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Thors Hideout
Cedar City North Trail System

The IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association), BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and DMBTA (Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association) have teamed up to create a large trail system in the mountains east of Cedar City. The first trails were begun in late 2015, with around 50 miles of trails planned. Thors Hideout is the first new trail of the northern section (north of Highway 14).

View south toward Cedar Mountain about a mile into the climb.
Photos and trail review ride by Bruce on March 20, 2016.

There will eventually be several developed access points for the trails. The Thors Hideout trailhead is at Thunderbird Gardens, reached via 900 North in Cedar City. There's improved fenced parking and an information board, but no water or bathroom. The trailhead altitude is 5700 feet, making the usual riding season April through early November.

The finished portion of the Thors Hideout trail is 1.7 miles with 450 feet of elevation gain. It climbs to a ridgeline in the valley behind The Red Hill.

View east from the parking area. The trail starts out as sometimes-sandy, sometimes rocky doubletrack.


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This is not a ride for young children or beginners. Overall, I'd rate this trail as appropriate for upper-intermediates. There are some rock squeeze plays, steep side-slopes, and modestly tight turns that could be too challenging for early intermediates.

Thors Hideout starts eastbound from the parking area as wide doubletrack in a dry washbottom, shared with motos and horses. Pass the entry to the new (2017) Lightning Switch singletrack. The doubletrack surface varies between loose slop and areas of chunky rock, with a modest rate of climb. This section of the trail is not going to thrill you. But keep riding.

View east up the wash, as the trail turns to the right.

After 0.3 miles of climbing in the washbottom, the combined ATV and bike trail veers to the right and climbs a wide benchcut along the contour of the hillside. At the next right-turn switchback where loose and chunky ATV track goes steeply uphill, turn "harder right" onto singletrack (mile 0.35). You'll have a nice jaunt on singletrack before briefly rejoining the ATV path at the next right turn.

Looking west out over the valley as we begin climbing the singletrack.

Just before a false summit at mile 0.5, the bike trail singletrack leaves the old ATV route again on the right. It will wind around the hill then descend gently into the valley behind The Red Hill. You'll rejoin the ATV and horse route briefly at miles 0.65 and 0.9.

Note: If you saw a map on the trailhead kiosk showing an alternate trail on the right side of the valley, that route is just sprinkler flags on the hillside at this time. If you want to see if it's finished, pause at mile 0.7 where the bike trail forks left away from the DT. Look along the ATV route after it drops into the wash and see if singletrack forks to the right about 40 feet up the wash. The future trail will rejoin at mile 0.9.

Looking downhill at a switchback turn. Note edge of rock wall supporting the outside rim. Most switchbacks have a comfortable turning radius.

After the initial climb, there will be some cruising and up-and-down riding as you head southbound into the valley between two tall hills, with The Red Hill to your right. The hills are formed by up-tilted rock layers from the Hurricane Fault (an extension of the "Wasatch Line," a weak area in the crust that forms the Wasatch Fault in the north).

Reaching the first summit, we're looking south. We'll have about a mile of up-and-down riding before the climbing gets serious again.

The slopes are covered with pinion pine and juniper mixed with sage and bitterbrush. Manzanita brush lies between the pinion on the higher slopes. The trail gets more technical as it climbs higher on the slope.

Looking down to the parking area. One car (mine). The second dark spot is the trailhead kiosk.

The trail makes multiple wash crossings. Most of these are armored with rock slab to provide a solid riding surface and resist erosion. Most switchbacks also have rock walls built up on the outside of the turn to create a stable turning platform.

Hooking around a turn as the trail dips and crosses a drainage.

At mile 1.5 you'll reach a trail fork. This is the little loop on the north side of the ridgeline. If you're doing the out-and-back, you'll simply go around this loop. So go either way.

Long ladder bridge across the main ravine, looking west.

At mile 1.7 from the trailhead, the trail hits a ridgeline in the valley behind the Red Hill. From here, the Red Hollow goes south downhill to Highway 14. For the out-and-back ride, this is your turnaround spot. Follow the little loop about 100 yards back to the downhill trail.

