The IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling
Association), BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and DMBTA (Dixie Mountain
Bike Trails Association) have teamed up to create a large trail system in
the mountains east of Cedar City. The first trails were begun in late
2015, with around 50 miles of trails planned. Thors Hideout is the first
new trail of the northern section (north of Highway 14).
south toward Cedar Mountain about a mile into the climb.
Photos and trail
review ride by Bruce on March 20, 2016.
There will eventually be several developed access points for
the trails. The Thors Hideout trailhead is at Thunderbird Gardens, reached
via 900 North in Cedar City. There's improved fenced parking and an
information board, but no water or bathroom. The trailhead altitude is 5700 feet, making the usual riding season April through early November.
The finished portion of the
Thors Hideout trail is 1.7 miles with 450 feet of
elevation gain. It climbs to a ridgeline in the valley behind The Red
View east from the parking area. The
trail starts out as sometimes-sandy, sometimes rocky doubletrack.
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This is not a ride for young children or beginners. Overall, I'd rate this trail as appropriate for upper-intermediates. There are some rock squeeze plays, steep
side-slopes, and modestly tight turns that could be too challenging for
Thors Hideout starts eastbound from the parking area as wide doubletrack in a dry
washbottom, shared with motos and horses. Pass the entry to the new (2017)
Lightning Switch singletrack. The doubletrack surface varies between loose
slop and areas of chunky rock, with a
modest rate of climb. This section of the trail is not going to thrill you.
But keep riding.
View east up the wash, as the trail
turns to the right.
After 0.3 miles of climbing in the washbottom, the combined
ATV and bike trail veers to the right and
climbs a wide benchcut along the contour of the hillside. At the next
right-turn switchback where loose and chunky ATV track goes steeply
uphill, turn "harder right" onto singletrack (mile 0.35). You'll
have a nice jaunt on singletrack before briefly rejoining the ATV path at
the next right turn.
Looking west out over the valley as we
begin climbing the singletrack.
Just before a false summit at mile 0.5, the bike trail
singletrack leaves the old ATV route again on the right. It will wind around
the hill then descend gently into the valley behind The Red Hill. You'll
rejoin the ATV and horse route briefly at miles 0.65 and 0.9.
Note: If you saw a map on the trailhead kiosk showing an alternate
trail on the right side of the valley, that route is just sprinkler flags
on the hillside at this time. If you want to see if it's finished, pause
at mile 0.7 where the bike trail forks left away from the DT. Look along
the ATV route after it drops into the wash and see if singletrack forks to
the right about 40 feet up the wash. The future trail will rejoin at mile
Looking downhill at a switchback turn.
Note edge of rock wall supporting the outside rim. Most switchbacks have a
comfortable turning radius.
After the initial climb, there will be some cruising and
up-and-down riding as you head southbound into the valley between two tall
hills, with The Red Hill to your right. The hills are formed by up-tilted rock layers from the Hurricane
Fault (an extension of the "Wasatch Line," a weak area in the
crust that forms the Wasatch Fault in the north).
Reaching the first summit, we're
looking south. We'll have about a mile of up-and-down riding before the
climbing gets serious again.
The slopes are covered with pinion pine and juniper mixed
with sage and bitterbrush. Manzanita brush lies between the pinion on the
higher slopes. The trail gets more technical as it climbs higher on the
Looking down to the parking area. One
car (mine). The second dark spot is the trailhead kiosk.
The trail makes multiple wash crossings. Most of these are
armored with rock slab to provide a solid riding surface and resist
erosion. Most switchbacks also have rock walls built up on the outside of
the turn to create a stable turning platform.
Hooking around a turn as the trail
dips and crosses a drainage.
At mile 1.5 you'll reach a trail fork. This is the little
loop on the north side of the ridgeline. If you're doing the out-and-back,
you'll simply go around this loop. So go either way.
Long ladder bridge across the main
ravine, looking west.
