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Virgin River Rim Trail
Pink Cliffs Section

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 steep pitches.

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 feet elevation.

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

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

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.

Water:  none
Bathrooms:  none at trailhead

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
    10-mile quick Pink Cliffs Loop as above
    12.2-mile Navajo Peak Loop
    Area multi-track GPX    Virgin Rim track
Topo maps for printing:
     Entire VRRT    Pink Cliffs area    Navajo Lake area
     Te-ah to Wood Ranch area
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Cedar City area resources
     Link to Red Canyon area resources

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