Getting higher on the hill. Pinion on the left, juniper on the right. Manzanita scrub on the  ground.

If you're riding the big loop route that takes you back to town, drop down Red Hollow. You'll have two options to complete the loop: the techy Red Mountain trail, or the paved Coal Creek bike trail.

For the Red Mountain ride, go a tiny bit down Highway 14 to the primitive Red Mountain trailhead. Climb Red Mountain up the wash to the top of the first ridge. As the trail circles to the west (left) on top of the ridge, fork right (north) downhill for the east path, or continue west to the next northbound trail for the somewhat easier western route. See the topo map and track files.

Looking down to Highway 14 (the arrow) from the Thor's Lookout trail above Red Hollow.

You can also use Red Hollow to drop you down to the paved Coal Creek bike trail for a return into town. The entry is just across the road from the parking area at the bottom of Red Hollow. When you hit town, go to the right along Coal Creek, then pop out at Main Street and go north a couple of blocks to 900 North and climb the gravel road back to Thunderbird Gardens trailhead.

Looking up at sandstone cliffs. It's a pretty ride.

As you stand on the ridgeline (looking south over Red Hollow), you'll notice two routes on the east (your left) side. The lower trail closes the little loop, rejoining the Thor's Hideout trail just downhill.

The right (uphill) fork climbs higher on the mountain through a few switchbacks, ending at a viewpoint. This little out-and-back trail is called Thor's Lookout.

Looking north from the future viewpoint Thor's Lookout.

Bottom Line:
Good but short ride for upper-intermediates. Pretty terrain. There are fun dips and swoops on the downhill. It's a very nice ride while you're in the area. As more trail is added to the system, it may become a destination ride.

Heading back downhill. There's a pedal-scratching squeeze between these rocks, then a plunge -- still a bit loose because it's new trail.

Riding notes from Thunderbird Gardens TH:
0.0   East through opening in fence
       N37 41.413 W113 02.591
0.3   R uphill (still DT) out of wash
        N37 41.423 W113 02.346
0.35 Hard R onto ST
        N37 41.420 W113 02.328
0.45 Rejoin DT at switchback
        N37 41.398 W113 02.321
0.5   Veer R onto ST
        N37 41.374 W113 02.365
0.55 Cross DT N37 41.351 W113 02.347
0.65 DT rejoins on R
        N37 41.327 W113 02.308
0.7   R off DT (which drops into wash)
        N37 41.291 W113 02.300
        (future trail 50 ft down DT)
0.8   Bridge across wash
0.95 Rejoin DT N37 41.151 W113 02.247
1.0   R on ST N37 41.116 W113 02.262
1.55 Fork R uphill N37 40.891 W113 02.275
        (L = unfinished future trail)
1.7   Top of ridge N37 40.867 W113 02.257
Getting there:
Thunderbird TH:  When southbound on I-15, take the first Cedar City exit (the same one you'd use to head for Three Peaks) and turn left towards the mountains. The road will make a broad turn to the south to become Main Street in Cedar City. Turn left at 900 North (it will be just as you reach the cemetery on the right-hand side). When you reach the golf course buildings, the pavement ends. Keep straight ahead onto gravel road. Pass a couple of flood-control basins, driving 1.2 miles from Main Street. Park in the fenced white-gravel trailhead area and start your ride eastbound by the trail kiosk.
Red Hollow TH: On Cedar City's Main Street, turn east (towards the mountains) on Center Street, Highway 14. As you pass The Red Hill at 1.5 miles from Main Street, turn left into primitive parking. Hug the mountain edge as you pedal toward the entrance to the canyon and begin climbing. Thor's is at the top of the Red Hollow trail.

Note on the map (2017): the trails marked as "planned" were completed later in 2016 and are ready to ride.

Camping: none
Water: none
Bathroom: none
Bike services: Cedar Cycles

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files for this trail (right-click and "Save as..."):
     Thors Hideout track   Loop w Red Mountain
     Area GPX multi-track file 
     Eastern return from Hwy 14     Western return 
High-res area trail topo for printing:   View topo map
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Cedar City area resources

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