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Suicidal Tendencies

The Suicidal Tendencies trail opened in February 2013. It's a fun addition to the Sidewinder trail, but this is not a "cruiser" trail. It's advanced technical and moderately strenuous.

View looking east on Suicidal Tendencies, on the first long traverse after dropping off the cliff from Sidewinder. The switchbacks in the center of the photo are so tight they don't even show up on the map. Photos and ride description by Bruce from rides on 2/17 and 2/28/13.

General Information:
Suicidal Tendencies itself is a lollipop ride 5.5 miles in length. To get there, you need to ride Precipice (or the first part of Barrel Roll clockwise) and Sidewinder. It's 2.4 miles from the trailhead to the start of Suicidal Tendencies. So the minimum ride, out and back, is 10.3 miles round trip. There will be 1450 vertical feet of climbing on the out-and-back ride. The ride's highlight is the widest view of any trail in the St. George area.

Heading uphill on Precipice. The mesa on the skyline left is our destination. We'll climb to the top of the mesa on skyline right via Sidewinder before crossing the valley between them.

Some good ride combinations are:
(1) Up and back. 10.3 miles.
(2) Figure 8. Up via Barrel Roll to Sidewinder, but on the return trip drop down Precipice. 10.4 miles.
(3) Plus Barrel. As you ride clockwise on Barrel Roll, take a side trip up Sidewinder to Suicidal Tendencies, then continue the Barrel Roll loop clockwise. 15.1 miles.
(4) Plus the bottom. Start from the pavement in Santa Clara and ride the singletrack to the trailhead. Add 2.2 miles and 300 vertical.

We've reached the saddle where Precipice joins Sidewinder. The trail on the hill is Barrel Roll. The town is Ivins. To the left are the red cliffs above Kayenta; to the right are the Pine Valley Mountains.

This trail is for expert riders. Advanced intermediates can ride most of it but will have to walk through many spots. As you might expect, the tricky stuff is the trip down into and back up from the wash. There are very tight switchbacks with cliff exposure. The side-slope along the trail is very steep with encroaching rocks. It's a setup for a handlebar bump or a pedal-bang to send you tumbling. There are a couple of large tilted rock slabs you must ride over as you pray your tread holds.

We're climbing uphill on Sidewinder. It's mostly steady uphill cruising with a few techy rocks.

The Suicidal Tendencies trail descends from the south side of the loop at the top of Sidewinder. As it reaches the cliff edge, it plunges steeply down the rocks at first. Then it meanders as it hugs the mountainside before dropping through switchbacks to the valley below. Then it climbs through more switchbacks to the mesa south of Sidewinder.

Near the top of Sidewinder, we're seeing the Suicidal Tendencies trail on the mesa to the south. It's not as big a climb as it looks -- with the exception of the switchbacks themselves, it's actually pretty mellow climbing but it requires a bit of finesse. 

At the top of the mesa is a 2.5-mile loop. There are frequent turns as the trail climbs back and forth along the mesa edge. The mesa loop itself will add another 300 vertical feet of climbing. The trail on the mesa is intermediate tech, but some of the turns are tighter than they need to be. These will wear in as time passes. The tightness of the turns slows the downhill part of the loop.

Near the top of Sidewinder, a rider returns on the Suicidal Tendencies Trail. The trail across the valley is our destination.

Ride Description:
Start your ride either from the pavement in Santa Clara, or from the Barrel Roll trailhead.

To pedal to the trailhead, find the singletrack in Santa Clara on the left (uphill) side of the paved road, 100 feet past the beginning of the Stucki Springs dirt road. Climb the ST about a mile until it hits the road at a fence. Turn left on the road and ride another 0.2 miles to the log fence at the trailhead. This adds 1.1 miles each way and 300 feet of climbing.

Initial drop-in as seen from the first switchback. Loose and steep, with a very tight turn (above a significant drop) at the bottom. I didn't see a single continuous tire track. Everybody was walking the turn at the bottom. So did I.

At the stepover gate in the parking corral, go straight west on the main trail past the kiosk. For the out-and-back on Sidewinder, keep left at the first trail fork.

