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View of the trail, looking southeast. Pioneer Rim Trail
(Plus Pioneer Park mini-trail)

"Pioneer Park" is used to refer to two trails: Pioneer Rim, an advanced-technical trail skirting the cliff-edge above Pioneer Park, and a short trail within Pioneer Park itself that features a beginner's taste of slickrock.

View east as the morning sun hits the bluff. The trail is mostly slickrock, but the brush that grows in every crack gives the impression that it's soil! April 5, 2000.

Pioneer Park is located in the red cliffs on the north side of St. George. Kids love to explore the trails between red hoodoos, and there's some easy slickrock to try your beginning biker skills. Our map shows a short loop within the park that climbs onto a slickrock shelf, heads west, then returns via a slot between hoodoos to the starting point.

The Pioneer Rim trail does NOT start in Pioneer Park. It goes above it. You can get to the trail from the Snow Canyon Parkway about 1/3 mile northwest of the last gravel parking area in Pioneer Park. Or you can climb up a dirt doubletrack to intersect the trail right in the middle. Or, you can drive to the parking lot at top of the hill on the parkway and try to find your way south to the trail.

(Note spring 2008 - Route is messed up due to powerline construction. You're welcome to blunder your way down to the trail using our map or GPS track files, but I'm not going to waste time explaining how to get there, because it will probably all change within the next year!)

A prickly pear cactus blooms along the trail.

Prickly pear blossom

For now, I suggest you ride up along the road and look for the trail on your right. When you see it, climb over the fence and hop aboard heading east. The trail begins as a dirt single-track. It climbs east onto slickrock, and hugs the junction between the sagebrush of the mesa and the cliffs along St. George's north border. Occasionally, the trail can be a little tough to follow, but if you just keep heading straight east on the slickrock near the mesa's border, you'll pick it up again quickly.
The Doc on Banana Thunder The ride is about 90% slickrock, two miles each way. After crossing a small 4-wheeler road above Pioneer Park, the rock becomes more technical, and much more fun. About 1/2 mile later, you'll come to a turtle-fence. There's a little loop here (might be hard to spot if it's your first time). Most bikers use this as a turn-around spot, but you can continue east another 1/3 mile to connect with Industrial Drive if you want.

Bruce Argyle accelerates for the next rock ramp. We'd rate the trail an advanced intermediate. Photo May 5, 2000 by Diane Argyle.

If you have time (and it's not too hot), you can hit the Bluff Street Cliffs (Owen's) trail, which starts on the west side of the Snow Canyon Parkway as it turns north and begins to go uphill. This has some excellent technical rock, a bit more challenging than the Pioneer Rim.

The trail is located in a desert tortoise protection area. Here an 18-inch mojave tortoise craws out into the morning sunshine to warm up. May 5, 2000 by Bruce Argyle.

Mojave Tortoise

Handle-bar view of the trail. Watch where you're putting your tires. We don't particularly care if you break your clavicle or leave some skin on the rock, but don't hurt our pet tortoise! The bump (right in the middle of the trail) in this picture is a tortoise.

Handle-bar view of the trail, with one of the local residents out for a morning stroll.

The park itself is a good place for your beginning bikers to play, and for the non-bikers to explore fun trails among the many sandstone canyons. Newbies will NOT enjoy the Pioneer Rim trail -- reserve this ride for advanced or upper-intermediate riders.

Jessie, Alex, Diane, and Kristen rode the one-way paved picnic loop, then explored the many dirt trails leading up into the cliffs. May 5, 2000.

A great looking family

Moonflower Getting there: From St. George Blvd (the main drag), head north on Main Street (towards the "Dixie" painted on the big rock above the cliffs). When you reach Hope Street, turn right, then immediately take the left fork and climb Skyline Drive to the top of the cliffs. Turn left on Snow Canyon Parkway (labeled Skyline Drive on some city maps, and called Turtle Road by many locals). 1/2 mile up from the intersection, find a singletrack trail heading off to your right at GPS N 37 07.261'  W 113 35.011'.

Moonflower (Southwestern Thornapple) blossoms in the morning sunshine.

To ride this trail, you should follow small rockpiles (cairns) and watch for tire marks. The trail generally countours the space between sage and cliff-edge on slickrock. Connecting to the trail from the parking lot at the top of the hill can be confusing (2008, recent powerline construction). The most certain way to find it is by spotting the trail on the right side of the road at its western end and crawling over the fence.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files Pioneer Rim (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin      GPX
Track file for Pioneer Park easy loop only:
   Garmin      GPX
High-res topo of Owens and City Creek (500 KB):  View
Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

Original ride 2000. Updated 2008.
Copyright 2008 Mad Scientist Software Inc