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Quarry Trail

The official Temple Quarry Trail runs from the St. George airport to the western side of Black Hill. At the spot where the pioneers quarried volcanic basalt for the foundation and basement of the temple, it turns around for a nice, easy 2.5 mile ride with almost no elevation change and no technical stuff. Then, if you're crazy enough, there's the 2-mile add-on of trials-level technical, heading to the north end of the mesa.

View along the trail, heading southwest. The black boulders that give Black Hill its name are volcanic basalt. Photos June 21, 2002 by Bruce.

The official trail is a nice easy ride for beginners. It even makes a nice hike with the kiddies, if you can't put wheels under them. At the end of the trail, you can still see the drill-marks where the pioneers split rock. The trail is the original wagon-track built to haul out the rock. Each slab was 10 feet long, 42 inches wide, and 13 inches high, weighing 5500 pounds.

Drill-marks show where this large chunk of basalt was split from the slab that was hauled down the mountain.

You'll enjoy views over Green Valley to the south, then the cliffs of Snow Canyon to the north. The trail hugs a hillside of giant basalt boulders, broken off from the volcanic cap of the mountain. The cap was deposited when a lake of lava flowed over what is now Black Hill when it was still attached to higher ground.

Diane (right), shown here with (L to R) children Alex, Kristen, and Jessica hiked to the quarry, where her great-great-grandfather worked the rock.

At the end of the wagon turn-around loop, you'll see steps going down to a narrow singletrack trail. Go have some fun. This trail is tricky, bordering on vicious. The typical advanced rider will make it about 100 feet at a time before taking a dab or pushing through an obstacle. Many turns require hopping up onto rocks, doing a nose-wheelie, or both.
About 0.8 mile past the quarry, the "buffed" trail peters out. To continue, follow the faint trail down to the flood-catch ditch, head north, and see if you can climb the loose rock up into the notch in the mesa. If you can make it, the trail continues up to the tippy top, at 2 miles past the Quarry.

Trail view of a "buffed" section of the continuing trail beyond the quarry.

Getting there:  From the St. George Avenue Exit, drive straight west. When you hit Bluff Street, go across to climb Airport Road up Black Hill. At the first intersection, turn right, then left, then right into a gravel parking area. The airport is just beginning, across the road from the trailhead. The trailhead is at the northern end of the parking area, GPS N 37 06.180' W 113 35.770'.

Riding resources:
One-page riding guide
Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc