The Suicidal Tendencies trail opened in February 2013. It's a fun
addition to the Sidewinder trail, but this is not a "cruiser" trail. It's advanced technical and
View looking east
on Suicidal Tendencies, on the first long traverse after dropping off the cliff from Sidewinder.
The switchbacks in the center of the photo are so tight they don't even
show up on the map. Photos and ride description by Bruce from rides on
2/17 and 2/28/13.
Suicidal Tendencies itself is a lollipop ride 5.5 miles in
length. To get there, you need to ride Precipice (or the first part of
Barrel Roll clockwise) and Sidewinder. It's 2.4 miles from the trailhead
to the start of Suicidal Tendencies. So the minimum ride, out and back, is
10.3 miles round trip. There will be 1450 vertical
feet of climbing on the out-and-back ride. The ride's highlight is the
widest view of any trail in the St. George area.
Heading uphill on Precipice. The mesa
on the skyline left is our destination. We'll climb to the top of the mesa
on skyline right via Sidewinder before crossing the valley between them.
Some good ride combinations are:
(1) Up and back. 10.3 miles.
(2) Figure 8. Up via Barrel Roll to Sidewinder, but on the return trip
drop down Precipice. 10.4 miles.
(3) Plus Barrel. As you ride clockwise on Barrel Roll, take a side trip up
Sidewinder to Suicidal Tendencies, then continue the Barrel Roll loop
clockwise. 15.1 miles.
(4) Plus the bottom. Start from the pavement in Santa Clara and ride the
singletrack to the trailhead. Add 2.2 miles and 300 vertical.
We've reached the saddle where
Precipice joins Sidewinder. The trail on the hill is Barrel Roll. The town
is Ivins. To the left are the red cliffs above Kayenta; to the right are
the Pine Valley Mountains.
This trail is for expert riders. Advanced intermediates can
ride most of it but will have to walk through many spots. As you might
expect, the tricky stuff is the trip down into and back up from the
wash. There are very tight switchbacks with cliff exposure. The side-slope
along the trail is very steep with encroaching rocks. It's a setup for a
handlebar bump or a pedal-bang to send you tumbling. There are a couple of
large tilted rock slabs you must ride over as you pray your tread holds.
We're climbing uphill on Sidewinder.
It's mostly steady uphill cruising with a few techy rocks.
The Suicidal Tendencies trail descends from the south side of the loop at the
top of Sidewinder. As it reaches the cliff edge, it plunges steeply
down the rocks at first. Then it meanders as it hugs the mountainside
before dropping through switchbacks to the valley below. Then it climbs
through more switchbacks to the mesa south of Sidewinder.
Near the top of Sidewinder, we're
seeing the Suicidal Tendencies trail on the mesa to the south. It's not as
big a climb as it looks -- with the exception of the switchbacks
themselves, it's actually pretty mellow climbing but it requires a bit of
At the top of the mesa is a 2.5-mile loop. There are
frequent turns as the trail climbs back and forth along the mesa edge. The
mesa loop itself will add another 300 vertical feet of climbing. The trail
on the mesa is intermediate tech, but some of the turns are tighter than
they need to be. These will wear in as time passes. The tightness of the turns slows
the downhill part of the loop.
Near the top of Sidewinder, a rider
returns on the Suicidal Tendencies Trail. The trail across the valley is
Start your ride either from the pavement in Santa Clara, or from the
Barrel Roll trailhead.
To pedal to the trailhead, find the singletrack
in Santa Clara on the left (uphill) side of the paved road, 100 feet past the
beginning of the Stucki Springs dirt road. Climb the ST about a mile until it
hits the road at a fence. Turn left on the road and ride another 0.2 miles
to the log fence at the trailhead. This adds 1.1 miles each way and 300
feet of climbing.
Initial drop-in as seen from the first
switchback. Loose and steep, with a very tight turn (above a significant
drop) at the bottom. I didn't see a single continuous tire track.
Everybody was walking the turn at the bottom. So did I.
At the stepover gate in the parking corral, go straight west
on the main trail past the kiosk. For the out-and-back on Sidewinder, keep
left at the first trail fork.
