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Lichen It and Lava Flow
Iron Hills Trail System in Cedar City

Work on the Iron Hills Trail System began in 2015. Fifty miles of trails are planned on the mountain slopes east of Cedar City. In November 2015 Lichen It and Lava Flow were the first trails to open. (See the separate trail page for information on the 310 East trail, an extension from the top of Lichen It uphill to Greens Lake drive.) A loop using Lichen It to climb and Lava Flow to descend is 4.8 miles with 550 feet of climbing. Lichen It is an easy trail; Lava Flow is upper-intermediate. The starting altitude is 6050 feet.

View down an undulating section of Lava Flow. Photos and trail review by Bruce on December 5, 2015. Updated April 2017.

In 2016, the official trailhead has been improved with gravel
and fencing. We're standing at the entry to the trailhead,
looking south. The trail is to our left, uphill.

"Lichen It" heads northeast towards the mountain, through
the fence, then dipping through the wash. (Lava Flow joins
a bit uphill.) No horses or motos are allowed.

  
Lichen It
Lichen It is a broad smooth trail with a gentle rate of climb. It's suitable for beginning riders. The trail has two-way traffic.

Note:  You'll note some snow and frozen mud in a few of these photos. During the late fall and winter months, only ride early in the morning after a hard freeze. To be off the mountain before things get muddy, start by 8 to 9 a.m. (depending on your riding speed).

The typical terrain is a mix of juniper and pinion, with lichen-covered boulders alongside the trail.

The trail surface has firmed up nicely to form a broad and forgiving riding surface. When climbing, the trail feels like a highway. On the downhill, the little twists and humps feel like a race track.

View near the bottom of Lichen It in the crisp pre-sun hours. Typical trail view shows a smooth trail of red dirt with surrounding juniper, cedar, and pinion.

Just 1/10 mile from the trailhead, Lava Flow joins on your right. Keep left on Lichen It. (Lava Flow is a one-direction bikes-only flow trail. Do not enter from downhill.) Lichen it will be your path to upper-mountain riding as the trail system is built up.

Lichen covers the exposed boulders along the trail as we continue climbing.

Lichen It will meander back and forth across the face of the mountain as it climbs the west-facing slope. The rate of climb is consistently easy.

The surface is 100% dirt with no tricky stuff.  The juniper trees are spaced widely enough to allow frequent views to the west. 

View northwest. The little sawtooth mountains in the middle distance are the Three Peaks. Nice bike trails there.

At mile 2.8 from the trailhead, at an altitude of 6550 feet, Lichen It officially ends. But the trail continues as the advanced-level Lava Flow trail. Kids and beginners should turn around and descend Lichen It to the trailhead.

At the Lichen It - Lava Flow junction, the 310 East extension trail forks uphill to the left. This trail, new in November 2016, is harder than Lichen It. I'd rate it intermediate in difficulty. It climbs another 500 vertical feet to the gravel Greens Lake road.

Getting near the top of Lichen It. The climbing rate is very pleasant, with undulating trail to keep the riding interesting.

 

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

  
Lava Flow
The Lava Flow downhill trail is a direct continuation from Lichen It at N37 38.342 W113 04.626, 2.8 miles uphill from the trailhead. Two miles long, Lava Flow will return you to the trail fork near the bottom of Lichen It.

The beginning of Lava Flow is marked by a sign and a rock rollover that alerts you to tech stuff coming up.  The trail surface immediately becomes more technical with rock slabs of sandstone, basalt, and granite.

A roll-over shortly after the beginning of Lava Flow in the early-morning hours before the thaw. Not tough; but quite different than the butter-smooth dirt we climbed to get here.

There's still a bit of climbing during the first part of Lava Flow. You'll notice the pitches are a bit more taxing than Lichen It, but still not too tough. After a quarter mile, the trail will reach a top altitude of 6550 feet before turning downhill.

Most of Lava Flow is broad smooth trail with a wide riding line. Periodically, there are areas of embedded boulders that give a bit of challenge.

Lava Flow will now drop 500 vertical feet in 1.8 miles. The pitch is never spooky. There's a bit of bouncy rock here and there, but much of the descent is on smooth dirt. Although rated as an advanced trail, tech sections are short and seem very do-able by an experienced intermediate rider.

A rolling and slightly twisty descent through the rocks, followed by a tiny climb.

After the first half-mile bound southwest, Lava Flow turns to the northwest and descends fairly directly without much winding back and forth. The trail has a bit of gentle undulation, some of which has been put to use for tabletop jumps. (For those who don't know, tabletops are broad bumps with a flat top, and are easily rolled over by lower-speed riders.)

Bare dirt on a south-facing slope, with rollers inviting a bit of air.

Turns have a high berm for fast riding. In 2015, many of them have soft soil. So I'd suggest you not get too rad with rolling the berms until they've had the winter to soak up water and compact.

Nicely bermed turn as we look south.

There are some A/B lines on the descent. Most are easily scout-able on the fly as you approach them from uphill. None of the stunts required going airborne, although you could if you wanted.

The tech line to the left looks like it's going to be a monster rock-drop, but it's actually just a playful rollover. If you decide to launch it, note the quick right turn just downhill.

Bottom Line:
Lichen It is an easy trail suitable for kids and beginners. Lava Flow is a very fun and non-terrifying downhill, well-planned and well-built. Definitely worth a visit. Do a couple of laps. If you're into downhilling, the combination of the 310 East and Lava Flow makes just over 4 miles of great riding that you can reach with a shuttle.

Nearby, you'll find the C Trail. You can connect the bottom of Lichen It to the C Trail by bike if you backtrack to 191 and take the paved East Bench trail north.

A center-squeeze riding line versus a rock-garden line on the right. Right is way more fun!

Riding notes, clockwise loop:
0.0  Straight from road through gate
       N37 38.699 W113 04.894
       Left on Lichen It
0.1  Keep L (R = return route)
       N37 38.677 W113 04.811
2.8  End Lichen It, start Lava Flow
       (Pass entry to Greens Lake on L)
       N37 38.342 W113 04.626
4.7  At fork, L to TH
       N37 38.677 W113 04.811
4.8  Back at parking
Getting there:
At the southern I-15 Cedar City exit (Exit 57 to Cross Hollow Road and Highway 130), turn east onto Highway 130. Immediately turn right (south) from 130 onto Old Highway 91. Drive 0.3 miles. Watch for the sign for Southview Trailhead and turn left on Shurtz Canyon Drive. Now stay on Shurtz Canyon Drive to the trailhead and find a spot to park. The Lichen It Trail is to the east (uphill) from where you entered the parking lot. Once you're through the gate, turn left N37 38.699 W113 04.894.

Bathrooms:  None as of 2015 (gas stations 1/2 mile away)
Water:  None at trailhead
Camping:  None at trailhead (recommend Three Peaks)

One-page printable trail guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
     GPX of loop ride   Multi-track area files
Topo map for printing:    View high-res topo
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Cedar City area resources