Beginning on Red Hills Parkway (formerly Turtle Road) above the red cliffs north of St.
George, the City Creek trail offers some rocky options. While located
right on the edge of the city, the rough terrain makes this an
upper-intermediate trail in technical requirement.
The trail runs up and over three hills among small outcrops of sandstone.
Original review June 21, 2002 by Bruce,
with new photos and update December 6, 2017.
The City Creek trail can be done as an out-and-back, or as a
loop by using the paved Red Hills Parkway trail. The singletrack is 2.5
miles in length, with 300 vertical feet of climbing in either direction.
Step-over gate at the eastern end of the trail. Both
ends of the trail are on the paved Red Hills Parkway Trail, just 1.1 miles
You can reach the trail on the eastern end from the Pioneer
Hills trailhead on Red Hills Parkway, adding 0.3 miles of paved trail to
reach the singletrack (see map). Or you can pedal from town on the parkway
trail to reach the step-over gates on either end of City Creek.
Heading uphill on the first part of a clockwise ride,
with the Pine Valley Mountains in the background.
Most of the trail is intermediate technical, with a smattering of advanced
technical rough rock thrown in. This route is NOT appropriate for
beginning riders. There will be technical challenges both uphill and down,
whichever direction you ride the trail.
One of the City Creek Trail's local
residents out for a stroll. Do NOT touch the turtles. This trail is in the
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve -- you break the rules, and bike trails will be
Climbing the stairs on an east-to-west ride.
Descending stairs on the east-to-west ride.
My favorite ride is a quick four-mile loop ride from the
Pioneer Hills trailhead. Right at the entry to the parking area, a cement
pathway parallels the highway heading downhill and north. After 100 yards,
it turns under the parkway. Turn left (uphill) as you reach the paved Red
Hills Parkway trail. Pedal uphill just over 0.1 miles, then go to the
step-over gate on your right.
Cruising westbound on a rare stretch of flat trail
after climbing the first of three hills.
The initial climb will take you up to the junction with the
Owen's Trail connector. Fork hard right to stay on City Creek. (If you're
hungry for miles, you can do Owen's, then come back to City Creek.)
After a bit of flat riding, you'll descend on rough trail down to City
Creek itself. After riding northeast along the creek, you'll go cross over
as you hit the parkway. After you climb away from the creek, there's a
connector to the paved trail on your right -- in case you need to bail.
Descending toward City Creek. The actual (usually
dry) creek is in the gully. We'll go right down to the bank.
The trail will now descend slightly to the west and circle
a sandstone canyon. It will flirt with the edge of the golf course.
Next comes a bit of nice Navajo sandstone slickrock. Play
for a minute if you're tempted. Unfortunately the slickrock section is
Rolling over slickrock.
From the slickrock area, the trail climbs to the third and
final hill. There are some nice views from the summit.
Heading up toward the final summit.
From this hill, the trail turns north and descends down to
the Red Hills Parkway. Step across the gate, turn right, and pedal the
pavement back to the underpass to complete the loop. Or turn around and do
City Creek in the opposite direction for a 5.6-mile, 650-vertical
Views from the top. We're looking northeast.
If the above video does not appear on your
browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking
About Rusty Cliffs...
The Rusty Cliffs trail is across the road and downhill from
the western end of the City Creek trail. Rusty Cliffs was an old
pioneer road. Not many people ride it because, frankly, it
really doesn't offer much. Last time I rode it (2008), it was hard to find
the bush-whacking entry to the trail. See the topo map link below if you
plan to look for this trail.
View from the Rusty Cliffs trail, as we follow the
old pioneer road.
Getting there, Pioneer Hills trailhead: From St. George Blvd (the
main drag), head north on Main Street (towards the "Dixie"
painted on the big rock above the cliffs). When you reach Hope Street,
turn right, then immediately take the left fork and climb Skyline Drive to
the top of the cliffs. Turn left on Red Hills Parkway (labeled Skyline
Drive on some city maps, and still called Turtle Road by many locals). After the
top of the hill, turn right into the parking area. The trail starts across
the road. Find the paved (cement) trail descending north and crossing
under the parkway. Turn left (back uphill) on the Red Hills Parkway Trail.
After 1/10th mile, look for the
stepover gate. Western trail entry from town: At the intersection of Red
Hills Parkway (where it becomes Snow Canyon Parkway) and Bluff Street,
exit the Snow Canyon paved trail to head east uphill on the paved Red
Hills Parkway Trail. After 1/4 mile, find the step-over gate to the City