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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 VRRT.

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 this spot.

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 most popular of these shorter rides is the climb from the west end of Navajo Lake to Navajo Peak. This ride also uses a bit of the popular Navajo Lake Loop trail.

Descending through long-leaf pine.

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 lines.

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 lakes.

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 browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

The eastern 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.

Rolling across the top of the mountain.