Alternate: the climb up Barrel Roll is less technical (although if that's a consideration, you probably aren't the sort of rider who belongs on Suicidal Tendencies). To get there via Barrel Roll, keep right at the first fork after the trailhead, then veer left at the second to start Barrel Roll clockwise. You'll find a fork on your left to connect to Sidewinder in 1 mile.

Descending gently on the traverse below the cliff. In the midground is Green Valley below Black Hill (the hill with the "D" on the other side and the old airport on top).

At the saddle on the ridge, veer left at the trail fork. (The right fork goes 50 feet to meet Barrel Roll. If you're going to finish your ride with the Barrel Roll loop, that's where you'll go as you return from Suicidal Tendencies.) You're now on the Sidewinder Trail.

Approaching the set of switchbacks that will drop us to the valley.

Climb 1.2 miles uphill on Sidewinder. On your left, you'll notice trail cut into the mesa south of you. That's where you'll be in a few minutes. You'll reach a trail fork at mile 2.2 from the trailhead. This is the little loop at the top (the snake's head). Keep left. After turning left to drop a steep spot, the trail turns right and crosses a flattish spot. Just before the trail veers left again, watch for trail on your left, heading straight toward the cliff. (There's no sign as of 2/13. The trail isn't well-worn, so it's invisible after a rain.)

In the valley, the trail winds between boulders. Good stuff here. You can finally let it loose.

After about 100 feet, the trail switchbacks to the right to begin the cliff plunge. Look carefully at the next switchback. It's super tight, with a drop-off on the edge. And you're going to slide down a steep rock ramp covered with loose dirt to get there. If you have any doubt about your ability to control the bike as you hit the switchback, start walking NOW.

We're facing east, climbing up to the mesa. Most of the tech challenges here look harder than they actually are. Good bike-handling gets you through the spooky spots.

At this time, many of the switchbacks are very tight. The lines haven't been worn in yet. Descending, as you try to pull uphill at the top, there's loose stuff and pedal-bangers. And there's loose stuff at the bottom that slides or hangs you up as you try to finish the turn. Judging from the footprints in the dirt, just about everybody is walking around the turn before they resume riding. And as you hit them coming back uphill, they're too loose, too steep, and too tight to climb.

On my second pass, I rolled a couple of turns that I was too chicken to ride the first time. Not pretty. It was butt over the rear wheel spooky.

Looking back as we reach the cliff edge. The trail lies on tilted rock ledges covered with soft loose dirt.

From the first set of switchbacks, the trail makes a long traverse back to the east. The overall slope is gently downward, but there are occasional short sharp drops. There are tight squeezes between rocks, and occasional up-and-overs. Now a set of short switchbacks drops you to the bottom of the mesa.

Descending into the valley between Sidewinder and Suicidal Tendencies.

The trail crosses the broad area between mesas on winding singletrack with occasional squeezes between the many large boulders. Fun, but not exactly cruising.

Now the trail begins the climb up the southern mesa. Overall, the slope is quite gentle. But the uphill turns are untamed beasts.

We're just getting started with the mesa loop. To the north, we can see the Sidewinder trail loop.

The trail undulates with occasional tight spots. Watch your pedals and keep your line clean. There are two large tilted rock slabs on this trail section that scream "Slide to your death, spandex-boy!" But if you hit them with speed and hold your line, your tires should hold.

View to the southeast. (1) Green Valley, (2) the top of the Green Valley racecourse, (3) the Stucki Springs Trail, and (4) the Bearclaw Poppy trail ends at Bloomington.

At the cliff line is another steepish rock ramp coated with loose dirt. It follows a narrow turn with a "don't fall" rock on your left. Chances are, you won't carry enough speed through that turn to make it uphill. If you want to clean it, back up and try again. The penalty for falling will be high.

On top of the hill, Bruce navigates through Chinarump boulders while riding the loop clockwise. On the mesa, things get greener, with stands of juniper and gooseberry bushes alternating with sage and Brigham tea.

Once you're on top of the mesa, you'll be delighted to find that the trail continues to climb. About 1/10 mile after reaching the top, you'll come to the trail fork that starts the loop. I rode the loop clockwise, and the three other riders I saw were all going that same way.

