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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.

Tipple trail

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.

Adit 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 Leeds Reef.

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 Reef.

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.

Other ride options

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.

Silver Reef

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 sandstone strata.

The Leeds Reef singletrack's north end starts at a gate on a dirt road.

Getting there:
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 road.

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 Trail page.

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.
Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      Red Cliffs Recreation Area multi-track file
      Prospector trail    Silver Reef tracks 
Maps for printing:  View riding area   White Reef TH    Red Reef TH
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to St. George area resources

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