The Iron Springs trail system lies on the southern slope of the Three
Peaks riding area. It can be directly accessed from the Iron Springs Road
near Cedar City, or via from the Three Peaks trailhead through to the Whale
Trails. This page covers the cross-country trails on the east side of
the system: Iron Springs and M&M. For info on the downhill flow trails
to the west, see the Iron Springs DH
The trail rolls between outcops of colorful granite.
Photos and review by Bruce on August 1, 2021.
The trailhead on Iron Springs Road is at 5400 feet
elevation, with the top elevation of the system at 5850. The lower
elevations fall in clay and limestone, while the upper areas are the
colorful rough granite for which Three Peaks is known. The expected riding
season would be mid-April through November.
The trail is mostly dirt, but with frequent trips
onto rock. It often takes a practiced eye to spot the riding line on the
rock areas. If in doubt, keep straight.
The Iron Springs trailhead is located at the Iron Springs
resort. In the large gravel parking lot on the north side of the Iron
Springs Road, the trail starts right next to the road on the far east side
of the parking area. It descends through a culvert under the railroad,
spends about 100 yards in a wash-bottom, then climbs out to cross a bit of
sagebrush flat, then begins climbing the hill.
During a storm, the wash and culvert may not be safe to ride. Early
spring and day-after storm riding may find deep sticky mud in the wash.
There's a dirt road that offers a higher dryer passage over the railroad
tracks. (See box below. The route is also shown on my map below.)
Start of the trail. Note the big culvert under the
railroad tracks ahead.
Iron Springs Trail
The Iron Springs trail is 2.6 miles long. It can be used for
climbing or descending. Elevation change over the length of the trail is
400 vertical feet. It's an easy trail to ride, intermediate overall but
suitable for strong experienced beginners.
Initially, the trail is dirt ribbon among sagebrush,
juniper and pinion. This lower area is limestone soil and supports more
The trail begins to hit the intrusive igneous rock
for which Three Peaks is known.
As mentioned above, access to the trail (and getting back to
the trailhead) becomes dicey during storms. As you head up the hill on the
singletrack, note the spot where you can take a road to stay on higher
ground if the wash fills with water before your return trip.
Looking back south, an old iron mine peeks above the
Wet weather access: See the map below. From the
parking lot, start eastbound on the dirt road parallel to the paved Iron
Springs Road. Go 100 yards, then turn left on the ATV track. Cross the
railroad tracks and close the gate behind you. Take the ATV track to a
dirt road 0.2 miles from the highway and turn left on that road. Pedal 0.1
miles. (This same road reaches the climbing DT to the DH trails in another
0.3 miles.) When the singletrack crosses the road, turn right uphill.
You're now at mile 0.3 of the Iron Springs singletrack. Once you're
actually on the hill, mud is rarely a problem. The sandy dirt soaks up
storms nicely. Do this route in reverse if a storm has ambushed you while
on the hill.
At mile 1.7 from the trailhead, the lower limb of the
M&M Loop forks off the Iron Springs trail to right. (See below for information on this
trail.) It's marked only by a sign on your left identifying the Iron
Springs trail (in 2021), positioned to be seen by riders coming clockwise
on M&M. I suggest you ride past and enter the loop from
above. It's only 0.4 miles ahead.
When in doubt about what's "trail," keep
At mile 2.1 of Iron Springs, there's a marked trail fork
with M&M turning off on your right. M&M is 2.8 miles long, and a
loop around it clockwise will add 3.2 miles to your climb.
At mile 2.4 (mile 5.6 if you looped clockwise around M&M on the way
up) keep left and uphill at an unmarked trail fork. The trail
on the right drops down to a dirt road.
Note the subtle Iron Springs sign in the shrub. This
is the bottom of the M&M loop. Here we're aiming downhill (south), so
the M&M trail is to the left.
At mile 2.6 of Iron Springs (mile 5.8 of the ride if you
looped around M&M), the trail ends on the southern side of the
Petrified Whales loop. Note that if you're arriving at this spot via the Petrified
Whales trail, you may not see Iron Springs unless you know exactly where
it is. A dirt road crosses right where Iron Springs joins, and the trail
marker is well-off the Petrified Whales trail.
