||White Reef and Leeds Reef
The White Reef and Leeds Reef loop is an easy ride from the White Reef
BLM trailhead. The loop can be done in either direction, with a couple of
options to make it easier or harder. Either trail can also be done as an
out-and-back. By far, the easiest ride would be an out-and-back on White
Reef, which is appropriate for young children. The photos on this page
will follow a clockwise loop ride -- up White Reef and down Leeds Reef.
Entering the riding area from the White Reef
trailhead. Note the lonely picnic table. Original review of these trails
in 2007 and 2011. Update and new photos by Bruce
on February 12, 2022.
|Note that this area was severely affected by the brush fire
in 2020. The fire moved from the trailhead area north, taking away most of
the mesquite and sage. So it's still a bit of a moonscape at the time of
this updated review. On the positive side, it means your views of the cliffs won't be
blocked by pesky green branches.
For other trails in this area, see the Red
Cliffs trailhead-area page, the Prospector
Trail page, and the Quail Creek to
Tipple Trail page.
Looking north in a burn area on the Leads Reef trail.
||White Reef Trail
The White Reef trail is the entry to the trail system from the White
Reef trailhead. All the possible riding options will fork away from White
Reef. The White Reef trail ends at a T intersection with the Adit trail
after 1.7 miles and around 300 vertical feet of climbing.
White Reef starts northwest from the trailhead, then after around 1/4
mile turns to head northeast toward Leeds and Silver Reef. White Reef is a
very easy trail to ride, suitable for children.
The White Reef trail turns from west to north. The
Pine Valley Mountains sit behind the Red Cliffs of Navajo Sandstone.
|The shortest and easiest version of the ride is a clockwise
ride of 3.4 miles. Ride uphill 1.7 miles of White Reef. Turn right for 0.1
miles of Adit to connect over to Leeds Reef. On the ridge, fork right
again to descend 1.4 miles on Leeds Reef back to White Reef. (The
connection on Adit has a slope that may prove tough for kids. But if so,
it's a short hike.) Overall climbing is 350 feet.
Heading gently uphill on White Reef, with the breaks
of the white sandstone in the distance. White Reef ends when we reach the
base of the white sandstone.
||Many riders prefer the counterclockwise loop because it
offers a butter-smooth fun and safe descent on White Reef. A slightly
longer version of the ride is to take Leeds Reef 1.8 miles uphill to the
unmarked doubletrack intersection with Tipple. (Note that you also do the
shorter ride described above backwards by turning off Leeds Reef onto Adit
at mile 1.4 to descend White Reef.)
View downhill, looking south on White Reef.
Go to the end of the Leeds Reef trail as above. Now make a hard 150 degree left turn onto doubletrack Tipple and climb 0.4
miles, then make another hard left 150 to descend 0.1 miles of the western
half of Adit. Turn right to descend White Reef. This ride is 4.2 miles
with 450 vertical feet of climbing.
Note that if you keep straight (left) uphill on Tipple's doubletrack,
it will divert onto singletrack that joins the Red Reef East trail for an
intermediate-level loop ride that includes the Quail Creek singletrack.
On the western end of Adit, looking up to the
doubletrack Tipple trail.
Whichever direction you ride this loop, you'll do 0.1 miles of Adit
near the top. Adit is a connecting trail that drops at a moderate pitch
from the northern doubletrack portion of Tipple, rolls through the valley
where White Reef ends, then climbs up to the next ridgeline where it joins
On the eastern end of Adit, looking south as it forks
away from Leeds Reef.
|Leeds Reef Trail
The Leeds Reef trail forks to the right from White Reef around mile 0.2
and heads northeast. At its northern end, you'll see a bit of western
Leeds to the east. (There's a faint connector following old doubletrack
that ties the far south end of Leeds to the Leeds Reef trail near the
northern border of the preserve.)
The Leeds Reef trail lies on top of a ridge at the
northern end. We're looking south.
||Leeds Reef is an easier-intermediate level trail. It is 1.8
miles in length, with around 400 vertical feet of elevation change.
Compared to White Reef, Leeds Reef has some steeper pitches and bumpier
trail surfaces. Young children will find it more challenging than White
Rolling through a rare spot of unburned mesquite.
|The short clockwise loop ride will descend 1.4 miles of
Leeds Reef, dropping just under 400 vertical feet.
The longer loop ride can also be done clockwise. At the end of White
Reef, turn uphill to the left on Adit for 0.1 miles, then hard right
downhill on Tipple to the road fork. Now turn 150 degrees to the right on
the second doubletrack (unmarked). It will turn into singletrack as Leeds
Reef. This descent is 1.8 miles.
As Leeds Reef continues south, it drops off the ridge
into a shallow valley.