At mile 1.7 from the trailhead, the trail hits a
ridgeline in the valley behind the Red Hill. From here, the Red Hollow goes south downhill
to Highway 14. For the out-and-back ride, this is your turnaround spot.
Follow the little loop about 100 yards back to the downhill trail.
Getting higher on the hill. Pinion on
the left, juniper on the right. Manzanita scrub on the ground.
If you're riding the big loop route that takes you back to
town, drop down Red
Hollow. You'll have two options to complete the loop: the techy Red
Mountain trail, or the paved Coal Creek bike trail.
For the Red
Mountain ride, go a tiny bit down Highway 14 to the
primitive Red Mountain trailhead. Climb Red Mountain up the wash to the top of the first
ridge. As the trail circles to the west (left) on top of the ridge, fork
right (north) downhill for the east path, or continue west to the next
northbound trail for the somewhat easier western route. See the topo map
and track files.
Looking down to Highway 14 (the arrow)
from the Thor's Lookout trail above Red Hollow.
You can also use Red
Hollow to drop you down to the paved Coal
Creek bike trail for a return into town. The entry is just across the
road from the parking area at the bottom of Red Hollow. When you hit town,
go to the right along Coal Creek, then pop out at Main Street and go north
a couple of blocks to 900 North and climb the gravel road back to
Thunderbird Gardens trailhead.
Looking up at sandstone cliffs. It's a
As you stand on the ridgeline (looking south over Red
Hollow), you'll notice two routes on the east (your left) side. The lower
trail closes the little loop, rejoining the Thor's Hideout trail just
The right (uphill) fork climbs higher on the mountain through a few switchbacks,
ending at a viewpoint. This little out-and-back trail is called Thor's Lookout.
Looking north from the future
viewpoint Thor's Lookout.
Good but short ride for upper-intermediates. Pretty terrain. There are fun dips and
swoops on the downhill. It's a very nice ride while you're in the area. As
more trail is added to the system, it may become a destination ride.
Heading back downhill. There's a
pedal-scratching squeeze between these rocks, then a plunge -- still a bit
loose because it's new trail.
Riding notes from Thunderbird Gardens TH:
0.0 East through opening in fence
N37 41.413 W113 02.591
0.3 R uphill (still DT) out of wash
N37 41.423 W113 02.346
0.35 Hard R onto ST
N37 41.420 W113 02.328
0.45 Rejoin DT at switchback
N37 41.398 W113 02.321
0.5 Veer R onto ST
N37 41.374 W113 02.365
0.55 Cross DT N37 41.351 W113 02.347
0.65 DT rejoins on R
N37 41.327 W113 02.308
0.7 R off DT (which drops into wash)
N37 41.291 W113 02.300
(future trail 50 ft down DT)
0.8 Bridge across wash
0.95 Rejoin DT N37 41.151 W113 02.247
1.0 R on ST N37 41.116 W113 02.262
1.55 Fork R uphill N37 40.891 W113 02.275
(L = unfinished future trail)
1.7 Top of ridge N37 40.867 W113 02.257
Thunderbird TH: When southbound on I-15, take the first Cedar City exit (the same one
you'd use to head for Three Peaks) and turn left towards the mountains.
The road will make a broad turn to the south to become Main Street in
Cedar City. Turn left at 900 North (it will be just as you reach the
cemetery on the right-hand side). When you reach the golf course
buildings, the pavement ends. Keep straight ahead onto gravel road. Pass a
couple of flood-control basins, driving 1.2 miles from Main Street. Park in the fenced white-gravel trailhead
area and start your ride eastbound by the trail kiosk.
Red Hollow TH:
On Cedar City's Main Street, turn east
(towards the mountains) on Center Street, Highway 14. As you pass The Red
Hill at 1.5 miles from Main Street, turn left into primitive parking. Hug
the mountain edge as you pedal toward the entrance to the canyon and begin
climbing. Thor's is at the top of the Red
Note on the map (2017): the trails marked as "planned" were
completed later in 2016 and are ready to ride.
Bike services: Cedar Cycles