The Virgin River Rim Trail (VRRT) is a 32-mile point-to-point ride
along the break in the Plateau above the Virgin River drainage. See the
Virgin River Rim shuttled ride page for a trail overview. The Pink Cliffs
section is the eastern 10 miles of the trail, from Strawberry Point to the
Cascade Falls overlook.
View of the limestone cliffs from Strawberry Point.
Ride description and photos by Bruce on
July 14, 2017.
This part of the trail can be done as a shuttled ride, an
out-and-back to the Pink Cliffs, or a loop ride returning by the Lars Fork
road. This section is less popular than the Navajo Peak section -- even
though it offers more eye-popping scenery -- so the trail feels more
remote and less buffed.
The riding is on the upper side of intermediate technically, but
moderately strenuous due to the elevation (over 9000 feet) and modestly
Rolling through connifer forest at 9100 feet.
The east end is reached via the Strawberry Point Road (33
miles from Cedar City on Highway 14). The road goes to a turn-around loop
with a short trail to a spectacular viewpoint The VRRT begins about 1/2 mile back downhill,
at a tiny trailhead along the side of the road. It's worth
going to the viewpoint.
Don't even think about riding your bike out to this
pinnacle. This is the last little bit of trail from the road parking loop
to the viewpoint.
There's room for about 3 cars at the trailhead, on the left
side of the Strawberry Point road as you drive toward the viewpoint. This part
of the trail drops downhill, and will cross the Strawberry Point road 1.8 miles
later. This burns up 600 vertical feet of elevation, down to 8400
feet. Some riders simply start their ride at this lower spot. There's room
to park at roadside near the trail crossing, but it's not prominently
marked. So you kind of have to know where it is -- or use GPS.
Trailhead on the Strawberry Point road.
From the road crossing, the trail climbs 400 vertical feet
over one mile to a first summit. Then it descends 200 vertical through a
zigzag downhill into the next valley where you'll cross Strawberry Creek
at mile 2.9 from the trailhead.
Now it's back uphill as you climb to the second summit just east of the
Pink Cliffs. After climbing 500 vertical, you're at mile 4.2 and at 9150
Descending from the first climb,
headed for Strawberry Creek in the valley below.
After a short descent you'll arrive at the Pink Cliffs.
There will be a few spots where you're right on the edge of the cliffs.
It's worth stopping a few times for the views.
Catching a look at the Pink Cliffs.
The cliffs are made of fresh-water limestone called the
Claron Formation. It's the same stuff you find in Bryce Canyon or Cedar
Breaks. 40 million years ago, this area was covered by a huge freshwater
lake, with limestone depositing in the bottom.
The trail occasionally flirts with the drop-off.
After flirting with the Pink Cliffs, the trail makes a steep
drop through some switchbacks along the edge of the plateau. Much of this would be a
push-a-bike if you were coming the other direction. This stretch appears
to have been heavily poached by illegal motos. The trail surface is loose
and heavily churned by the motorcycles.
There's a lot of smooth trail with widely spaced fir.
The rate of descending becomes more reasonable as you cross
an ATV trail (the apparent the source of the motorcycles), and the trail
surface improves to its usual buff state.
At mile 6.0, you'll join the Lars Fork road for a few feet. If you're
doing a loop ride via Lars Fork, make a hard right turn and begin
descending. When you reach the Strawberry Point road, turn right and pedal
back to your car.
On the Lars Fork road for the little loop. See below.
If you're continuing with the point-to-point -- whether the
whole thing or just to Cascade Falls -- keep straight and pick up the
continuing singletrack just around the turn of the Lars Fork road. Climb
250 vertical feet over the next half-mile, then pedal gradually uphill at
a more pleasant pace.
After mile 9, the trail descends 400 vertical feet down to the Cascade
Falls road (FR 054). At mile 10.5, the viewpoint is to your left. There's
roadside parking here for a shuttle vehicle.
Winding through wildflowers among the conifers.
Virgin River Rim Trail - Pink Cliffs section loop ride
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Riding notes, short loop with Larks Fork:
Ride begins where VRRT crosses road (not at trailhead higher up)
0.0 Road crossing, find trail on northwest side
N37 26.876 W112 41.960
0.8 Join road uphill N37 26.875 W112 41.962
0.9 R uphill off road on ST
1.0 Rejoin road uphill
1.1 Off road to left on ST N37 27.475 W112 42.190
1.6 Cross creek N37 27.481 W112 42.399
3.6 At Pink Cliffs
4.8 R on Lars Fork road N37 28.636 W112 43.741
8.0 R on Strawberry Point road N37 27.913 W112 40.604
10.0 Back at car
Getting there: From Cedar City, drive 11 miles east
on U-14 to Woods Ranch. Leave a vehicle at the parking area of the second
entrance (the gravel road that comes in parallel to the highway is the end
of the trail). Continue east on U-14 to 33 miles from Cedar City, and turn
right on Strawberry Road. Continue straight on the dirt road to Strawberry
Point, 9 miles. You'll pass the trail marker on the left-hand side of the
road about 1/2 mile before the overlook. There's a loop at the viewpoint.
Keep right to enter the loop and proceed to parking spots on the far side.
There's a short trail to the Strawberry Point viewpoint.