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
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
|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.
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
|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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