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Crafting Expansion of the Iron Hills Trails System

Crafting Expansion of the Iron Hills Trails System

Trail Accelerator Grantee: Iron Trailcraft, Cedar City, UT

Posted: March 25, 2024
A young mountain biker riding in a high desert environment.

Within the breathtaking landscapes surrounding Cedar City, Utah, lies the National Recreation Trail designated Iron Hills Trail System – a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and exploration. As the demand for mountain biking trails for all riders continues to grow, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cedar City Field Office continues the ambitious journey to expand and enhance this well-loved trail network, bringing more trails close to home and more loop options to daily and after-work mountain bikers. The BLM Cedar City Field Office was recently awarded an IMBA Trail Accelerator grant to design and flag 10-15 miles of green to black skills level trails connecting and relieving congestion between popular trailheads.

The Iron Hills Trail System, which has experienced incredible trail building and trail community building momentum, faces the challenge of accommodating the increasing demand for downhill trails and short loop options. The majority of riders frequent the Southview Trailhead, drawn by its proximity to town and the quick loop options available. However, this concentration of use puts pressure on the Southview Trailhead, necessitating the development of additional trails and loop options to distribute usage more evenly.

Enter the Iron Hills Trail System Expansion project – a comprehensive effort to design and construct new downhill trails and climbing routes between the Southview and "C" Trailheads. With a total length of 10-15 miles, these trails will cater to a wide range of skill levels, from beginner-friendly green trails to adrenaline-pumping black descents. This project aims to enhance the overall trail experience and alleviate pressure on existing trails and associated amenities by creating more loop options and distributing usage across multiple trailheads.

Driven by a commitment to sustainable recreation and community engagement, the BLM Cedar City Field Office collaborates with local partners, including the IMBA Local Member Organization Iron Trailcraft and the Utah Cycling League. Together, they leverage grant funding and volunteer efforts to design and continue the construction of the expanded trail network. With support from the Bureau of Land Management and community stakeholders, this project represents a collective effort to enrich the outdoor recreational opportunities available in Cedar City.

"Bringing this trail system even closer to town will not only benefit local riders but also attract visitors, contributing to the economic vitality of Cedar City. More importantly, it will enhance the quality of life for residents, fostering physical activity, mental wellness, and a deeper connection to our natural surroundings." - Mike Innes, Bureau of Land Management Cedar City Field Office

The proposed expansion will include a variety of trails, from green-blue climbing routes near the "C" Trailhead to advanced downhill trails located close to trailheads for convenient access. By incorporating the city's paved path into the trail network, the project aims to make trail access more convenient for residents, thereby promoting active transportation and reducing reliance on motor vehicles. These new trails and access will highly benefit the local NICA team, the Iron Giants. The NICA team is growing each year and they are always looking for new areas to spread the team out and ride.

With this IMBA Trail Accelerator grant, the stewards of the Iron Hills Trail System continue a transformative, outdoor recreation-centric journey paving the way for model trail communities. They’re creating trails that provide thrilling experiences and foster a sense of community, inclusivity, and stewardship of our public lands for multiple stakeholder groups.

IMBA Trail Solutions will be on the ground later this year to continue planning and designing the expansion of the Iron Hills Trail System.

About the author
Marty Caivano, IMBA Local Programs

Marty started mountain biking in '99, when the usual way to begin riding was to be dragged on a death march by well-meaning friends who left you miles behind with no way to fix a flat. Thankfully, this didn't prevent her from falling in love with the sport (and also becoming a professional…

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