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Valhalla Trail
13th Hole to Thunderbird

The Valhalla trail connects the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead to the 13th Hole loop. It's 1.2 miles long, and while it has an absolute elevation change of only 100 vertical feet, up-and-down riding adds up to around 300 feet of sometimes-tough climbing. It would rank upper-intermediate in tech requirement. In July 2021, the trail surface is not yet compacted and needs moisture and tires to be a fun ride. There are no trail markings or signs.

Lots of up-and-down. Photos and review by Bruce on July 11, 2021.

The southern end of the trail is lower in elevation at 6000 feet, starting at the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead. To find the trail, go past the kiosk for Thor's Hideout at the eastern side of parking (opposite the toilet). Go 150 feet uphill, then turn 150 degrees left. Keep straight as you cross Lil Ratlr, and you're on your way.

On the 13th Hole side, the Valhalla trail forks away from 13th Hole at a hairpin turn on the southern side of the loop, just before the highest elevation.

Entering the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead. Bathroom to your left, trail entry to your right.

In July 2021, the trail is freshly excavated and is still undergoing some touchup work. Much of the surface is painfully loose and hard to ride when aiming uphill. Wet weather and more bike tires will make a world of difference. This will be a very fun trail to ride once it packs down.

Starting uphill, just past the Lil Ratlr crossing. The disk golf course is ahead and to the left in this photo.

The trail has a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs. From Thunderbird Gardens, after the initial elevation gain it will cross three ridgelines, with a bit of descending and climbing each time.

Looking down to a rough switchback.

The area is dry and gets hot on summer afternoons. Cedar, juniper, pinion pine, and bitterbrush sprout from salmon-colored dirt. There are some scenic rock outcrops.

Climbing west.

Several times, you'll think you're there. But there's more fun yet to go. The trail reaches 13th Hole at a hairpin turn. If you plan to use 13th Hole for a loop ride, pick a direction.

Made the first ridge. And in a minute, we'll cross the smooth part of the next ridge.

Now let's talk about riding the other direction. If you started at the 13th Hole trailhead and are riding the loop counter-clockwise, at mile 1.4 you'll come to a hairpin turn. If you keep straight, you'll be on the way to Thunderbird Gardens. (180 degrees left keeps you on 13th Hole.)

When riding clockwise, the hairpin turn on 13th Hole comes at mile 2.0 from the trailhead, just 0.2 miles after the trail has turned west and started to descend.

View from the trail just south of the junction with 13th Hole, looking west at Three Peaks and northern Cedar City.

The descent from 13th Hole to Thunderbird will be a really fun ride once this trail compacts to a hard riding surface. Expect it to be upper intermediate in tech skill requirement.

Heading south downhill after leaving 13th Hole.

Getting there:
Thunderbird TH:  When southbound on I-15, take the first Cedar City exit (the same one you'd use to head for Three Peaks) and turn left towards the mountains. The road will make a broad turn to the south to become Main Street in Cedar City. Turn left at 900 North (it will be just as you reach the cemetery on the right-hand side). When you reach the golf course buildings, the pavement ends. Keep straight ahead onto gravel road. Pass a couple of flood-control basins, driving 1.2 miles from Main Street. Park in the fenced white-gravel trailhead area and start your ride eastbound by the trail kiosk. After 150 feet, turn 150 degrees left uphill on singletrack. Keep straight as you cross Lil Ratlr.
13th Hole: Head south from I-15 on Main Street in Cedar City. After you drive past a knoll to your left, turn left at the light at 1045 North, which will become Knoll Street. (This is one street north of the Thunderbird Gardens trailhead road.) Follow the street uphill through the golf course to a roundabout. Exit the roundabout on Knoll Street, then immediately turn right into a trailhead parking area. The small sidewalk heading east toward the mountains -- and the broad sidewalk that follows -- is the trail. Follow the signs on the sidewalk until you reach the dirt trail.
Bathrooms at Thunderbird and 13th Hole trailheads.
Water at 13th Hole trailhead.

GPS track files for this trail (right-click and "Save as..."):
     Area GPX multi-track file 
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Cedar City area resources

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