View north. (1) Ivins, (2) the entry to Snow Canyon, (3) the community of Winchester Hills and the Navajo Sandstone above it, and (4) the volcanic Pine Valley Mountains.

The trail winds back and forth as it climbs the tilted mesa, heading generally westbound. Stop at the top and take in the views. To the south are the White Hills. You can see the Stucki Springs Trail, the escarpment of the Green Valley Raceway (2nd mesa over), Bloomington Hill, and Bloomington. To the west, Utah Hill leads Old Highway 91 into Nevada. To the north is the town of Ivins, the red cliffs below Snow Canyon, Winchester Hills and the Pine Valley Mountains.

As we descend the north side of the loop, we're looking east toward St. George. We can see all the way to the mountains on the northeast corner of Zion National Park.

The views will change as you return on the downhill half of the loop. Now you're looking toward Santa Clara, St. George, and Green Valley. 

Complete the loop and start your return trip. The drop-in from the cliff is spooky. See the rock at the turn at the bottom? That's to keep you from sliding right off the cliff -- or so one hopes. Intermediates, walk your bikes.

Descending the mesa.

Many of the switchbacks that couldn't be ridden uphill can now be (carefully) rolled downhill. The trail has a very different character in the reverse direction.

Cross the valley and start up the other side. Once again, there will be switchbacks you can't ride as you hit them in the uphill direction. As you reach Sidewinder, turn left to complete the loop, then turn left to descend.

Climbing back toward Sidewinder.

Bottom Line:
Great ride. For experts or tough upper-intermediates. Already one of the more popular rides in the St. George area.

Handlebar view as we rock and roll down from the Sidewinder mesa. 


 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Riding notes, out-and-back using Precipice:
0.0  West from TH on combined trail
        N37 07.255 W113 40.513
        Keep L to Precipice
        N37 07.257 W113 40.537
        (R = Barrel Roll)
0.9   Keep L to Sidewinder
        N37 07.387 W113 41.153
        (R = connect to Barrel Roll)
2.2   Straight (L) on Sidewinder loop
        N37 07.335 W113 41.786
2.4   L off cliff on Suicidal Tendencies
        N37 07.303 W113 41.894
2.8   Cross wash, climb next mesa
3.9   L to enter loop
        N37 07.094 W113 41.952
6.3   Back at start of loop, keep L
7.8   Sidewinder, go L to finish loop
        N37 07.303 W113 41.894
8.0   L to descend
        N37 07.335 W113 41.786
9.3   R to Precipice
        N37 07.387 W113 41.153
      (Alternate: left onto Barrel Roll,
      5 miles around loop to TH = 15 mi)
10.3 Back at TH
Getting there:  In St. George, head north on Bluff Street and turn left on Sunset Blvd. Drive 3 miles west on Sunset through Santa Clara. As you're reaching the end of Santa Clara, look for a road crossing the river on your left. It's about 200 feet before the Jacob Hamblin Home (which will be on your right if you pass the turn). Turn and cross the river and follow the road as it turns right. About 0.4 miles from Hwy 191, turn left onto the dirt Stucki Springs road as it climbs steeply south. At mile 0.7, turn right at the sign "Santa Clara Preserve" or "Cove Wash Trailhead." Pass the water tank, and at mile 1.3, turn right again through the fence. This road will veer left to a log-fence parking area at mile 1.5, N37 07.253 W113 40.508.
There's a singletrack trail you can ride from the valley to the trailhead. After crossing the river and following the road as it turns right, pass the dirt Stucki Springs road. About 100 feet past the road, a doubletrack heads obliquely westward uphill on the left, turning quickly into singletrack heading up along the wash. at about 1/3 mile, keep R at the fork (L rejoins the road). The trail will climb up and west of the water tank, then join the road right at the fence of the preserve.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX ride as above     Suicidal Tendencies Only
   Short figure-8 with Barrel Roll
   Area multi-track file   St. George area trails
    Connecting via Green Valley (5 options): GPX
     Map datum WGS 84
St.George southwest, interactive map:  Load 
High-res topo for printing:   View full area topo    Smaller area
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to St. George area resources
High-res Satellite View for printing:      View in new window

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