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The Prospector Trail is a delightful desert romp near red cliffs of Navajo Sandstone. The trail begins near Leeds, about 15 miles north of St. George, and continues to Washington. The trail is in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The Prospector Trail itself is 6 miles long, but you'll need to add on a few miles to get back to civilization, one of four ways. The trail is an easier-intermediate technical. There's about 300 feet of altitude change, but the up-and-down raises the total climbing to around 600 vertical feet.
|Option 1, add Silver Reef: Many riders begin
this ride, not at the start of Prospector, but at Silver Reef. In the
gravel parking area just south of the Wells Fargo building, you'll see an
ATV trail heading southwest, N 37° 15.142' W 113° 22.028'. This will
take you to the campground at Red Cliffs 3 miles later. From here, head
down the road to the singletrack trailhead.
Option 2, loopy out-and-back: My favorite! Begin at the north end of Prospector. When you hit the Church Rocks loop, ride around it. Head back on Prospector to your car. This makes for a great 16-mile ride! On the way back, about 2/3 mile before the trailhead, you'll notice a fork you didn't see on the way out. Left goes to the trailhead, right drops down between rock layers in the reef, reaching the road about 1/3 mile downhill.
Option 3, Washington routes A-C: When you hit the wash at the southern corner of the Church Rocks Loop, you have three options to get into Washington for a point-to-point ride. A. Go down the wash and through the tunnel under the freeway. Really. Jog downhill a bit, then climb up the mesa to your left. Follow the gravel road to pavement on Telegraph Road. B. Go a tiny distance up the wash, and find the Grapevine Trail heading up over the hill. Keep left past two trails. At the border of the Reserve, catch the doubletrack down to Buena Vista Blvd. C. Start out as in (B), but at the second fork, go right up the Grapevine Trail, then left on the Dino Tracks Trail. When you reach the water tank, drop down the dirt road to Buena Vista.
|Beware of the trail intersection at mile 2.5, N 37° 11.258' W 113° 25.429'. There's a trail heading up Cottonwood Canyon that looks like the right way. Instead, head uphill and south to the top of the ridge. Envision the continuing trail being on top of the ridge, about 30 degrees to your right as you approach the intersection, and about 100 yards away. At the top, turn right on doubletrack, then left again onto singletrack after about 100 yards at N 37° 11.202' W 113° 25.457'.|
|Getting there: Take the Leeds exit from I-15.
If you're going southbound, drive through Leeds to reach the northbound
I-15 Leeds exit. Go south from the southbound I-15 exit 1.8 miles. Turn
left on a narrow paved road and go under the freeway. At mile 2.4 (about
from the turn), there's a trailhead on the left side of the road, with a
tiny pullout. GPS N
37° 12.574' W 113° 24.078'. Lift your bike over the step-over to the
Cottonwood trailhead: 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 left at the traffic light in 0.7 miles on Old Highway 91. Now go exactly 2 miles north. Watch on your left for a gravel road that enters a tiny single-lane slot under the freeway, with a sign that says "Cottonwood Trailhead".
Copyright 2007 Mad Scientist Software Inc Use this trail guide at your own risk.