The C Trail
The C Trail is Cedar City's incredible downhill romp. NOT a
trail for beginning riders, this is a super-twisty flight straight down
Cedar Mountain to the edge of the city. The downhill singletrack is 4.5
miles in length, dropping 2300 vertical feet (peak altitude 8400 ft), and
would be rated advanced-intermediate technical. The loop using Greens Lake
Drive is 10.5 miles and is very strenuous aerobic.
View west over Cedar City, near the
top of the trail. You can see the unique basin-and-range topography of the Great
by Bruce Argyle, September 15, 2001.
|You can ride this trail four ways: (1) Point-to point with a
shuttle. Have somebody drive 12 miles to the overlook, then bomb down to
town. (2) Out-and-back. A brutal granny-gear proposition, but it can be
done. (3) Road tour. Ride pavement up the canyon (towards Cedar Breaks)
and turn right on the Kolob Reservoir road, then hit the trail for a
16-mile loop. (4) "Allergic to Pavement" or "Take your
Doggie" Loop. Head past the lower trailhead to climb a steep dirt
road for a 10.5 mile loop. See below for details.
|Above: Looking up at the "C" on the
mountain (the white spot near the ridgeline), you may not believe it, but
you're heading almost straight up -- and back down -- this slope.
||The trail heads downhill through a gazillion tight turns. If
you're a bit timid (or have the habit of getting off your bike) when you
hit switchback turns on singletrack, you MUST do this trail. It will make
you an expert. All the turns are rideable without tricky stuff, but you
need confidence, good balance, and excellent braking control. It's NOT a
trail for your overweight neighbor's first dirt ride.
Bruce heads down the trail. Photo
courtesy of a lovely teenage hiker from Cedar City, whose name I didn't
|If you're a rider who wants to "Earn your
Vertical," I suggest you ride the all-weather dirt road (Greens Lake
Drive) up to the Cedar Highlands homes. Contining a mile further up the
road, you'll reach the Kolob Reservoir road just a few feet from the
turnoff to the C Trail. This is a brutal (10% average grade) uphill in the
hot sun, so either go early or plan on taking a few cool-down breaks.
An alternative climbing route is to go up Lichen
It, then Overflow, before making the
final bit of climbing on Greens Lake Drive.
View towards the ridgeline from the
Greens Lake (Cedar Highlands) Drive, where the slope mellows a bit. The
white rocks near the top are Navajo Sandstone, upthrust here by the
||Most of the trail is a fairly wide singletrack on hard base,
with a bit of loose rock. At the top, there's a short section of smooth
dark dirt among bitterbrush, maple, and pine, then the trail drops through
junipers on the clay, mudstone, and sandstone strata of the Triassic
View down a trail segment shows the
clay base with loose rock scattered over the trail.
Out-and-Back: Leave your car at the parking area near the water tank (see
below). Cross the paved trail and find uphill trail to the north of the
flood control basin. A trailhead sign is hidden behind the trees about 30 feet
up the trail to tell you that you found the right strip of dirt. Now head uphill.
Bruce and ever-faithful companion
Jackie prepare to take the plunge down down towards Cedar City (the spot
of trees in the upper background). September 15, 2001.
||Loop using Greens Lake Drive: As above, leave your
car near the water tank (see map). Climb to the paved
trail southbound, then watch for a spot to jump onto the levee to your left and
continue south. Cross TWO flood control basins, aiming for the homes just
downhill from the second water tank. As you draw near the homes, spot a
path between the homes and drop onto a street, still heading south. About
100 yards later at mile 1.35, the street will reach Greens Lake Drive, a
paved road heading east uphill. Turn left and start uphill. The road
immediately turns to gravel and becomes steep.
Prickly poppy bloom along the trail.
| Once you reach the homes,
the road will become Cedar Highlands Drive. Keep on this main road until
you reach the paved Kolob Reservoir road at mile 5.7. Turn left and cross
the cattle guard, then turn left onto the dirt road leading to the
overlook. The trail drops off on the left-hand side of the overlook.
|Getting there, base of C Trail: On Cedar City's north-south Main
Street, turn east (towards the mountain) on 400 South. Drive to 300 East
and turn right (south). At 820 South, the pavement of 300 East ends near
water tanks and the paved East Bench trail.
Continue straight onto dirt road and drive about 100 yards to an unmarked
and unimproved parking zone.
For the shuttle option or road loop, head back north on 300 East to 400
South, then jog east (right) one block, turn north again on 400 East. At
Center Street, turn right (east towards the mountains) and head up the
canyon. Five miles up the canyon, turn right on the Kolob Reservoir road.
Watch for a tiny sign marking the C Overlook at mile 4.6, just before a
fence with a cattleguard. Turn right into the parking area of the
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