Lichen It and Lava Flow
Iron Hills Trail System in Cedar City
Work on the Iron Hills Trail
System began in 2015. Fifty miles of trails are planned on the mountain
slopes east of Cedar City. In November 2015 Lichen It and Lava Flow were
the first trails to open. (See the separate trail page for information on
the Green Hollow trail, an extension from the top of
Lichen It uphill to Greens Lake drive.) A loop using Lichen It to climb and Lava Flow to
descend is 4.8 miles with 550 feet of climbing. Lichen It is an easy
trail; Lava Flow is upper-intermediate. The starting altitude is 6050
View down an undulating section
of Lava Flow. Photos and trail review by Bruce
on December 5, 2015. Updated April 2017.
In 2016, the official trailhead has been improved with
and fencing. We're standing at the entry to the trailhead,
looking south. The trail is to our left, uphill.
"Lichen It" heads northeast towards the mountain,
the fence, then dipping through the wash. (Lava Flow joins
a bit uphill.) No horses or motos are allowed.
Lichen It is a broad smooth trail with a gentle rate of
climb. It's suitable for beginning riders. The trail has two-way traffic.
Note: You'll note some snow and frozen mud in a few of these photos. During the
late fall and winter months, only ride early in the morning after a hard freeze. To be off the
mountain before things get muddy, start by 8 to 9 a.m. (depending on your
The typical terrain is a mix of juniper and pinion,
with lichen-covered boulders alongside the trail.
The trail surface has firmed up nicely to form a broad and
forgiving riding surface. When climbing, the trail feels like a highway.
On the downhill, the little twists and humps feel like a race track.
View near the bottom of Lichen It in
the crisp pre-sun hours. Typical trail view shows a smooth
trail of red dirt with surrounding juniper, cedar, and pinion.
Just 1/10 mile from the trailhead, Lava Flow joins on your
right. Keep left on Lichen It. (Lava Flow is a one-direction bikes-only flow trail.
Do not enter from downhill.) Lichen it will be your path to upper-mountain
riding as the trail system is built up.
Lichen covers the exposed boulders
along the trail as we continue climbing.
Lichen It will meander back and forth across the face of the
mountain as it climbs the west-facing slope. The rate of climb is
The surface is 100% dirt with
no tricky stuff. The juniper trees are spaced widely enough to allow
frequent views to the west.
View northwest. The little sawtooth
mountains in the middle distance are the Three Peaks.
Nice bike trails there.
At mile 2.8 from the trailhead, at an altitude of 6550 feet,
Lichen It officially ends. But the trail continues as the advanced-level Lava Flow trail. Kids and beginners should turn around
and descend Lichen It to the trailhead.
At the Lichen It - Lava Flow junction, the Green Hollow
extension trail forks uphill to the left. This trail, new in November 2016,
is harder than Lichen It. I'd rate it intermediate in difficulty. It climbs another
500 vertical feet to the gravel Greens Lake road.
Getting near the top of Lichen It. The climbing rate
is very pleasant, with undulating trail to keep the riding interesting.
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The Lava Flow downhill trail is a direct
continuation from Lichen It at N37 38.342 W113 04.626, 2.8 miles
uphill from the trailhead. Two miles long,
Lava Flow will return you to the trail fork near the bottom of Lichen It.
The beginning of Lava Flow is marked by a sign and a rock rollover that
alerts you to tech stuff coming up. The trail surface immediately becomes more
technical with rock slabs of sandstone, basalt, and granite.
A roll-over shortly after the
beginning of Lava Flow in the early-morning hours before the thaw. Not tough; but quite different than the
butter-smooth dirt we climbed to get here.
There's still a bit of climbing during the first part of
Lava Flow. You'll notice the pitches are a bit more taxing than Lichen It,
but still not too tough. After a quarter mile, the trail will reach a top
altitude of 6550 feet before turning downhill.
Lava Flow is broad smooth trail with a wide riding line. Periodically,
there are areas of embedded boulders that give a bit of challenge.
Lava Flow will now drop 500 vertical feet in 1.8 miles. The
pitch is never spooky. There's a bit of bouncy rock here and there, but
much of the descent is on smooth dirt. Although rated as an advanced
trail, tech sections are short and seem very do-able by an experienced
A rolling and slightly twisty descent
through the rocks, followed by a tiny climb.
After the first half-mile bound southwest, Lava Flow turns
to the northwest and descends fairly directly without much winding back
and forth. The trail has a bit of gentle undulation, some of which has
been put to use for tabletop jumps. (For those who don't know, tabletops
are broad bumps with a flat top, and are easily rolled over by lower-speed
Bare dirt on a south-facing slope,
with rollers inviting a bit of air.
Turns have a high berm for fast riding. In 2015, many of
them have soft soil. So I'd suggest you not get too rad with rolling the
berms until they've had the winter to soak up water and compact.
Nicely bermed turn as we look south.
There are some A/B lines on the descent. Most are easily
scout-able on the fly as you approach them from uphill. None of the stunts required going airborne,
although you could if you wanted.
The tech line to the left looks like
it's going to be a monster rock-drop, but it's actually just a playful
rollover. If you decide to launch it, note the quick right turn just
Lichen It is an easy trail suitable for kids and beginners. Lava Flow is a
very fun and non-terrifying downhill, well-planned and well-built.
Definitely worth a visit. Do a couple of laps. If you're into downhilling,
the combination of the Green Hollow and Lava Flow
makes just over 4 miles of great riding that you can reach with a shuttle.
Nearby, you'll find the C Trail. You can
connect the bottom of Lichen It to the C Trail by bike if you backtrack to 191 and take the paved
East Bench trail
A center-squeeze riding line versus a rock-garden
line on the right. Right is way more fun!
Riding notes, clockwise loop:
0.0 Straight from road through gate
N37 38.699 W113 04.894
Left on Lichen It
0.1 Keep L (R = return route)
N37 38.677 W113 04.811
2.8 End Lichen It, start Lava Flow
(Pass entry to Greens Lake on L)
N37 38.342 W113 04.626
4.7 At fork, L to TH
N37 38.677 W113 04.811
4.8 Back at parking
At the southern I-15 Cedar City exit (Exit 57 to Cross Hollow Road
and Highway 130), turn east onto Highway 130. Immediately turn right
(south) from 130 onto Old Highway 91. Drive 0.3 miles. Watch for the sign
for Southview Trailhead and turn left on
Shurtz Canyon Drive. Now stay on Shurtz Canyon Drive to the trailhead and
find a spot to park. The Lichen It Trail is to the east (uphill) from
where you entered the parking lot. Once you're through the gate, turn left N37 38.699 W113 04.894.
Bathrooms: None as of 2015 (gas stations 1/2 mile away)
Water: None at trailhead
Camping: None at trailhead (recommend Three