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St George Airport Trails

The St George Airport trail system lies just west of the airport. There's 8 miles of singletrack, with trails ranging from easy to very difficult. The trails run in a general north-south direction with many loop options. The average elevation is 2700 feet. Weather allowing, the trails can be ridden year-round.

Southbound on the western side of the main loop. Photos and review by Bruce on February 25, 2021.

I don't recommend these trails to riders who are new to the area, unless you're going with someone who already knows the area well. Trails are unmarked and the options can get confusing. Just finding your way to the trails will be your first challenge. There's no developed trailhead. You can pedal into the system from Banded Hills Road on the north end, or from Desert Canyons on the south. If you're exploring on your own, I highly suggest GPS navigation such as Trailforks.

Most riders will hit the more-difficult expert bits on the west edge of the bluff. You can use them as alternates to the west side of the main loop, or as little loops off the ride.

I'll divide the system into three main options: an eastern 3-mile doubletrack that extends all the way through the system (which a surprising number of riders use), the easier 3-mile main singletrack loop in the center (with access singletrack at the north and south ends), and the 4 expert ridgeline options that leave and reconnect on the western side, which can be used as mini-loops or as alternates to the western side of the main loop. In general, the further west the trail is, the harder it will be.

The main loop is mostly dirt. The southwestern side has some intermediate level up-and-down, but overall the trail is straight and easy.

My suggestion is, once you find your way into the trail system, ride around the central loop first. That will help you understand the area and you'll see where the expert routes leave and reconnect. Then have fun exploring the western expert lines. I'll spend most of my explanation-time here just telling you how to find the trails.

Looking toward the 0.7-mile double-black loop option that drops off the bluff then climbs back up to the main loop around the corner. I'd save this for last, or even skip it.

Main loop

3 miles around. Reached from the north or south via singletrack connectors. Eastern side is very easy. The western side has an easy northern half, and a southern half that I'd rate intermediate because of some dip-and-climbs. In general, you can tell which way to turn at any trail forks because the main loop just looks easier. There's a short-cut across the loop about 1/3 of the way from the southern end.

Looking north toward the Pine Valley Mountains on the easier eastern side of the main loop.

Western rock

There are 3 main expert lines on the western edge of the bluff, plus a double-black loop that drops off the bluff. Some of these are obvious trail forks, while others are more subtle. I'll let you figure it out.

North rock: 0.6 miles, alternate to main singletrack connector on north end of loop.
Northwest: 1 mile, bypasses northern half of west side of main loop.
West rock: 0.6 miles off middle of western side of loop:
Dropoff: 0.7 miles with steep drop and grunt climb, techy. 

View from the northwest expert option, just off the northern end of the main loop.

The far north strip of tech riding can be hard to find. On the north, it can be picked up from the pavement, about 50 feet west of the dirt road. Or catch it at the apex of the little valley about 1/10th mile from the road.

From the south, it's a singletrack consisting of a steep series of steps heading uphill, just a few feet east of the entry into the northwest tech singletrack from the northeast corner of the main (easy) loop. The more broad smoother (but still steep) trail east of it connects up to the main access trail.

Rolling into a bumpy steep ramp on the northwest tech singletrack..

On the northwest singletrack there's another spot that deserves mention. You'll get lost briefly when heading south, because the continuing trail isn't obvious. Shortly after you begin the rim westbound, the trail will turn 120 degrees left and drop southwest steeply down a chute to a sage brush meadow. But you won't see this, and you'll continue northwest for another 100 yards until you get lost in a bunch of dead-end viewpoints. Just backtrack and you'll find the continuing trail. The wrong way trail is much more ridden, of course, because everybody misses the turn and has to ride back looking for it.

Looking down the steep bumpy chute to the continuing trail at the spot where everybody gets lost.

 A little loop to show what the trails are like...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Getting to the main loop, details!
From the north!  

This is the easiest way to locate the trails. From the Southern Parkway (Highway 7), take River Road northbound to 4150 South and turn right eastbound. After 1.3 miles (at the base of the bluff) the road will veer left twice to become Little Valley Road heading straight north. Turn right on Auburn Drive after 1/4 mile, then right again after another 1/4 mile onto 2820 East. As 2820 East climbs the bluff, it will become Banded Hills Road. Just after cresting the hill, look for a dirt road on your right. That's your target. Find a spot to park. Many riders drive 100 yards further east to the road stub (where a future road will be built) and park there, as shown on my map and GPS track. (Note that this area will change with future construction!)