Alternate: the climb up Barrel Roll is less technical (although if
that's a consideration, you probably aren't the sort of rider who belongs
on Suicidal Tendencies). To get there via Barrel Roll, keep right at the
first fork after the trailhead, then veer left at the second to start
Barrel Roll clockwise. You'll find a fork on your left to connect to
Sidewinder in 1 mile.
Descending gently on the traverse
below the cliff. In the midground is Green Valley below Black Hill (the
hill with the "D" on the other side and the old airport on top).
At the saddle on the ridge, veer left at the trail fork. (The right fork goes
50 feet to meet Barrel Roll. If you're going to finish your ride with the
Barrel Roll loop, that's where you'll go as you return from Suicidal
Tendencies.) You're now on the Sidewinder Trail.
Approaching the set of switchbacks
that will drop us to the valley.
Climb 1.2 miles uphill on Sidewinder. On your left, you'll
notice trail cut into the mesa south of you. That's where you'll be in a
few minutes. You'll reach a trail fork at mile 2.2 from the trailhead.
This is the little loop at the top (the snake's head). Keep left. After
turning left to drop a steep spot, the trail turns right and crosses a
flattish spot. Just before the trail veers left again, watch for trail on
your left, heading straight toward the cliff. (There's no sign as of 2/13.
The trail isn't well-worn, so it's invisible after a rain.)
In the valley, the trail winds between
boulders. Good stuff here. You can finally let it loose.
After about 100 feet, the trail switchbacks to the right to
begin the cliff plunge. Look carefully at the next switchback. It's super
tight, with a drop-off on the edge. And you're going to slide down a steep
rock ramp covered with loose dirt to get there. If you have any doubt
about your ability to control the bike as you hit the switchback, start
We're facing east, climbing up to the
mesa. Most of the tech challenges here look harder than they actually are.
Good bike-handling gets you through the spooky spots.
At this time, many of the switchbacks are very tight. The
lines haven't been worn in yet. Descending, as you try to pull uphill at the top,
there's loose stuff and pedal-bangers. And there's loose stuff at the
bottom that slides or hangs you up as you try to finish the turn. Judging
from the footprints in the dirt, just about everybody is walking around
the turn before they resume
riding. And as you hit them coming back uphill, they're too loose, too
steep, and too tight to climb.
On my second pass, I rolled a couple of turns that I was too chicken to
ride the first time. Not pretty. It was butt over the rear wheel spooky.
Looking back as we reach the cliff
edge. The trail lies on tilted rock ledges covered with soft loose dirt.
From the first set of switchbacks, the trail makes a long
traverse back to the east. The overall slope is gently downward, but there
are occasional short sharp drops. There are tight squeezes between rocks, and
occasional up-and-overs. Now a set of short switchbacks drops you to the
bottom of the mesa.
Descending into the valley between
Sidewinder and Suicidal Tendencies.
The trail crosses the broad area between mesas on winding
singletrack with occasional squeezes between the many large boulders. Fun,
but not exactly cruising.
Now the trail begins the climb up the southern mesa. Overall, the slope
is quite gentle. But the uphill turns are untamed beasts.
We're just getting started with the
mesa loop. To the north, we can see the Sidewinder trail loop.
The trail undulates with occasional tight spots. Watch your
pedals and keep your line clean. There are two large tilted rock slabs on
this trail section that scream "Slide to your death, spandex-boy!" But if you hit them with speed and hold your line, your
tires should hold.
View to the southeast. (1) Green
Valley, (2) the top of the Green Valley racecourse, (3) the Stucki Springs
Trail, and (4) the Bearclaw Poppy trail ends at Bloomington.
At the cliff line is another steepish rock ramp coated with loose
dirt. It follows a narrow turn with a "don't fall" rock on your
left. Chances are, you won't carry enough speed through that turn to make
it uphill. If you want to clean it, back up and try again. The penalty for
falling will be high.
