The official Nephi's Twist trail is a doubletrack heading up a wash
from La Verkin Creek to the Moenkopi Trail. It's about 1.5 miles long, and
has a ridiculously steep section near the upper end. If you're doing the
official ride, I'd suggest downhill only, or do it as an out-and-back from the
bottom doing only the first 0.8 mile.
View west toward the Pine Valley
Mountains. Photos and ride description December 8, 2010.
|The Nephi's Twist singletrack is an experts-only romp
along a ridgeline of Moenkopi clay. It starts on a spur off the Moenkopi
Trail and connects to Nephi's Twist DT about 0.7 miles uphill from the bottom
trailhead. The fun stuff is 3/4 mile in length. The ride can be done as a
3-mile DH with shuttle (or with a 3-mile road return), or as a 2-mile loop
(which would include a stiff climb vs push-a-bike).
View south as we head down Nephi's
||OK, here's Qualifier Number 1: I believe the singletrack is
an "unauthorized" trail. Both ends are certainly
well-hidden. You'll need to follow the directions carefully, ideally using
a GPS navigator, to find it. And understand that, if the BLM requests that the singletrack trail
information be removed, it will disappear quickly.
Qualifier Number 2: This trail is for REAL experts only.
Seriously. And if heights make you nervous, you have no business on this
trail. The path sits on a fin of Moenkopi shale, breaking away quickly on
each side with cliff-like steepness.
Heading around the south side of the
little knoll, we've found the trail.
|First, get to the top of the hill, either by riding the DT
from the bottom trailhead, or parking at the upper (Moenkopi) trailhead.
From the shooting range sign (about 150 yards from SR-9),
head north on the doubletrack. As you dip through a tiny wash, a DT forks
left. Keep right. After 1/10 mile, keep right at another fork. (These two
left forks join after 1/10 mile and plunge down to the Nephi's Twist
doubletrack trailhead. You'll be on that DT once you've ridden the ridge.)
At mile 0.4, fork left off the Moenkopi trail. Angle gently
uphill on the DT heading west. As the trail comes over a rise and turns a little to
the right, look for singletrack on your left. (The singletrack was hidden
in the brush, totally invisible.) This ST will head south to circle around
the south side of the small knoll.
We've dropped off the knoll and
entered the zone of Moenkopi clay and mudstone. The banded ridges contain
||The trail will now descend to the west. Once you hit the red
dirt, it will veer southwest, then finally south.
The narrowest parts of the ridgeline are spooky-thin. Not enough room
to walk alongside a bike. There's a good chance that, if you stop and put
a foot down, the foot will land on air and you'll tumble.
The trail is now getting serious. The
sharp ridgelines are about to get spooky. We're heading south.
|After the trail turns south, stay on the ridgetop. Two
routes will plunge off the ridge heading west -- to your right. (These connect to highly
technical alternate rides.) The ridgeline will descend south into the
bottom of a wash. Follow the wash out to doubletrack.
When you hit the doubletrack, you can turn left and head uphill for
another loop. There's a very steep section of 15% grade for 0.1 mile. For
most of us, this will be a push-a-bike.
Almost to the bottom. We'll drop into
the wash at upper right.
||For the shuttled ride or a road return, turn left (west) and
descend. Just stay in the bottom of the wash. When you hit the bottom at
La Verkin Creek, turn left and follow the paved roads south to SR-17.
After a mile on SR-17, turn left (east) on SR-9. You'll do about 600
vertical on the climb up SR-9 back to the trailhead.
On Nephi's Twist, we're heading west
back toward the bottom.
|Riding notes, ST from the top:
0.0 From the shooting range sign, head north on DT
Immediately keep R N37 13.683 W113 15.188
(L=DT to bottom)
0.2 Keep R N37 13.793 W113 15.212 (L=alternate to downhill DT)
0.4 Fork L off Moenkopi on DT N37 13.950 W113 15.222
0.7 At high point of DT, find trail on left N37 14.048 W113
(Trail will wrap around to the
south side of the small knoll)
1.1 South (L) on ridge N37 13.955 W113 15.770
(Option: steep plunge R to alternates
split at N37 13.938 W113 15.806)
1.2 Option L on ridge vs R down then L N37 13.897 W113 15.751
(Or R uphill toward alternates)
1.3 In wash bottom heading south N37 13.857 W113 15.791
|1.4 At DT, R downhill N37 13.766
(Option L uphill for loop, or
to return to upper TH)
2.0 Fork L N37 13.799 W113 15.380
2.1 L for another loop N37 13.793 W113 15.212
R to return to car at
1.5 Keep R downhill N37 13.753 W113 15.956 (L=to water tank)
1.7 Keep R downhill N37 13.744 W113 16.139
(L= to subdivision roads)
2.1 At bottom TH N37 13.893 W113 16.428, turn L
Stay L on paved roads until you
reach SR-17 at 2.9
3.9 Traffic light, L on SR-9
5.7 L into parking area
5.8 Back at car
|There are two alternate routes that fork off
about a mile into the ride (keep left to stay on the main trail). Both of
these alternates require that you pack your bike up a steep slope to get
on top again. Both are highly technical; extreme to the point of
potentially deadly. You'll encounter ribbons of trail on top of
knife-blade ridges, with the slope breaking away so quickly that there's
no place to put a foot down. On these ridges, there will be sudden plunges
and steep climbs. There is no Stop when you get nervous. There is no Be
careful. There's only Ride it or get injured.
Fin on the northernmost alternate
route. I strongly suggest you Don't Go There.
||Getting there: From I-15, take either the
Toquerville (if southbound) or Hurricane (if coming up from St George)
exits. Go to La Verkin. At the traffic light where Highway 9 meets Highway
17, head east (toward Zion National Park). Exactly 1.7 miles after
the light, you'll crest the top of the bluff. Immediately look for the
dirt road on the left. Drive 0.1 mile to a broad dirt area. (In 12/10,
there was a shooting club sign.) Park here, N37 13.663 W113 15.145.
The trail is the dirt doubletrack heading straight north (on the left
side of the parking area).
|Bottom trailhead: Heading south after passing
through Toquerville, SR-17 descends toward La Verkin Creek. Turn into the Trail Ridge subdivision (currently just a bunch of
roads in 2010). Keep left along
the river until you hit dirt road. Park there. The Nephi's Twist trailhead
is on the right, about 100 feet from the pavement's end.
|Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide: View
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
datum WGS 84
Wider-area topo map for printing: View
Lodging, camping, shops: Links to St.
George area resources
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