Santa Clara Preserve

This ride gives you a full overview of all the best trails in the Santa Clara Preserve, including a great variety of singletrack.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
23 km
Ascent
537 m
Descent
537 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
955 m
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
Santa Clara Preserve Map

If you're looking for classic desert riding that will throw a little bit of everything at you over the course of about 15 miles, then this route is for you. It combines the best trails of the Santa Clara Preserve northwest of St. George into a double loop, offering the opportunity to easily skip the last six miles if the first ten prove to be too much.

Description

The ride starts out on the Precipice Trail (with the option to ride the parallel portion of Barrel Roll instead). The Precipice Trail starts out smooth and mellow enough, but then gets tricky after about a mile in. The Barrel Roll option is a little easier. The Precipice (or Barrel Roll) trail, along with the attached Sidewinder Trail, and the first mile of the Suicidal Tendencies Trail, serve as the stem in a lollipop route with the rest of Suicidal Tendencies being the loop at the top of a separate mesa. What that means is that you are starting atop one mesa , dropping into a huge wash between mesas, and climbing up onto the second mesa. Then it's the loop, then return by dropping down and climbing back up the way you came.

Have a good look at that drop before you commit, as you need to be sure you will have the energy to climb back out... both ways! If you're up to it, this is a unique and very entertaining ride. If you complete this route and are still fresh, hit the rest of the remaining six-mile Barrel Roll loop on the way out. If not, there's no shame in simply bypassing Barrel Roll and coasting back down Precipice or lower Barrel Roll back to the start

While Precipice is variable in technical challenge and Sidewinder is consistently intermediate, Suicidal Tendencies will throw a good number of challenges at you. The name may be a bit overstated, but there are hazards in the form of narrow tread with serious exposure to one side, and tight switchbacks where missing a turn can have very serious consequences. Once atop the second mesa, the exposure disappears and the loop will be a comfortable but fun jaunt for an advanced rider, and a great place for an intermediate to face a nice variety of rock obstacles.

After completing the loop, it's back down into the wash and up the big climb to the decision point: to roll Barrel Roll or not to roll Barrel Roll? There's a good bit more climbing, albeit mostly gradual, if you opt for the Barrel Roll add on. Once at the high point, it's a fast and flowy loop back to the start. After Suicidal Tendencies, Barrel Roll will seem anticlimactic for the technically-oriented rider, but it's a nice way to add some miles for someone who doesn't relish the thrill of constant cliffside exposure.

The trail is ridable year-round, but does not handle moisture well, and is exceedingly hot in the summer. Ride early and bring twice as much water as you think you'll need. Few people venture out to the far side of the second mesa, so be prepared and self-sufficient.

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area