Seeing the airport on the northern singletrack connector.

On your bike, pedal away from the paved road on the dirt road southbound. You must immediately commit to one of three ride options:

1. Doubletrack. Easiest. You'll have a couple of chances to sneak over to singletrack as you go south. Many riders make the jump at mile 0.5,where a crossing doubletrack heads uphill and intersects the singletrack about 200 feet later. You can also continue south on the DT to reach the southern end of the main loop where the singletrack connector crosses at a fenceline at mile 1.8 of the doubletrack.

Rolling down toward the main loop southbound on the connector.

2. Access singletrack. Just 200 feet after the dirt road leaves pavement, a cindered road goes uphill to the right. Turn onto it, then in 50 feet turn left onto the singletrack. After 1/2 mile, keep left after you cross the fenceline and navigate a slightly techy turn downhill. (The right-hand option drops down a steep loose slope to rejoin.) When you reach the trail fork, go left for the easier side of the main loop. If you go right, there's another fork in 50 feet. Here a right takes you to the expert line and a left turn is easy riding on the west side of the main loop (but with some steeper climbs and descents coming later).
3. Expert ridge. On the singletrack as above, go 1/10th mile then watch for a line heading right (west) uphill. It was not well-marked on the day of my ride. This route involves a bit of technical rock, dropping down to the main loop after 0.6 miles. As you reach the loop, make a right turn then immediately fork right again and you'll be on the next bit of expert trail.

View looking southwest as the trail meanders near the edge of the bluff.

From the south!  

This option lets you hit the Desert Canyons / Pushing Tin trail system first. But finding the Airport Trails from here involves a bit of navigation. Start from the main Desert Canyons parking area north of the Southern Parkway on the Desert Canyons Parkway. You'll need to find your way to a spot at the base of the bluff 3/4 mile northwest of the parking lot. You have two options to get there:

Looking south toward the motocross track area.

1. Motocross track road. As you head west on the Pushing Tin Connector, there's a singletrack crossing the wash on your right after 1/10th mile. Take it uphill then veer left and approach the cement barriers. Cross to the road and go a tiny bit left downhill before turning right onto the gravel motocross track access road. Pedal 1/2 mile west, and as you see the gates of the track, look a route over to the bluff on your right (singletrack or doubletrack). If you aren't following my track file, I'd suggest going further west to the wide area right in front of the gates, then taking the doubletrack across the wash. Then just follow the doubletrack uphill until it intersects the singletrack access trail at the fence after 0.9 miles from the motocross track. If you head west (a left turn) on that singletrack, you'll reach the south end of the main singletrack loop in 1/4 mile. Here a right turn takes you on the easier eastern side of the loop.

Typical trail view on the southwest side of the loop (southbound).

2. Wash at Pushing Tin. Just off the east side of the Pushing Tin loop, find the side trail that drops into the wash northbound. Follow the wash north to the fence and get onto the motocross track road. Turn left on the road and as you reach the wide area in front of the motocross park, veer right on the doubletrack as above. Note that as the doubletrack reaches the base of the bluff and veers left, you can keep straight uphill to find a singletrack climbing steeply along the fence. This singletrack (after an initial steep and loose grunt) will take you to the southern end of the main loop.

Bouncing over a bit of rock.

Getting There!

Desert Canyons Parkway Trailhead: Southbound on I-15, take Exit 2 for the Southern Parkway (Highway 7). Keep left on the exit off-ramp. Drive around 6 miles to the Desert Canyons Parkway exit. Turn left on Desert Canyons Parkway, pass under the Southern Parkway and drive 1/10th mile north to a trailhead on your right. On your bike, find your way northwest as above.

Banded Hills Road:  From I-15 on the Southern Parkway (Highway 7), turn north on River Road. Next turn right on 4150 South. This will veer left to become Little Valley Road northbound. Turn right on Auburn Drive, then right again on 2820 East. This will become Banded Hills Road. Just after cresting the hill, look for a dirt road on your right. You can park here, or go to the road stub (where a future road will be built) 100 yards further and park there. On your bike, backtrack to the dirt road southbound. (Note that this area will change with future construction!) 200 feet after the dirt road leaves pavement, find the singletrack to your right on the uphill side.

Bathroom: port-a-potty at the Desert Canyons main trailhead.
Water: none
Camping: none

Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
     Airport Trails multi-track file
     Desert Canyons multi-track file  Map datum WGS 84
Area aerial map for printing:  View area map
Lodging, camping, shops:  Links to St. George area resources

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