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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.

Bruce races through a slickrock section at the northern end of the loop. Photo by Jay Griffin, March 27, 2004.

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 18.547'
0.25  Veer L onto ST in small wash
         N 37 03.651' W 113 18.533'
0.70  Fork R towards slickrock
         N 37 03.350' W 113 18.787'  Alt=3700'
2.2    At ridgetop, L on DT
         N 37 03.024' W 113 19.509' Alt=4000'
         Begin descent that gets uglier
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 19.003'
         DT for 100 yards, then R on ST
4.2    Back to main road, go through cattle grate
         N 37 001.920' W 113 19.105'
         100 yards, then veer onto ST on L
         100 yards, then turn L on DT
4.8    Veer R onto ST
         N 37 01.616' W 113 18.852'
5.4    Cross wash, then L on DT
         N 37 01.205' W 113 18.701'
5.8    Cross main southbound gravel road
         N 37 01.114' W 113 18.276'
6.1    Sharp R (downhill) on DT
         N 37 01.049' W 113 18.059'
6.2    L on DT which becomes ST
         N 37 00.961' W 113 18.171'
6.6    R uphill on DT
         N 37 01.075' W 113 17.981'
6.9    DT becomes ST, drop into wash!
8.2    L on main gravel road
         N 37 01.766' W 113 18.405'
8.45  L off main road on DT
         N 37 01.979' W 113 18.404'
8.8    R at N 37 02.054' W 113 18.702'
8.9    Fork R onto ST
         N 37 02.088' W 113 18.835'
9.55  Cross main westbound road
         N 37 02.555' W 113 18.936'
10.2  Cross DT turnaround, keep straight
         N 37 03.113' W 113 18.812'
10.5  Fork R on DT
         N 37 03.319' W 113 18.777'
10.8  Back at start
Getting there (Southbound, through Hurricane = recommended route): Get off I-15 at the Toquerville/ La 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) race route.

2007 Cholla Challenge Race Route, 12 miles

Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide
Other rides in Warner Valley: 
       Honeymoon Trail guide
       Warner Valley Loop guide
GPS Track files (right-click, then "Save target as..."):
    Classic route (see map above)   GPX  
    2007 race route (map at right)    GPX 
    Senior Games 2006-2008  GPX
    Cholla race 2009:  GPX
    Cholla ICup race 2011:   GPX
Alternate topo maps for printing:
   Topo map, Classic Route
   Topo, 2007 Route
   2009 Cholla race route
   2011 ICup race course
Lodging, camping, shops: 
     Links to St. George area resources

Copyright 2003 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Update 2011