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Paradise Canyon Trail

The Paradise Canyon Trail is one of the more technical rides at Brian Head. It includes the toughest section of the Dark Hollow Trail, then heads off on its own advanced-tech downhill course as it branches away from Dark Hollow. It can be done by an upper-intermediate rider with a few hike-a-bikes, but if you don't think of yourself as an expert, our recommendation is pass on this ride and do Bunker Creek.

Paradise Canyon has been severely affected by the summer 2017 forest fire and is closed. UMB will watch for the re-opening of the trail, but you can contact the bike shop for current status.

Dominic ducks under a fallen aspen as he pivots a tight turn. Photos by Bruce, September 2003.

If you start on Brian Head Peak, you'll drop from 11,300 (11,000 if you start from the shuttle parking area rather than the peak) to 6600 feet at the mouth of Second Left-hand Canyon. If you roll into Parowan, you'll drop a full vertical mile to 5,300 feet.

Matt launches on the Sydney Peaks portion of the trail, before the left-hand turn down towards Dark Hollow.

But to avoid riding on the highway, most riders park their shuttle vehicle at the mouth of Second Left-hand Canyon. Length of the combined singletrack and doubletrack to the highway is 12 miles. Add 4 miles of paved road if you're going into Parowan.

My mileage on this trail isn't exact, because we blundered onto this trail when the Dark Hollow trail was closed for logging. But you'll find it's not hard to navigate. There are only three forks, and you'll go left-right-right.

There's plenty of fun stuff to do here. Mike takes air off the volcanic rock of Brian Head Peak.

The Paradise Canyon section of this ride is in damp lush forest. Spruce gives way to aspen, with an understory full of wildflowers and ferns. This is a beautiful ride.

Dom and Matt cruise downhill along the creek.

The trail twists tightly downhill, with a few steep drops. On our ride, the UMB crew was ambushed by a rainstorm, which made the steep root-and-slime plunges a tad more interesting. Near the bottom, you'll take a few dips through the creek before reaching the Second Left-hand Canyon road.

In Paradise Canyon, Dom leads Matt through one of countless hairpin turns.

Here's the basic ride description:
0.0  From the parking lot on the road to Brian Head Peak,
       go uphill slightly and across the road to start east on ST
1.4  4-way fork, go L down the Dark Hollow Trail
       Vicious tech rock ahead...
2.2  Fork right in a meadow area and drop steeply downhill
       off the Dark Hollow trail onto Paradise Canyon
5     Keep straight as the Dark Hollow trail rejoins on L
6     Sharp L onto the Second Left-hand Canyon Road
12   At U-143. To loop, turn left uphill.

Matt rocks down the mean section of upper Dark Hollow.

Shuttle service is available from the bike shops at Brian Head. Cost per rider (summer 2001) is $12.

Getting there:  Leave your shuttle car on U-143, anywhere below Second Left-hand Canyon (the canyon is the second gravel road on the left after entering the canyon above Parowan). GPS of the intersection of U-143 with the Second Left-hand Canyon road is N 37 47.931' W 112 49.350'. On U-143, head up the canyon from Brian Head to the summit. Just 1/4 mile past the summit sign, turn left on a gravel road (N 37 40.136' W 112 50.350'). Drive 1.8 miles to a parking area on the left. The trail starts on the singletrack slightly uphill and across the road from the parking area. (NOT the singletrack heading west directly from the parking area, which takes you back into Brian Head.) Or, you can continue another 0.7 miles to the peak of the mountain to start your ride at GPS N 37 40.904' W 112 49.827'.

Riding resources:
One-page trail guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Garmin       GPX 
Topo map for printing:    High-res view
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Cedar City - Brian Head area resources

Copyright 2003 Mad Scientist Software Inc