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View west on an early section of trail Bluff Street Cliffs (Owen's Trail)

The Bluff Street Cliffs trail has been renamed Owen's Trail. This is a short but fun ride on the cliffs along the north edge of St. George. This is a quick out-and-back ride of 3 miles (1.5 miles each way) that features some very nice rock. The trail requires good technical skills. Because it's within a couple of bicycle-minutes from most of St. George's motels, you can hit this trail during the morning chill and be back before your roommates have shaken off the morning groggies.

Singletrack leading up to the first rock challenge. Original review May 4, 2000, with updates by Bruce in 2008 and 2017.

The trail can be reached via several connector trails. The most direct route is from the Pioneer Park parking on the north side of the Red Cliffs Parkway. Take the trail under the parkway then turn right (uphill) on the paved Red Cliffs Parkway Trail. Shortly after crossing Skyline Drive, Owen's Trail begins at a step-over on your left.

View south as the trail turns from the west Pioneer Park parking area and descends under Red Cliffs Parkway.

The trail begins as a dirt single-track. Keep right and uphill as connectors join from streets below. Continue up onto the slickrock. About 1/3 mile up the trail, you'll need to pack your bike up a rocky chute. Once on the rock, the trail isn't too hard to follow. When in doubt, keep your eyes open for the rockpiles that mark the way.

Bruce climbs away from the city in this May 2017 photo.

Most of the rock in the St. George area is from the late Triassic to early Jurassic Era (the early age of the dinosaurs, around 200 million years ago). This area was a flat plain near the seashore, so most of rock is layered from successive deposits of dirt and rock laid down by floods in river flood-plains and deltas. You'll climb from the valley bottom Chinle shale, through the red multi-layered Moenkopi formation, to the capping layer of Kayenta Sandstone that forms the broad bluff.

Intermediates will usually manage this trail, but will likely walk through a significant number of little tech challenges.

At GPS N 37 07.206'  W 113 35.332', keep left at the fork (right loops up to the ridgetop and the City Creek Trail, with links to the highway). If you notice a second fork at GPS N 37 07.353'  W 113 35.420', keep left. (Forking hard right goes to the bottom of a wash 1/2 mile later. There also used to be a route straight over the top here. If bikes start riding it again, you might notice another route heading uphill.)

Heading west as the trail gets more techy.

The slickrock becomes more technical, and much more fun. The side-slope becomes steeper on both the uphill and downhill sides as the trail contours a small shelf.

For about 1/4 mile the trail hugs a shelf on the slope. Despite the appearance, this is actually a fairly easy area to ride.

As you come up to the top again, the route continues west on top of the now-narrow ridge. You'll reach a spot with some drop-offs where the trail seems to disappear. This isn't the end!

Watch for a narrow 20-foot chute descending steeply on the left. For me, the chute was unrideable -- my handlebars would not fit through the drop-off area in the chute. As you hit the bottom, veer right again.

Approaching the chute area.

Follow a twisting course west through the rocks, aiming for the top of the next hill. As you begin climbing, there are some ledges and the trail becomes hard to follow. Pick your way uphill -- probably on foot -- until you get above the rocks and find a singletrack in the sage brush. 

Taking a drop.

When you reach the singletrack, celebrate by circling around the cliffs over the golf course. In 2017, the passage up to the singletrack was a guessing game, and the circle route itself wasn't seeing as much traffic as in years past.

Rolling down from the circle.

After completing the loop, backtrack. On the way, consider hitting one of the connecting trails up to the City Creek trail or try a bit of the Pioneer Park trail across the parkway.

There are many areas with unusual erosion patterns in the rock. Fun stuff.

Goblin holes

Mojave tortoise, out for a morning stroll

  Blooming cactus

Don't ramp off the smooth green bumps. This is a desert tortoise
protection area. Here a mojave tortoise strolls right down the 
middle of the trail. May 4, 2000.

In the spring, you'll enjoy blooming cactus and other wildflowers.
Here, a cactus tree shows its yellow-green blossoms.

 

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

Yucca in bloom Pioneer Park trailhead:  From St. George Blvd (the main drag), head north on Main Street (towards the "Dixie" painted on the big rock above the cliffs). When you reach Hope Street, turn right, then immediately take the left fork and climb Skyline Drive to the top of the cliffs. Turn right. Just east of the junction of Skyline Drive with Red Cliffs Parkway, there's paved parking at the west end of Pioneer Park. Hop on the paved path on the south side of the parking lot and descend under the parkway. Now turn right uphill, cross Skyline Drive, and find the step-over entrance to Owen's Trail just a bit uphill.

You can also park on the far west end of the picnic loop in Pioneer Park -- east of the trail parking lot above. (To get on the loop, go east on Skyline Drive past the Pioneer Park parking lot and take the next left.) Head straight west onto the slickrock, keeping on the edge of the small cliffs that are to your right. You'll dump out onto the west parking area, where you'll take the paved route as above. This adds about 1/3 mile of rock riding to your trip. And, the Pioneer Park area is a good spot for non-riders to have a little fun while you skin your legs up.

Via City Creek trailhead:  You can also get to Owen's Trail by parking in the big lot at the top of the hill, starting out on City Creek, then forking left on the connector as shown on the map. But you'll miss the fun technical rock-garden on Owen's at mile 0.3 to 0.5.

Bathrooms and water:  east end of Pioneer Park

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin      GPX
High-res topo of trail system (500 KB):  View
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to St. George area resources

Original ride 2000. Updated 2008, 2017.
Copyright 2000 Mad Scientist Software Inc