On top of the hill, Bruce navigates through Chinarump
boulders while riding the loop clockwise. On the mesa, things get greener, with
stands of juniper and gooseberry bushes alternating with sage and Brigham
Once you're on top of the mesa, you'll be delighted to find
that the trail continues to climb. About 1/10 mile after reaching the top,
you'll come to the trail fork that starts the loop. I rode the loop
clockwise, and the three other riders I saw were all going that same way.
View north. (1) Ivins, (2) the entry
to Snow Canyon, (3) the community of Winchester Hills and the Navajo
Sandstone above it, and (4) the volcanic Pine Valley Mountains.
The trail winds back and forth as it climbs the tilted mesa,
heading generally westbound. Stop at the top and take in the views. To the
south are the White Hills. You can see the Stucki Springs Trail, the
escarpment of the Green Valley Raceway (2nd mesa over), Bloomington Hill,
and Bloomington. To the west, Utah Hill leads Old Highway 91 into Nevada.
To the north is the town of Ivins, the red cliffs below Snow Canyon,
Winchester Hills and the Pine Valley Mountains.
As we descend the north side of the
loop, we're looking east toward St. George. We can see all the way to the
mountains on the northeast corner of Zion National Park.
The views will change as you return on the downhill half of
the loop. Now you're looking toward Santa Clara, St. George, and Green
Complete the loop and start your return trip. The drop-in from the
cliff is spooky. See the rock at the turn at the bottom? That's to keep
you from sliding right off the cliff -- or so one hopes. Intermediates,
walk your bikes.
Descending the mesa.
Many of the switchbacks that couldn't be ridden uphill can
now be (carefully) rolled downhill. The trail has a very different
character in the reverse direction.
Cross the valley and start up the other side. Once again, there will be
switchbacks you can't ride as you hit them in the uphill direction. As you
reach Sidewinder, turn left to complete the loop, then turn left to
Climbing back toward Sidewinder.
Great ride. For experts or tough upper-intermediates. Already one of the
more popular rides in the St. George area.
Handlebar view as we rock and roll down from the
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Riding notes, out-and-back using Precipice:
0.0 West from TH on combined trail
N37 07.255 W113 40.513
Keep L to Precipice
N37 07.257 W113 40.537
(R = Barrel Roll)
0.9 Keep L to Sidewinder
N37 07.387 W113 41.153
(R = connect to Barrel Roll)
2.2 Straight (L) on Sidewinder loop
N37 07.335 W113 41.786
2.4 L off cliff on Suicidal Tendencies
N37 07.303 W113 41.894
2.8 Cross wash, climb next mesa
3.9 L to enter loop
N37 07.094 W113 41.952
6.3 Back at start of loop, keep L
7.8 Sidewinder, go L to finish loop
N37 07.303 W113 41.894
8.0 L to descend
N37 07.335 W113 41.786
9.3 R to Precipice
N37 07.387 W113 41.153
(Alternate: left onto Barrel Roll,
5 miles around loop to TH = 15 mi)
10.3 Back at TH
Getting there: In St. George, head north on Bluff
Street and turn left on Sunset Blvd. Drive 3 miles west on Sunset through
Santa Clara. As you're reaching the end of Santa Clara, look for a road
crossing the river on your left. It's about 200 feet before the Jacob
Hamblin Home (which will be on your right if you pass the turn). Turn and
cross the river and follow the road as it turns right. About 0.4 miles
from Hwy 191, turn left onto the dirt Stucki Springs road as it climbs
steeply south. At mile 0.7,
turn right at the sign "Santa Clara Preserve" or "Cove Wash
Trailhead." Pass the water
tank, and at mile 1.3, turn right again through the fence. This road will
veer left to a log-fence parking area at mile 1.5, N37 07.253 W113 40.508.
There's a singletrack trail you can ride from the valley to the trailhead.
After crossing the river and following the road as it turns right, pass
the dirt Stucki Springs road. About 100 feet past the road, a doubletrack
heads obliquely westward uphill on the left, turning quickly into
singletrack heading up along the wash. at about 1/3 mile, keep R at the
fork (L rejoins the road). The trail will climb up and west of the water
tank, then join the road right at the fence of the preserve.