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13th Hole Trail

The 13th Hole is a loop trail in the foothills of northeastern Cedar City. The loop is short and quick to ride, and can be done by experienced beginners. This is a good choice for a morning quickie or a fast "just passing through" ride. (It's only a couple of minutes off the freeway.)

Heading uphill on the counterclockwise loop. Video, photos, and trail report by Bruce on July 25, 2019.

The trail starts at an elevation of 5800 feet and climbs to just over 6100. The usual riding season will be May through November.

Your total climbing for the lariat loop ride will be just under 400 vertical feet.

Getting started. Use the official trailhead and pedal to the dirt on the sidewalk!

From the trailhead parking, the ride is 3.2 miles long. But the first 0.2 miles is sidewalk. So your on-dirt miles will be 2.8 for the round trip. Please do NOT shortcut the sidewalk portion of the ride by parking on the street -- the neighborhood where the singletrack begins is a private development. Please use the official trailhead and follow the signs to the dirt.

Just getting started. The trail is 99.9% clay; in fact, this is the only "slickrock."

From the trailhead, get onto the sidewalk heading east. You'll quickly note the carsonite Thunderbird Gardens signposts. Follow those signs past the next roundabout, continuing uphill on Knoll Drive. At the next road, turn right uphill. 200 feet later, turn to the right onto the graveled trail entry.

At the loop fork. I'm heading into the counter-clockwise ride.

Note:  Do not take the dirt road that goes east from the second roundabout on Knoll Drive. It does NOT connect to the 13th Hole trail. (The road follows bottom of the valley southeast. If you can navigate the braided doubletracks as the main road ends 1/3 mile later, you can go through to the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead, 0.8 miles away. This not an official cycling route at this time. The riding surface gets sloppy and tough, and on the Thunderbird Gardens end you'll get tangled up in the disk golf course. I don't recommend it.)

Rounding a hairpin turn as we climb up from the ravine. The camera is looking east.

After getting onto the dirt trail, there's a trail fork after 1/10th mile. You can ride the loop either direction. I've done it both ways, and I recommend the counter-clockwise direction. So turn to the right at the trail fork. You'll start out with a series of switchbacks up the side of the ravine, but the climb and the descent are better in this direction.

Most of the ride is in juniper and cedar. The southern side of the loop has more interesting terrain and views, which is one of the reasons you'll like the counterclockwise direction.

The terrain is a mix of juniper and pinion pine, with occasional grass and sage. The clay and rock are from the Jurassic Period.

The trail is a combination of narrow hand-made singletrack and broad flat machine-carved bench-cut.

Cranking on up the hill. The rate of climb is gentle, with frequent breaks from the climb

At mile 1.6 from the trailhead on the counter-clockwise ride, you'll reach the loop's furthest point. You may note a trail heading uphill in the ravine. It heads up to the ridge and turns south, but it rapidly becomes non-rideable. Instead, keep to the left and after a couple of meanders you'll begin your descent. (Walk up to the viewpoint if you like. It's nice.)

Looking west over the valley.

There are two old ATV trails that get entangled with the singletrack, one on the uphill side and one on the downhill side. These are still in use by trail runners. The northern side of the loop actually joins the ATV track for about 100 yards, so watch carefully for the (currently unmarked) spot where the trail exits from the doubletrack again.

The colorful bands of rock and dirt get better as you go higher.

New in 2021 is the Valhalla trail that connects upper 13th Hole to the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead. It's 1.2 miles long. 

If you started at the 13th Hole trailhead and are riding the loop counter-clockwise, at mile 1.4 you'll come to a hairpin turn. If you keep straight, you'll be on the way to Thunderbird Gardens. (180 degrees left keeps you on 13th Hole.)

When riding clockwise, the hairpin turn on 13th Hole comes at mile 2.0 from the trailhead, just 0.2 miles after the trail has turned west and started to descend. 

Looking south on the new connector trail to Thunderbird Gardens.

Bottom Line:

Fun and quick ride for early-intermediates or strong beginners. It's too short to be a destination ride for most mountain bikers. It makes a nice "late arrival" warmup or "just passing through" ride, or can be one piece of a "Cedar City sampler" as you hit several local trails in a day.

Rolling downhill.

 Counter-clockwise loop...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Getting there:  When southbound on I-15, take the first Cedar City exit (the same one you'd use to head for Three Peaks or Thor's Hideout/Lightning Switch) and turn left towards the mountains. The road will make a broad turn to the south to become Main Street in Cedar City. After you drive past a knoll to your left, turn left at the light at 1045 North, which will become Knoll Street. (This is one street north of the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead road.) Follow the street uphill through the golf course to a roundabout. Exit the roundabout on Knoll Street, then immediately turn right into a trailhead parking area. The small sidewalk heading east toward the mountains -- and the broad sidewalk that follows -- is the trail. Follow the signs on the sidewalk until you reach the dirt trail.

Bathroom at trailhead w flush toilet
Water fountain, sink faucet in BR, water tap west of bathroom

Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files for this trail (right-click and "Save as..."):
     Lariat loop track from parking  
     Area GPX multi-track file 
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Cedar City area resources

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