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Pushing Tin Loop

The Pushing Tin loop circles the top of a small mesa just south of the St. George airport. The  two-mile loop itself is reached via an out-and-back singletrack from one of three trailheads in the Desert Canyons trail system: Meditation Rock, Desert Canyons (Secret Sauce), or a primitive trailhead along the parkway. The minimum ride is 3 miles. The most popular route is 4.5 miles total. Weather permitting, this is a year-round ride. 

Bruce hits a spot of techy rock on the counterclockwise loop ride. Review and photos March 8, 2018.

The loop is intermediate overall in technical requirement. Experienced beginners can do this ride, but will need to step past some of the rock challenges.

The average elevation for the ride is 2700 feet, with around 300 vertical feet of climbing on the loop. There's about 100 feet of additional climbing if you start from Meditation Rock trailhead parking (as most riders currently do). This lariat ride from Meditation Rock is 4.5 miles long, and is my recommended option.

Start of the trail at Meditation Rock.

The trail is seeing a fair number of daily riders that will often fill up the trailhead parking. There are now four trailheads. Two are easy to find (Meditation Rock and Desert Canyons) just off the Desert Canyons Parkway exit. Undeveloped access at Pushing Tin and Saddle are used by locals who know their way around. At this time (winter 2018) there are no bathrooms, water, or repair kiosks at any trailhead.

The trails are well-marked with signs and carsonite posts. You won't get lost.

Trail sign near the Pushing Tin trailhead.

Getting there via Meditation Rock

The Meditation Rock trailhead is reached via the Southern Parkway (Highway 7). Around 6 miles east of I-15, exit the Southern Parkway onto the Desert Canyons Parkway and turn south (right if you came from the freeway). Take the first right on Desert Edge Drive. After 100 feet, turn right into the parking area.

Climbing the first bit of bumpy trail, 1/10th mile from Meditation Rock.

Descend the singletrack from the step-over gate. In 1/10th mile, you'll reach the first bit of rock challenge. Once you're past that, you'll climb around 100 vertical to an area of sage and mesquite heading westbound, approximately parallel to Highway 7.

At mile 0.5, keep straight and right at the trail fork. The path to your left goes 0.2 miles to the Saddle trailhead (currently used only by locals because the road that will service the Saddle trailhead is still under construction in spring 2018).

Westbound on the connector trail, around 1/2 mile into the ride.

Your goal is an underpass where a wash passes under the Southern Parkway. Ride the elevated concrete platform along the wash. (You'll dip through this same wash three times on your way to the loop, so if there's water in the wash, turn around.)

Once you're through the wash, cross the dirt road. (On the south side of this dirt road, just west of the trail cross-over, is the unimproved (as of March 2018) Pushing Tin trailhead. From here, pedal north. In 1/4 mile you'll reach a trail fork. Left is Pushing Tin; right takes you east 2/3 mile to the Desert Canyons trails (Secret Sauce and Claim Jumper).

Climbing the mesa on the counterclockwise loop.

Alternate trailhead route:  Desert Canyons

Pushing Tin links to Secret Sauce via a 0.7 mile connector trail. On the Pushing Tin end, the trail is on the right as you ride from the underpass (or primitive parking area) toward the loop, just before you dip through the wash the second time and begin climbing the hill.

You can reach Pushing Tin from the Desert Canyons trailhead by forking left on the connector trail immediately after leaving the trailhead on Secret Sauce. The Desert Canyons trailhead is across the parkway from Meditation Rock.

Looking west on the trail that links Secret Sauce to Pushing Tin

The Pushing Tin Loop
On the opposite side of the last wash crossing, the trail begins climbing the mesa. From the Pushing Tin trailhead at the dirt road, it's 0.5 miles to the Pushing Tin loop. Keep straight for a counter-clockwise ride around the loop.

There are a couple of patches of technical rock as you continue your climb up the mesa. Most of these are located on the serpent turns of the loop's northeast corner.

Bruce grunts up a ramp of rough sandstone.

At 0.3 miles from the loop fork, you'll reach the Pushing Tin viewpoint. (At this time, the 100-foot hiking route to the overlook is flagged but not excavated.) To the northwest below you is the St. George Motoproving Ground.

Pushing Tin Point. The overlook is about 100 feet north, toward the Pine Valley Mountains. We're now on top of the mesa, but there's a bit more gentle climbing to come. 

About one mile into the loop, you'll reach the ride's highest point on the cliffs along the west side of the mesa. From here, you'll generally descend -- with a bit of climbing -- to Will Gilbert Point, where you'll have views over the valley to the south. You're now at mile 1.6 from where you entered the loop.

Approaching the cliffs on the west side of the mesa.

Now you'll descend 1/2 mile back to the loop fork. Keep straight to make another counterclockwise lap, or hook sharply right for the return trail. Back at the Meditation Rock trailhead, you've done 4.5 miles.

Drink break at Will Gilbert Point.

Bottom Line:
Nice quickie ride. Fairly easy on the body, even with the tech rock sections. Will satisfy a wide range of ability levels.

Drone shot as Bruce descends a series of sandstone blocks.

 Pushing Tin loop ride from Meditation Rock

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

Riding notes, from Meditation Rock:
0.0   Step over gate
        N37 00.423 W113 30.789
0.4   Keep right (L = to Saddle TH)
        N37 00.369 W113 31.122
1.1   R into wash, cross under parkway
        N37 00.268 W113 31.665
1.2   Cross road (TH to your L)
        N37 00.340 W113 31.625
1.5   Keep L (R = to Secret Sauce)
        N37 00.600 W113 31.481
1.7   Loop fork, keep straight
        N37 00.700 W113 31.528
2.0   Pushing Tin Point
        N37 00.869 W113 31.593
2.6   Keep R (alt tech line on L)
        N37 00.627 W113 31.702
3.3   Will Gilbert Point
        N37 00.489 W113 31.642
3.8   Back at loop fork, hard R
        N37 00.700 W113 31.528
5.5   Back at TH
Getting there, Meditation Rock trailhead:
Southbound on I-15, take the Southern Parkway (Utah Highway 7) about a mile from the Arizona border. Keep left on the exit off-ramp to pass under I-15. Drive around 6 miles to the Desert Canyons Parkway exit. Turn right on Desert Canyons Parkway, then in 200 feet, right again on Desert Edge Drive. In 100 feet, turn right into the parking area of the Meditation Rock trailhead.

Pushing Tin trailhead:  This trailhead will likely change as the area is developed. As you exit I-15, turn left (north) on Desert Canyons Parkway. The first dirt road to your left goes one mile directly to the Pushing Tin trailhead, but there's a lot of construction there now. The second left (0.5 miles from the parkway) passes the St. George Motoproving Ground. Immediately after the moto park, turn left to drive a mile south, then turn left on a smaller dirt road. In 1/4 mile, turn right to the parking area. The trail crosses the dirt road about 50 feet from the parking lot.

Riding resources for this trail:
Trail guide for printing:  View
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
     4.5-mile lariat ride from Meditation Rock 
     Area 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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