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Pahvant Cottonwood Kids Loop

The Cottonwood Kids Loop was added to the lower Pahvant trail system in 2021. The loop itself is 1.7 miles long, plus 1/2 mile of flat riding each way from the Pahvant northern trailhead.  The trail is intended for true beginning riders and kids who are ready for real dirt. The expected riding season is May through October.

Typical trail view, heading west on a counterclockwise ride. Photos and ride review by Bruce on October 1, 2021.

Start from the Pahvant trailhead just off the northern Richfield I-15 exit. To get there, turn away from the city toward the nearby hills as you exit. About 100 yards from the freeway, turn left (south) onto gravel road as the pavement ends, then left again into a gravel parking area. There's a repair kiosk here. Start the ride southbound via the singletrack next to the map sign, or on the cindered dirt road.

Pahvant trailhead just off I-15.

The singletrack parallels the gravel road for 0.3 miles, then joins the road for the final 0.2 miles. You'll arrive at a road fork. Straight ahead is ATV route 70, plunging down through Cottonwood Wash. ATV 70 can take you directly to the bottom of Kiln-It.

Ninety degrees to the right, a smaller gravel road angles uphill. (Note that many locals skip the half-mile from the formal trailhead and instead park at the roadside near this fork. There's room for perhaps four or five cars. This is an option if your kids don't have the leg for the full 2.7-mile ride.)

Heading southwest from the trailhead.

For a counter-clockwise ride on Cottonwood Kids Loop, which would be my suggestion, pedal to the right uphill on the gravel Cottonwood Road. Don't drive your car up here -- it's narrow and quickly becomes ATV track. And there's no roadside parking where the singletrack begins.

First pass the Kiln-It Connector singletrack forking away on your left 100 yards past the road fork. After another 100 yards, turn to the right uphill on singletrack to start the loop.

The Cottonwood Kids Loop leaves the dirt road for a counterclockwise ride.

To ride the loop clockwise, start uphill on the doubletrack as above, but drop downhill to the left on the singletrack of the Kiln-It Connector. Cross the wash on the bridge, then follow the bike tracks across the flat valley. Your target is the spot where the ATV track along the freeway meets the bottom of the hill to the south.

Once you find the Kiln-It singletrack heading west, follow it 1/10th mile uphill, then keep right to start the southern limb of the Cottonwood Kids Loop. It's 0.3 miles from the gravel road fork to the beginning of the Cottonwood loop trail on Kiln-It.

On a clockwise ride, the loop (on the right) forks away from Kiln-It.

Once you've found the beginning of the loop trail, navigation is easy. There are several ATV-track crossings, but they're well-marked. My ride description and photos will assume you're riding counterclockwise. 

Climbing up the hill through a few banked turns.

The trail will first climb gently up the northern slope of Cottonwood Wash. You'll gain about 100 feet of elevation. The trail is a wide machine-cut that's been meticulously smoothed.

On the northern side of the canyon.

After climbing for 1/2 mile, the trail turns downhill as the canyon of Cottonwood Wash narrows. Turns are banked and gentle. 

Ready to begin descending toward the bottom of the wash.

Still heading west as we approach the bottom of the canyon.  A bridge across the wash itself, recently damaged by a flood.
At the bottom of the wash, the trail will cross the main Cottonwood ATV trail then cross the wash itself on a wooden bridge. The trail now turns east along the southern side of the wash.

Eastbound after crossing the bridge.

The southern side of the loop is straight and angles very gently downhill. 

A wooden roll-over awaits us as we head east toward town.

When the trail arrives at the fork with Kiln-It, keep left and join Kiln-It downhill to close the loop. As you approach the ATV track near the freeway, turn left on either the singletrack just before the DT, or the doubletrack itself. (See the map.) Head back to the original road fork.

Keep to the left here to complete the loop by joining Kiln-It.

Getting there, Pahvant (northern access) parking:  At the north Richfield exit from I-70, turn north (toward the mountains). As the pavement ends, turn left onto a gravel road, then left again into the Pahvant parking area. Start the ride either on the small gravel road heading southwest parallel to the freeway, or on the singletrack near the trail sign (the two routes will rejoin after 0.3 miles). After 1/2 mile, follow the trail sign by turning right on a smaller gravel ATV track. (Note there's room for a couple of cars here where the doubletrack splits.) Veer left onto singletrack after 0.1 mile to head for Kiln-It, or continue uphill on the doubletrack for the counterclockwise Cottonwood Kids loop. (No bathrooms at trailhead.)
300 North (FR 096) parking:  From Richfield's Main Street, turn west on 300 North. As you approach the freeway, turn left into the ATV parking lot. Pedal under I-70 to head uphill on FR096. (FR096 is used to shuttle to the upper Pahvant trails.)

Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
      Multi-track area file 
Map to save or for printing in new window:  2021 map
Lodging, camping, shops:    Links to Cedar City area resources   Bryce area

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