Climbing higher. More pretty rocks.
So if you're coming from elsewhere in the Three
Peaks riding area it's best to have a navigation app such as
Trailforks to help you find the spot to turn downhill on Iron Springs.
Signage may improve
Intersection with Petrified Whales, as seen from the
top of Iron Springs. Unfortunately, a dirt road crosses in this exact
spot, making the trail less obvious.
A jaunt around Petrified Whales, and Moby Dick, and
Humpback, and Jumbled Jonah is well worth the climb up Iron Springs. If
you're looking for a short and fun out-and-back, that would be my
On Petrified Whales heading north toward its origin
on the Three Peaks Loop.
If your destination is the top of the Iron Springs DH
trails, turn left on Petrified Whales. Pedal 0.3 miles to the Three Peaks
Loop and go left. (Take a minute here to make sure you actually got on
Three Peaks and not Four Loco. Three Peaks westbound is the middle of
three options at this trail fork.) Ride 0.7 miles on Three Peaks then turn
left on the connector trail to the DH system. In 2021, it was marked by a
trail sign in a juniper alongside the trail.
On Three Peaks, this is the spot where the connector
heads south to the top of the Iron Springs DH trails sYdwindErS and YES
The M&M trail is 2.8 miles long. It wanders among
granite outcrops between its beginning and ending on the Iron Springs
trail. Together with 0.4 miles of Iron Springs, M&M forms a loop. Most
riders start on the uphill side and do the loop clockwise.
Top of the M&M trail, seen as if descending on
Iron Springs from Petrified Whales. M&M is to the left, Iron Springs
From top to bottom, the elevation changes from 5700 to 5600
feet, but there's a lot of up-and-down riding. A full trip around the loop
(including the piece of Iron Springs) is 3.2 miles with 300 vertical feet
The trail starts out with a lot of descending, then
climbs as it turns back to the east.
The riding on the M&M loop is only slightly more
technical than the Iron Springs trail. Officially I'd rate it
intermediate, but I think a strong experienced beginner-level rider could
The markings and sight lines (seeing where the trail is going) work
best when done top to bottom -- riding the M&M loop clockwise. You're
way more likely to lose the trail temporarily if you ride up M&M from
Rolling rock on M&M. Less-skilled riders need to at least
have mastered the whole "get your butt off the bike seat" thing
to ride this without bouncing out of control or pinch-flatting the rear
Both Iron Springs and M&M cross multiple dirt roads and
ATV tracks. Keep straight when you hit roads and ATV-torn areas. Have
faith and watch for singletrack
coming up. Backtrack if you find yourself pedaling a road.
The rock areas are marked only by cairns and rock-lines. If you lose
sight of the trail, hold straight and watch for any rocks that look
"out of place." If after 30-50 feet you haven't seen the
continuing trail, go back until you see you're clearly on the trail and look
around for where you should have gone.
Section of trail straight ahead. Expect to be
suckered occasionally by washes, ATV tracks, and tracks of folks who
weren't paying attention.
Loop ride up Iron Springs and M&M, down YES Please...
If the above video does not appear on your
browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking
At the Cedar City 200 North Exit from I-15, go westbound on Highway 56.
After 4.4 miles, just as the road is turning from straight west to
southwest, turn right onto the Iron Springs Road (1740). Drive another 4.4
miles. As you see the big Iron Springs sign and flags on your left, look
for a big gravel parking lot 200 yards ahead on your right. Turn into the
parking lot and turn right to park along the eastern side. The outgoing
trail starts on a broad dirt path alongside the paved Iron Springs Road.
As soon as you pedal up onto this dirt path, immediately turn 90 degrees
left onto singletrack. Descend into the wash and go through the tunnel
under the railroad tracks. Follow the signs as the ATV path and bike trail
split. (You can take the ATV path to the left to reach the DH trail
system, or wait until Iron Springs crosses a dirt road and turn left
there. To climb the Iron Springs trail, just follow the signs.)
Water at trailhead. No public bathroom (resort, campground, and
restaurant facilities are for customers).