Some riders will take use one of the two connecting trails near the
bottom of Leeds Reef to "switch up" the ride. The Grubstake
trail joins the bottom 1/10th mile of Leeds Reef to White Reef and the
Leeds-White connector at mile 0.15 heads directly north to White Reef,
shortening the ride slightly. (See the map.)
Entry to Grubstake from Leeds Reef.
|White Reef to Leeds Reef connector
A connector trail angles between White Reef at mile 0.6 from the
trailhead and Leeds Reef at 0.3 miles from its origin on White Reef. The
connector passes over a small rise between the two trails and is a good
option when going either direction.
Looking south on the connector, heading from White
Reef to Leeds Reef on a downhill ride.
Another ride option is to continue north into Silver Reef. When Leeds
Reef and Tipple join, keep straight on the dirt road. In 0.4 miles, a
doubletrack forks off to the right that can connect you to Leeds. If you
keep straight, you'll reach some branching options after a mile and a
half, but keep generally north. You'll hit Silver Reef at mile 1.9 from
the Leeds Reef-Tipple intersection.
The Wells Fargo office and the mining museum are a great side-trip. You
can pedal around past the old mines. My kids loved learning the history of
Silver Reef -- the only commercially viable silver mine located in
The Leeds Reef singletrack's north end starts at a
gate on a dirt road.
From St George, take the Hurricane (Highway 9) exit from I-15. At the
Telegraph Street (Highway 212) traffic light 1 mile later, turn left.
Drive 4 miles northeast on Old Highway 91. At Harrisburg, turn left to the
tunnel under the freeway and duck under both sides of I-15.
If southbound on I-15, exit at Leeds. Turn right under the freeway, then
right onto Old Highway 91 southbound through town. At Harrisburg 3.4 miles
later, turn to the right and go under the freeway on a narrow single-lane
White Reef trailhead: After passing under I-15, turn right
at the T intersection. Follow the road as it turns left and enter the
parking area. Self-service fee envelopes are at
the step-over for the White Reef trail at the southwest corner of the parking area.
Red Reef trailhead: At the T intersection after passing under
I-15, go left. Cross Quail Creek
and follow the road towards the cliffs. Pay the entry fee at the station
(or self-serve if unoccupied). The Red Reef East trail and the Anasazi
trail have separate entrances on the northern side of the loop road and
are not directly accessed from the parking lot.
Both trailheads have a bathroom and water. Camping and picnic tables
are available at Red Reef. Note there is a $5 per car fee (2022 price) for
day use of the Red Cliffs recreation area.
For other trails in this area, see the Red
Cliffs trailhead-area page, the Quail
Creek to Tipple Trail page, and the Prospector
Silver Reef: Take the Silver Reef I-15 exit and head west,
following the signs to Silver Reef. Find the parking area just south of
the Wells Fargo building. Work southwest on dirt roads until you arrive at
the fork between the Tipple trail and the Leeds Reef trail, both of which
are dirt roads at that point. The intersection is not marked. GPS
navigation is recommended.
Cottonwood Trailhead (for Prospector Trail): Take the UT-9 exit from I-15
(highway 9 goes to Hurricane, Zion Canyon, Grand Canyon) about 15 miles north of St.
George. Turn towards Hurricane and pass Coral Canyon. Instead, drive to
the traffic light in 0.7 miles. Turn left on Old Highway 91. Now go exactly 2
miles north. Watch on your left for a gravel road that enters a tiny single-lane
slot under the freeway, with a sign that says "Cottonwood Trailhead".
It will be between a beer warehouse labeled Winkel Distributing and a Rocky Mountain Power
office. Turn left and drive 0.25 miles under both lanes of the freeway to reach the
trailhead. Follow the Cottonwood Trail 0.5 miles then veer left at two forks
that are about 50 feet apart. The Prospector Trail will parallel the freeway
heading south 3 miles. If you want, turn left when it intersects the Church Rocks Loop and
ride the loop clockwise. The ride will be about 11 miles.
Grapevine Trailhead (for Prospector Trail): On I-15 just north of Washington, take
exit 13 for Washington Parkway. Turn north on Washington Parkway toward
the mountain (left if you're coming from St.G). The road will end
immediately after the northern off-ramp. Continue straight onto dirt
(note: will change as area develops). 100 yards later, pass through fence
and park. N37 08.981 W113 29.430. The ride starts on the dirt road that's
to your right as you go through the fence, heading northeast parallel to
the freeway. As the road turns west (left), find the singletrack trail
that continues north. Follow it to the top of the hill. Straight ahead is
a steep rocky plunge into the wash. If you go left 1/4 mile, there's an
alternate trail that's a calmer smoother ride. It will take you down
through the wash to the southwest corner of the Church Rocks Loop. To get
directly to Prospector, fork right.