If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast and haven’t visited Cedar City, Utah, you’re missing out on one of the best mountain biking destinations in the United States. Cedar City has a diverse range of trails that cater to every level, from beginners to experts, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and iconic rock formations.
Located in Southern Utah, Cedar City is known for its proximity to several national parks, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument. But beyond its scenic wonders, Cedar City is a hidden gem for mountain bikers. There are several trail systems in Cedar City, but the most popular ones are Three Peaks, Iron Hills, and Dark Hollow.
The Three Peaks Trail System is a must for beginner to intermediate riders. The trails are well-maintained and offer a mix of both technical and flowy sections. One of the most popular trails in this system is the Three Peaks Trail, a 9-mile loop with incredible views of Cedar City and the surrounding mountains. Twilight zone is another 5 star trail in the area worth exploring!
The Iron Hills Trail System is perfect for riders of all levels. The trails are well-marked and offer a mix of smooth, flowy sections and technical rock features that range in difficulty. The Iron Giant Trail is a beginner friendly introduction to riding in the area. More difficult classic trails include (listed in order of difficulty) Lava Flow, Boulder Dash, Black Ops, and Boneyard (most difficult trail in the Iron Hills Trail System).
Just 45 minutes outside Cedar City you can find the Dark Hollow Trail, which is best suited for intermediate to advanced riders who are looking for a challenge. The trail is technical, transitioning between flowing single track and rocky technical sections with plenty of steep descents. Located at high altitude, this is a great escape from the Southern Utah summer heat. Dark Hollow is best done as a shuttle, you can call Wild Mesa Mountain Bike Guides to book your shuttle!
There are a few other shuttles in the same area as Dark Hollow, these trails include C- Trail, Bunker Creek, and Blowhard. All of these trails surround Brianhead resort, where you can enjoy summer park riding accessible by ski lift. This area is the perfect place to avoid pedaling and have a gravity fueled day!
One of the best things about mountain biking in Cedar City is the scenery. The trails are all stunning, with views of the surrounding mountains and high-desert landscapes. The best time to visit Cedar City for mountain biking is in the spring, summer, and fall as the trails are under snow during winter. In addition to the great trails, Cedar City also has several bike shops for rentals, repairs, and gear. Wild Mesa, a female-owned guiding company based in nearby Hurricane, offers private guided trips, rentals, and shuttles for the Cedar City trails.
Cedar City is a rising destination for mountain bikers. With a wide range of trails, terrain, and remarkable views, Cedar City provides a unique and unforgettable mountain biking experience. So, grab your bike and head to Cedar City for a ride you won’t forget!
The Greater Zion area has amazing trails that can be shuttled with little to no pedaling! For those who prefer not to peddle the brain melting climbs of Southern Utah, we have a few favorite trails that are great shuttles, and provide a range of riding from beginner to advanced TO EXTREME. These trails include Jem, Bearclaw Poppy, Ice House, Grafton, and Flying Monkey/Kong. There are many other trails to shuttle in the area as well, but these are some of the best. Jem and Bearclaw are also pretty reasonable to peddle, but offer a fun downhill shuttle that affords you a bit more time and energy for sessioning.
These shuttles can be done by hiring a shuttle or guide service, or shuttled with two cars and your riding buddies.Hiring a shuttle driver or guide is especially great if you want to ride multiple laps.
Mileage: 6.9 miles
Difficulty: Mostly Green, with the most difficult section being a steep switchback that can be safely walked
Description: Flowy green trail. One short walkable black section, or ride arounds. Lots of connector trails to add mileage. Still a bit of peddling, but shuttling takes a lot of the effort out!
Mileage: 4.2 miles
Difficulty: Green/Blue, with optional black sections.
Description: A fun shuttle with very little peddling. Enjoy a few techy drops at the top (with optional ride arounds) followed by flowy fun and optional jumps.
Mileage: 4.4 miles
Description: Hard downhill with tight switchbacks, followed by fun flowy trials depending on direction you take! Little to no elevation for shuttle.
Mileage: 5.4 miles
Description: Mostly easy riding to a hard chunky downhill section near the end.
Mileage: 4.0 miles
Description: Extremely steep, sharp square edges, high consequence. Best views of Zion National Park. Famous road gap lies at the bottom of the trail near the Grafton Cemetery.
