Turtle Wall, Chuckwalla, Halfway Wash Trails
The Paradise Rim trail is a short singletrack loop right
on the border of St. George. Located in the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve, it
connects to the paved Snow Canyon Loop and to
the singletrack Beck Hill and Gila trails.
View north as Bruce cruises the Chuckwalla Trail
towards the connector that leads to the Paradise Rim and Halfway Wash
trails. Original review June 9, 2002 by Bruce.
These photos are from May 2017.
The Paradise Rim loop consists of the Paradise Rim trail on
the south and the Turtle Wall trail on the north. It's around three miles
long, plus whatever riding it took to reach the loop. Locals get to the
trail through Halfway Wash. For visitors, unless you're riding your bike
to the loop, I recommend you park at the big lot on SR-19 and take the
Chuckwalla trail to the loop.
On the Halfway Wash trail, we're midway between
Chuckwalla and the Paradise Rim trail fork, heading south.
This is a good ride for a "quickie," or a nice starting ride for
beginners. Hard-core bikers may want to hit the side trails towards the rim of
Snow Canyon, or maybe do a couple of loops. The extended trails can be reached
via Beck Hill, or by turning right at the summit of the loop. I'm describing the loop that local residents ride. They
come into the Desert Reserve from the south, connecting via the paved Snow
Canyon or Halfway Wash trails.
Heading uphill on Paradise Rim. At this point, the
trail is a cruiser. It will get a bit techy further uphill.
The Turtle Wall trail is intermediate in technical
requirement. As a climbing route, once you're up on the sandstone it's a
fairly easy aerobic climb.
The Paradise Rim side of the
loop has some advanced tech stuff uphill and down. Some of the ledge
series are extremely hard to climb. Just walk the spots that make you
The upper half of the Paradise Rim trail is mostly
ledgy slabs of slickrock. There will be some tech challenges.
Both of the connecting trails are very easy. Halfway Wash is broad and
smooth. Chuckwalla has a bit of loose rock and occasional sand, but is also
easy. The short connector between Cuckwalla and the loop drops through a
wash that has some tough sand. I rode it without difficulty, but slower
riders and skinny tires will bog down. Fortunately, it's only about 50 feet
until you're riding again.
Arriving at Paradise Rim. The view is to the west,
first Santa Clara, then Ivins..
If you're shopping for a parking spot, I'd suggest you start at
Chuckwalla, descend to the bottom, cross the wash, then climb Turtle Wall
to Paradise Rim. An alternative loop is to ride up Becks Hill trail, turn
left onto Paradise Rim, then descent Turtle Wall. Becks Hill has some sand
sections, and is an upper-intermediate route.
Looking south to the Green Valley area of St. George.
The loop is 3.3 miles in length, with about 380 vertical
feet of climbing. A strong rider can complete the loop in less than a
half-hour, assuming no stops to admire the view. The trail is open
year-round. In the summer, you'd want to ride early in the morning to
avoid the heat.
Descending on Navajo sandstone slickrock on the Turtle
I'd recommend riding counter-clockwise: Go up on the Turtle
Wall trail, then roll down the less-buff Paradise Rim trail. (Note: my
video shows the harder clockwise ride.) At the time
of my first ride, there were some side-trails off Paradise Rim. Most of
these are now blocked off to corral riders and hikers into a single path. Heading
downhill on the counterclockwise ride, it's obvious where to aim the bike.
The tiny speck on the left is Bruce, with over a mile
of cliff-hugging singletrack yet to go on Turtle Wall.
The ride along the Turtle Wall is the highlight of this
loop. Take time to admire the rock formations and appreciate the views.
This is Navajo Sandstone, same stuff as the Slickrock Trail. It erodes
differently here because the environment in which the sand was deposited
(during the Jurassic Period) was slightly different here.
Many riders will ride Turtle Wall both up and back. Not
that there's anything wrong with that.
When you arrive at the top, you'll be looking west on the edge of the
cliff. Below you is Santa Clara and Ivins. Enjoy the bench, take in the
views, and chat with the many hikers you'll encounter on the Rim.
If you choose to continue
exploring, you can head towards the edge of Snow Canyon on the Gila trail
or Scout Cave trail. The connecting trail goes north from the rim.
Almost back to the loop fork.
Please note! The Paradise Canyon Homeowners Association
does not want you to park on their private streets, under threat of
towing. This is the subdivision at the south end of the loop. Please find
a parking spot at the Chuckwalla trailhead
(on Bluff St about 1/3 mile past the light), at Royal Oaks Park, or at one
of the Snow Canyon Parkway public parking areas. You can ride your bike to
the streetside trailhead in the subdivision by turning off the Snow Canyon
paved trail at Halfway Wash.
The final drop from the sandstone down to desert
A climb up the Turtle Wall to Paradise Rim!
If the above video does not appear on your
browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking
Riding Notes, from Paradise Canyon
0.0 At curve in road, singletrack heads to fence
Cross fence, keep R as trail
merges from L
0.5 Fork, keep R (straight) to "Turtle Wall"
GPS N 37° 08.687' W 113°
0.65 Fork, keep L (R = Chuckwalla & Beck Hill)
0.75 Straight, up onto rock then L (R = Beck Hill)
0.9 Connector to wide-track, keep straight
1.2 Widetrack comes in on L, keep straight
1.6 Reach ridgetop, admire view, turn L (R = Gila Trail)
GPS N 37° 09.219' W 113°
1.8 Fork (straight = view, L downhill = trail)
1.9 Keep R, follow ridge down
2.8 Back at first fork, go R
3.3 Back at trailhead
Getting there, Chuckwalla Trailhead: Go north on Bluff Street until you're
leaving down and starting uphill. Go straight through the traffic light at
Canyon Parkway. Watch on your left for a log fence and the
"Chuckwalla Trailhead" sign. Turn into the parking area. The
trailhead is a stepover at the north end. There's another entry in the
west trailer parking area.
Facilities: Bathrooms at the Chuckwalla trailhead.
Other fun stuff: Well-used rock-climbing walls (you'll notice the
chalk) along the Chuckwalla Trail.