, ATV tracks, and dirt
roads is complicated. You'll need a mobile trail app with GPS tracking, or
a good map plus a lot of exploring moxie. It really takes all three to
navigate this area. Come prepared.
Greenery on the easy Rabbit Run trail.
You'll be starting from the southwest corner of Black Hill.
To get to the ridgeline rides and downhills of the western slope, you
first need to pedal around the mountain. (The east face is push-a-bike
steep, suitable only for downhills.)
It's possible to drive around the mountain on the main WMA road if you
don't want to pedal. There's no formal trailhead parking there, but you
can find a wide spot along the road.
Beginner option: Rabbit Run loop
This is a great loop for older kids and beginners. It's 2.7
miles with just over 100 vertical feet of climbing. From the trailhead,
veer right on the eastbound doubletrack and pedal gently uphill 0.6 miles.
Turn left when you reach the singletrack Rabbit Run. (On the day of my
ride, there was a recently-painted arrow on the rocky doubletrack pointing
to the trail.)
The trail meanders through meadows, groves of oak, and stands of
juniper. You'll play with a couple of washes on the downhill parts.
Bruce cruising Rabbit Run.
After finishing the mostly-downhill 1.5 miles of singletrack,
you'll hit the main road. (Don't go across the road. The continuing
singletrack looks inviting, but it's actually the last bit of a steep plunge
from the top of the mountain.)
Turn south (left) on the main dirt road to
return 0.6 miles to the trailhead. Or ride Rabbit Run in reverse.
The terrain of Rabbit Run alternates between
grassland, sage, oak brush, and juniper.
Classic around-the-mountain: Quarry loop
This is for intermediate riders. It's 11 miles with around
600 vertical feet of climbing. Four of those 11 miles are roads -- mostly
dirt but with a bit of pavement on the edge of town.
From the trailhead, follow the directions for Rabbit Run as
above. But when you hit the road, turn right (north). Go 0.2 miles then
veer right on a smaller road that will turn to the east.
Westbound on easier eastern end of the Quarry Trail.
(Segments of this trail may have different names.)
A short bit up the eastbound doubletrack, watch for a crossing trail.
When you see it, turn left and pedal up to a doubletrack heading north
(ATV trail 46). As you approach a fence, drop left downhill on singletrack
(Five Streams trail).
Keep left and downhill at the immediate trail fork, then left again after 0.3
miles (These two forks form a loop. If you go right at the bottom fork,
you'll find yourself back up at the top. It's a lovely meander, worth
doing if you're not in a hurry.)
Banging through a rocky section.
The trail will cross the main road and head west, then climb
up a side-canyon to a line higher on the mountain. Things will get a
little techy. Finally the trail rolls out of a small canyon to hit
Now work south and
west (mostly south) until you
find yourself on the Limekiln Hollow road heading for the outskirts of
town. Turn south (left) on 400 East, then at 100 North turn left and
retrace your driving path back to the trailhead. (Note: my ride
description below and GPS track will send you up the mountain to the Limekiln
The soil and rocks on western Quarry are bright
white. Drone shot as Bruce rolls through pinion and juniper.
Views and climbing: North Rim loop
This is a long-ish ride with around 2800 vertical feet of
climbing. The length of the ride depends on which way you decide to return
to the trailhead (DH, WMA dirt road, Quarry trail backwards, or loop through the edge of town).
Looking south toward Ephraim from the Rim. The trail
slopes away to the west. So the downhill you gain is the climbing you must
give back on the southern side of the loop.
Pedal around the mountain to the southbound doubletrack as
above. Find the Cow Run singletrack, forking away south but slightly
uphill. Follow it to the summit doubletrack and climb 1.7 miles to the
As you arrive at a wide area at the top of Black Hill, look for a
path on the north (left) side that quickly turns back to the west. You
might not notice it right away. (The big doubletrack heading south is the
beginning of the Limekiln Hollow DH.)
You'll notice tons of rusty cans all along the summit
doubletrack. Leftovers from sheep camps past.
The North Rim trail will follow the edge the cliffs,
descending to a spot above the quarry before turning and climbing back uphill.
As the singletrack ends on the summit DT, you're at mile 11.1 of your
You're 1/2 mile
from the top of the mountain. And still a long way from the parking area.
You can head back up to the top for a DH option. Or, you can turn south (right) on the
summit DT and coast 0.2 miles to catch the Sloppy Nose singletrack on your
right. This will descend back down to the doubletrack along the canal, at
a point about 1/10 mile north of where you entered Cow Run.
View southwest as we climb back toward the summit
doubletrack on the southern uphill side of the loop.
