Virgin River Rim Trail
(Strawberry Point, Pink Cliffs, Navajo Peak, Woods Ranch)
The Virgin River Rim Trail (VRRT) is a high-altitude alpine
singletrack, skirting the edge of Utah's high southern plateau. The trail
offers excellent forested singletrack riding and some awesome views. The trail melts out in mid-June, with a return of snow in mid-October.
The VRRT is long and tough, so most
riders ride only a piece of this trail. See the pages for the Navajo
Peak and Pink Cliffs sections of the
Looking toward the Pink Cliff area, we're at 9000 feet. To the south,
the land breaks away towards Zion Canyon, sloping down to below 3000 feet
elevation. Original review July 2001 by Bruce Argyle.
Latest update August 2018.
For those who have strength, stamina, and are acclimatized to high
altitude, you can ride the entire trail as a point-to-point with shuttle.
Allow at least 7 hours -- 10 hours allows for photos, rest stops, and an
unhurried lunch. You'll do 32.5 miles, with over 4200 vertical feet of
climbing, at an average elevation of 9300 feet.
The ride's highest point is 9800 feet at Navajo Peak; lowest is 8200 at Woods
Ranch on the western end. The longest steep
single climb is 600 feet in 1.5 miles.
Bruce starts the Virgin Rim trail from the eastern
end near Strawberry Point. There's room for two -- maybe three -- cars at
In addition to the end points, the Virgin River Rim trail can be reached by
car where it crosses the Strawberry Point road, at Lars Fork, and at Cascade Falls,
Navajo Lake, and Webster Flat. These connections allow for shorter out-and-back
ride options and loop rides.
The trail winds through forests of pine, fir, and aspen as it climbs to the
ridgeline. Here, you're on the southern edge of the Utah's massive high plateau
country, looking into the valleys 6000 feet below as they break downhill towards
Zion National Park. The Navajo Lake and Strawberry Point sections of the trail
let you admire these views, while the west (Te-ah campground to Woods Ranch) section
is wooded and virtually view-free.
Chad looks down into the salmon-pink
rock of the Pink Cliffs in this 2001 photo.
The trail is fairly well-maintained
considering its remoteness. There are trail markers at most trail
and road intersections, but it's possible to get lost after the trail
temporarily joins a dirt road if you aren't paying attention.
Much of the understory is sparse, allowing good sight
The trail base is mostly hard-pack dirt, but there are a lot of
rough rocky sections. Plan for a few stiff-but-short climbs on loose rock
that you'll probably hike-a-bike. And although the trail is designated
non-motorized, you'll find a few spots where gas-heads have poached it and
churned up the rocks for you. The eastern end (Strawberry Point to Pink Cliffs)
seemed to have the toughest trail surface during my rides.
Cruising past the cliffs in this 2017 drone shot.
One of the ride's highlights is the view of the Pink Cliffs, an eroded rock
formation similar to Bryce Canyon. The pink and orange rock is soft limestone
from the Tertiary Period, called the Claron Formation. This limestone formed in
a large fresh-water lake about 40 million years ago. During this era,
the uintatherium and giant sloth lived in Utah in warm thick forest among many
Mike stands at the cliff edge in 2001, 6 miles
into the ride.
Virgin River Rim Trail - Pink Cliffs section loop ride
If the above video does not appear on your
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side is by
far the toughest half of the ride, but it's also the most scenic. This section
includes the amazing Pink Cliffs (definitely a big photo op!). And at Navajo Peak,
you reach the ride's peak altitude of 9800 feet. If you do ANY
part of the Virgin River Rim, you should do the eastern half.