||Cholla Challenge Loop
(Northern Warner Valley)
This 10.8-mile loop is located in Warner Valley, south of
Hurricane and east of St. George. A shorter 7.5 mile loop shortcuts for a
shorter but more technical ride. The trail is intermediate-technical,
with a couple of short advanced sections. At an altitude of 3600 feet, this area is only marginally
cooler than St. George. In mid-summer, we recommend an early morning start
time. Note: From 2004 to 2009, the loop has changed each year, and may
change again depending on conditions.
Eight-year old Justin Griffin on
the way to his 2nd-place finish at the 2004 Cholla Challenge race. Photo Jay
Griffin, March 27, 2004.
|The Cholla loop is a fast ride. A conditioned rider can hammer this loop in
under an hour. There's about 500 feet of climbing in the loop, most of it
in a single chunk around mile 1. There's a lot of variety -- a couple of
sand pits, in-and-out of washes, slickrock, twisty desert riding, and
wide-open flat cranking.
The trailhead area allows on-site primitive camping. There's no water or plumbing.
It's bring-yer-own and pack it back out.
races through a slickrock section at the northern end of the loop. Photo by Jay Griffin, March
||About 3/4 mile into the loop, you'll climb up onto a
slickrock section. It's not too technical, and not too long. Just a taste
of open-rock riding. Dropping off the slickrock, you face a 300-vertical climb
over the next mile.
Chad hammers into a turn on his
singlespeed in the 2006 Cholla Challenge.
From the race's high point, you'll drop abruptly down a
doubletrack to the valley floor. If four-wheelers have chewed up the
track, it'll be a bumpy white-knuckle descent. On race-day, riders will
have knocked most of the rocks off the trail, so it's not too tricky.
In April 2006, Suzie zips through the
course to score some points for the UtahMountainBiking team.
||Next comes a couple of miles of twisting up-and-down
singletrack. I think this is the highlight of the entire loop (but there's
plenty of other stuff to like). After crossing the main road, you'll crank
to the southeast end of the valley, where you'll climb up a bit, then
plunge into the wash for a high-speed cruise downhill between the high red
walls. After riding north along the red cliffs, you'll cross the valley
again before cranking back to the starting point.
Near the southeastern corner, Julie cruises away from the rust-colored
cliffs to snag a top-5 finish in her race category.
|Cholla 2006 Loop Riding Notes:
0.0 Go north on DT over the levee
N 37° 03.467' W 113°
0.25 Veer L onto ST in small wash
N 37° 03.651' W 113°
0.70 Fork R towards slickrock
N 37° 03.350' W 113°
2.2 At ridgetop, L on DT
N 37° 03.024' W 113°
Begin descent that gets
2.8 At bottom of hill, fork R out of wash
3.6 R on DT
3.8 Cross main westbound gravel road
N 37° 02.197' W 113°
DT for 100 yards, then R
4.2 Back to main road, go through cattle grate
N 37° 001.920' W 113°
100 yards, then veer onto
ST on L
100 yards, then turn L on
4.8 Veer R onto ST
N 37° 01.616' W 113°
5.4 Cross wash, then L on DT
N 37° 01.205' W 113°
|5.8 Cross main southbound
N 37° 01.114' W 113°
6.1 Sharp R (downhill) on DT
N 37° 01.049' W 113°
6.2 L on DT which becomes ST
N 37° 00.961' W 113°
6.6 R uphill on DT
N 37° 01.075' W 113°
6.9 DT becomes ST, drop into wash!
8.2 L on main gravel road
N 37° 01.766' W 113°
8.45 L off main road on DT
N 37° 01.979' W 113°
8.8 R at N 37° 02.054' W 113° 18.702'
8.9 Fork R onto ST
N 37° 02.088' W 113°
9.55 Cross main westbound road
N 37° 02.555' W 113°
10.2 Cross DT turnaround, keep straight
N 37° 03.113' W 113°
10.5 Fork R on DT
N 37° 03.319' W 113°
10.8 Back at start
|Getting there (Southbound, through Hurricane = recommended route): Get off I-15 at the
Verkin exit and head south to Hurricane. Turn south at the Chevron Station in
Hurricane (700 West). Go south 2 miles and turn right at 2060 South. (If you
arrive at a T-intersection, with a right turn going into the airport, you went
too far.) Follow the road west of the airport and past the Sky Ranch to end of the
pavement at a cattleguard. (About 6 miles, GPS N 37° 05.425' W 113° 18.696'.)
Keep straight on the biggest and leftmost of 3 roads that fork after the
cattleguard. Continue another
2.2 miles on gravel to a junction at GPS N 37° 03.501' W 113° 18.375' and turn right.
Just 100 yards later, turn right onto a small doubletrack. After another 100
yards note a doubletrack going right across a catch-basin levee. That's the
trail. Park here, GPS N 37° 03.467' W 113° 18.547.
Vince Bria fights to stay ahead while
fellow UMB team member
Jolene Nosack closes in. April 1, 2006.
||Getting there (East from St. George,
scenic route): Head south on River Road in St.
George. (River Road is reached by turning left at the St. George Blvd exit
from I-15, then right at the light. Or from the Bluff Street exit, turn left
and drive about 1/2 mile on Riverside Dr, turning right at the light where
it intersects River Road.) Immediately after crossing the Virgin River, at
1450 South on River Road, turn left (east). About 2 miles later, the road
turns 90 degrees right onto 3000 East. Turn left again immediately (there
should be a "Warner Valley" sign here, but it's missing - summer
2001). Heading east towards Warner Valley, the road will turn 90 degrees
right, then left, then right again to head south. At mile 5.4 from River
Road, turn left on the gravel Warner Valley Road. Zero your odometer here!
From this turn drive eastward over the ridge. At mile 5.4 on the dirt Warner
Valley Road, keep straight. At 5.8, keep straight (R goes to Ft. Pierce). At
mile 7.3, turn right at GPS N 37° 00.832' W 113° 22.632' (straight takes you
to the dino tracks). Drive about 5 more miles, until your road ends on another
large gravel road. Turn around and backtrack 100 yards, veering left onto
the first doubletrack and find the trail as above.
Note: Map at left is "Classic" (2004-2006)
2007 Cholla Challenge Race Route, 12
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