Mileage: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Advanced/Extremely difficult/Pro. High consequence riding on loose rocks, high risk of injury or death if fall occurs. Extreme exposure. DO NOT attempt this trail if you are not a highly skilled, advanced rider.
dAll of these trails have great maps you can find on Trailforks. Hiring a guide or a shuttle service is a great way to safely navigate these trails! The trails of Southern Utah are no joke, and you should tread lightly if you decide to ride some of the more difficult lines.
Have you ever been riding with a crew of seasoned mountain bikers and felt like they were speaking a different language? You are not alone! Welcome to your crash course in mountain bike lingo, where we’ve defined common terms and phrases used by mountain bikers so you can sound just as quirky as the rest of us!
But first, a brief history. Every sport has it’s own set of terms unique to the activity. In tennis, for instance, “lob” is not short for lobster but a term for a specific way to hit the ball. A favorite word used by climbers is “flash”, which means to successfully complete a route on your first try. Mountain bike lingo is a bit more eccentric, with a jocose flair that the community has embraced since the 70’s. It all started with “klunker”, a janky old mountain bike that klunks around and probably doesn’t get the job done, but inspired a culture of innovation, rowdy fun havers, love of dirt, and a knack for adventure.
danger noodles, taco rims, and more
We’ll start with words you might use to describe a trail. A “chunky” trail is a trail for riders who hate their cranks, “tech nasty” is for people who like to eat rocks for breakfast, and a “flowy” trail is probably the reason you fell in love with mountain biking. Then there is “hero dirt”, the most perfect soil consistency with the ideal balance of moisture for optimal traction. Hero dirt is short lived and only occurs for about one or two days after a trail can be ridden post-rainfall. Ride it just once and you will understand why hero dirt is considered the holy grail of trail conditions.
Our next lesson in mountain biker terminology will equip you with several classics to use when you’re out for a ride. Have you ever heard someone say “look at that sneeze!” and said “bless you,” even though you were certain no one sneezed? Well, what they were really saying was “steeze” which is used to describe an effortlessly impressive style. Imagine you watch someone hit a jump and do something cool in the air with their bike, like a pop of the hip or sly turn of the handlebars, that is when you might say “look at that steeze” or “you’ve got steeze!”
The next few classic phrases are easy to remember and great go-tos for those group rides where everyone is amped and trying out new lines or features. Let’s say you want to follow your buddy off a drop you have been eyeing. You can say, “hey buddy, can you tow me into this drop?” This is sure to make a mountain biker blush, and asking them will unlock their power to lead the “send train!” A send train occurs when everyone riding the same line or feature does so successfully. It can also be phrased as “we were on a send train” to describe a day of riding successes. Consider a scenario where the send train does not occur because one rider botches the drop, wipes out, and all their belongings take flight and scatter about the trail. This is when you yell “yard sale!”
There are many phrases and words like “yard sale” that describe less than ideal situations in mountain biking. Mountain bike slang is weird and goofy. It helps us get up when we fall, shake it off, and have a laugh so we can keep riding. Maybe you’ve heard the word “bonk” or “bonking” while on a ride? We have all bonked at least once, it occurs when you have completely drained yourself on a ride to the point of crippling leg cramps or having barely enough energy to push your bike. Another is “OTB”, an acronym for “over the bars.” If you are using this acronym when describing how your ride went, you are likely in some pain! One of our favorites is “danger noodle.” No, it is not something a person with a gluten allergy needs to avoid. A danger noodle is a snake! There is also the phrase “taco rim,” which you probably saw coming because tacos seem to be the taco-the-town everywhere you go these days. A “taco rim” occurs when your rim bends in half. If this ever happens to you, understand that the phrase is unavoidable and may be all you taco-bout with your buddies for a while.
If you are new to mountain biking and have questions about your bike and how it works, don’t be afraid to ask a fellow rider! If you aren’t ready to ask, but don’t want to sound like a newb (we’ve all been there), try to remember the following two terms that can be easily confused – “travel” and “components.” If someone asks how much “travel” your bike has, they are really asking how much your fork and shock compress when pressure, your body weight, is added (for mountain biking, this number is generally between 80 – 220mm for the fork, and 100 – 160mm for the shock). If “components” comes up, this is an umbrella term for your shifters, brakes, crankset, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, chain, and cassette. If someone asks you something specific about your components like what shifters you have, you can always just say “the best one.”
Finally, if you ever find yourself struggling to remember any of these phrases or terms, you can default to our GRRASS acronym:
These 6 words are timeless mountain biker favorites and can get you through a lifetime of riding!