Place store identification
Church Rocks Loop Trail
An advanced-intermediate trail just north of Washington (about 10 miles north of St. George), this loop is 3.1 miles of 90% slickrock. Little elevation change (about 150 feet). With the connector road and the spooky ride through the "haunted I-15 pipe", it's about 8.2 miles if you ride the loop only once. This is the Classic Church Rocks ride. A more popular option now is to ride the Prospector Trail from the Cottonwood Trailhead to reach this loop.
The ride starts at Heritage Park in Coral Canyon. On your bike, head north uphill on Grasslands (toward the freeway). Find the cement trail on your right, just before the road turns left and becomes North Bend Drive. Keep straight as you pass two paved trails that fork off. The paved trail will take you to the top of the water tank hill (Black Ridge). Pass the tank about 100 yards and find a dirt road crossing the hill, then turning right and descending to the freeway. Right at the western corner of the ridge as it bumps against the freeway is the underground path to the slickrock. See where the single-track dives down through the trees? Drop into the wash and head straight into the round drainpipe that goes under the freeway. Insane? You bet.
|After exiting the drainpipe (hopefully, with all your skin intact), walk
your bike through deep sand and volcanic rock until the trail climbs out of the wash on
your left. When the trail crosses over to the right side of the wash, immediately fork
left and follow the trail up onto the slickrock. Watch carefully for stacked rocks and old
painted dashes on the rock. The trail can be a bit hard to follow the first time. In
general, remember you're climbing to the top of the slickrock and heading east into the
The trail follows the break between the sagebrush of the mesa and the slickrock cliffs. This area isn't hard to navigate -- you just aim your bike east and follow the edge of the rock.
The trail descends to the bottom of the cliffs near Church Rocks -- the domes you see rising up to the east. The trail turns immediately back west and winds through exposed rock and singletrack back to the wash. As you turn on the rock above a small canyon, you'll see a fork in the trail. Right stays level and goes to the right of the canyon.
Once you're on open rock, look for the painted dash on the rock that marks the trail BACK up onto the mesa for a second loop. (The location of this junction is GPS N 37° 09.700' W 113° 28.372'.) The left fork takes you into the botton of the canyon and back to the wash near the freeway.
|Getting there: Take the UT-9 exit from I-15
(highway 9 goes to Hurricane, Zion Canyon, Grand Canyon) about 15 miles north of St.
George. Turn towards Hurricane, but immediately turn right in 0.2 miles onto Coral
Canyon Blvd. (If you pass the golf course, you missed it.) Go south
through the roundabout and continue 0.6 miles, then right on Territory
Canyon Drive. Immediately turn left on Grasslands Parkway. Heritage Park
is 0.1 miles. Find a spot to park. On your bike,
head north uphill on Grasslands (toward the freeway). Find the cement
trail on your right, just before the road turns left and becomes North
Trail layout may change without notice. Use this trail guide at your own risk.