Moving Mountain Biking Forward in Caliente
Starting back in 2013 we met with Dave Jacobson at the BLM office in Cedar City, UT, to discuss the vision of a mountain bike trail network in the Iron Hills area on the southeast side of town, right off Interstate 15. IMBA Trail Solutions turned this vision into a Conceptual Trail Plan that laid out almost 100 miles of new singletrack for mountain bikers. After a few public meetings and lots of emails and phone calls, the details came together and trail building started in earnest in September of 2015.
Fast forward to early winter 2016 and the first phase of the network is complete at almost 7.5 miles, which includes the Lichen It and Lava Flow trails which make up a one-way loop of a 2.8-mile climb, and a 2-mile descent with plenty of berms, and optional rock lines. This loop averages around 1,000 riders per month, with a peak of 2,000 riders in September 2016. In summer 2016, while driving from Salt Lake to Las Vegas, I stopped off at the Iron Hills Trailhead to break up the drive and go for a good ride. I was met with a huge dedicated parking lot, packed with newer riders, more experienced women’s groups and the Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team (a NICA team), who use the trails as their home training ground.
"A huge thanks to IMBA for their hard work on the new trails in Cedar City. The Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team uses them to train several times a week and we credit these trails with strengthening our climbing, descending and technical abilities. These trails are fantastic all-around trails! Thanks to everybody who put in long hours planning, building and maintaining these trails. You're all amazing!
Ginger Hall, Head Coach - Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team
The freshly constructed Overflow trail is the newest part of the 7.5-mile network. It was built as a collaboration between Trail Solutions, the BLM, and the local chapter of the Dixie Mountain Bike Association (DMTBA). Despite nearby wildfires, lightning storms and snow squalls, the Trail Solutions crew finished cutting in the trail right on schedule. The Overflow trail starts higher up at 6,945’ elevation and intersects with the Lichen It and Lava Flow loop right at the upper traverse. Starting from the top, you get a really fun swoopy, hand-finished (thanks to DMTBA!) descent of around 2.5 miles right from your shuttle rig, connecting to the existing loop. Climbing back up the trail at the end of your ride end isn’t so bad either, with great views of Square Mountain.
In fall 2016 we visited the Cedar City project site with staff from Nevada State Parks and the BLM office in Caliente, NV, which is only 90 minutes to the west. This visit was an opportunity to see both a finished product–Lichen It and Lava Flow trails–and the Overflow trail under construction. This helped to give the land managers a taste of what’s to come across the state line in Caliente.
Construction of additional trails at Iron Hills is scheduled to continue in late summer 2017. One of the priorities will be to connect Overflow Trail all the way up to the existing C-Trail. Other things on the list include a techie black diamond descent and a progressive green descent. Should funding be secured, we may have over 12 miles at Iron Hills by the end of 2017. If you’re in Cedar City, or passing on through I-15, make a point of stopping to check out this new and growing trail network.