Downhill: Limekiln Hollow
Pedal to the top of the mountain as above. From the wide
view area on top, the doubletrack veers right and south downhill. Stay on
doubletrack and begin descending south. Veer onto singletrack when you
see it. At first the singletrack will rejoin the DT, but then will leave the doubletrack for most of the
The DH isn't too techy, and can be handled by experienced
intermediates. There's one four-foot ledge drop you can easily skirt to
the left. If you see it in time.
View down Limekiln as it follows the break in the
trees along the ridgeline south. Later, it will meander, fall into a wash,
and start twisting around...
At the bottom, you're forced out of a wash and through a gate on
doubletrack. Now stop and consider your return options. If you stay downhill
and southwest, the Limekiln Hollow road will take you back to the edge of
town for a road return. Or if you work your way north-east, there are a
couple of options to drop to the main road closer to the trailhead. See
the map and my GPS tracks. At this spot, the branching dirt roads in the
junipers can be disorienting. If all else fails, put your bike on your
shoulder and hike downhill to the road.
We're now down in Limekiln Hollow, heading south.
This trail starts at the same spot as Rabbit Run as a continuation of
the doubletrack, but then climbs (very)
steeply over a ridge. Expect an ugly push-a-bike -- 250 vertical
feet -- before you get to some very
nice downhill. On the Quarry Loop, you can substitute this trail for
Rabbit Run and a bit of dirt road.
Looking back down (south) on Cougar Alley. Almost too
steep to walk. And still more push-a-bike to go.
Other south side trails
These trails are narrow singletrack. In general, trails oriented
north-south traverse the slope. Trails going east-west will be
occasionally steep, but
can be climbed with a bit of gearing and determination. Lots of ride
We've followed DT south from Quarry. If you follow
the main road, you can still fork left uphill on the summit access DT. Or,
if you're quite finished, you can let the Limekiln Hollow road take you
back to the edge of town.
At the west end of
Rabbit Run, you'll find yourself looking across dirt road at a very lovely
bit of singletrack. But it gets steep. This bit of trail is only 1/3 mile
long, but it has 400 feet of elevation change. You can use it as a cruel
grunt push-a-bike to get to the peak quickly, or as a quick plunge back
down to the valley if you're in a hurry to get to your car from the top of
Looking east over the valley, about
half-way down Rabbit Drop.
Very nice riding area. Fun, lots of variety. Good enough to make the
drive from the north Wasatch to do it. But the tangle of trails and
doubletracks is confusing. (You
would not believe the number of miles and total vertical I spent backtracking to figure out
this area.) So do your homework, then come prepared with on-trail
resources to figure out where you are!
Westbound and down!
Rabbit Run to the Quarry
If the above video does not appear on your
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Riding notes, Quarry to Linekiln DH ride
0.0 R on DT N39 22.456 W111 32.561
0.6 L on ST Rabbit Run N39 22.440 W111 31.982
2.1 R on dirt road N39 22.756 W111 32.111
2.2 Veer R and east N39 22.867 W111 32.001
2.3 L on ST lower Cougar Alley N39 22.838 W111 31.861
2.5 Straight on DT northbound ATV 46
N39 22.880 W111 31.703
3.1 L downhill on ST N39 23.246 W111 31.507
3.4 Keep L (R=back up) N39 23.227 W111 31.758
3.7 Cross road to ST Quarry N39 23.105 W111 31.994
4.7 Cross DT and climb small canyon
5.9 At DT, keep straight N39 23.370 W111 33.383
6.0 Multi-road fork, keep straight N39 23.342 W111 33.501
Keep generally straight and
6.8 L on ST Cow Run N39 22.776 W111 33.882
7.3 L uphill to join summit DT N39 22.429 W111 33.693
9.1 Summit. Veer R to DT N39 22.979 W111 32.296
Take ST option when available
10.2 Out of wash to road, downhill N39 22.425 W111 32.991
10.3 Hard L and uphill (R=to town) N39 22.324 W111 33.107
10.5 L and uphill N39 22.276 W111 32.958
Option: R downhill 0.3 mi to
10.7 Drop R steeply to main road, then L
N39 22.408 W111 32.742
10.9 At parking
Getting there: On US-89 in Ephraim, turn east
(toward the mountains) on 100 North. Drive until the road turns to gravel,
and continue 2.7 miles from the center of town. As you cross a cattleguard,
note the parking area and the kiosk to your right. The road straight ahead
north is the main WMA road. The smaller dirt road forking to the east is
the doubletrack you'll ride to reach Rabbit Run or Cougar Alley.