What do Crested Butte, Moab, Sun Valley, Park City, Bend, and Cedar City have in common? They are among the best mountain and road biking cities in the country. Cedar City, you say?
Indeed, with more than 300 miles of singletrack (and more being built by the day), all-time classic trails and trail systems, and routes at elevations both high and low, Cedar City is making waves—or should we say berms—across the country.
Trails range from alpine at Brian Head Resort to desert terrain along the foothills of Cedar City, and you can find a ride to suit the whole family or the adrenaline junky among your group. Not to mention, no trail lacks outstanding vistas. And to top it all off, Cedar City is quickly becoming a regional and national hub for road cyclists.
What’s more, there are numerous bike shops in Cedar City and Brian Head to get you tuned up or on a rental, so it’s all the easier to get out there and get some singletrack. So whatever is your pleasure on two wheels, you’ll find it in Cedar City, a new mountain biking and road cycling Mecca in America.
Brian Head: Brian Head alone boasts more than 200 miles of singletrack, which breaks down to approximately 100 miles of downhill singletrack and 100 miles of cross-country trails. There’s loads of variety, and you’ll get to ride longer and faster with the lifts and bike shuttles available.
The best riding can be had from late June to early fall. It’s worth mentioning these six epic trails for starters: The family-friendly Town Trail is a two-mile one-way stroll through Brian Head. Alpine Creek Loop turns it up a notch with a choose-your-own adventure system of loops that ramble through aspens and wildflower meadows. Navajo Loop is 3.5 miles one way and meanders through alpine forests and meadows and affords vistas of Brian Head Peak and Bristlecone Pond. Take the rocky ridges and see spectacular views on the point-to-point Sydney Peaks Trail. Awesome singletrack can be conquered on the 6-mile Bunker Creek ; take a shuttle for this one. On the biggest trek in Brian Head, Dark Hollow , you’ll drop more than 5,000 feet in 14.5 miles and go through lush forests till you hit red rock. There are certainly tons of trails throughout “Color Country” for you to explore at Utah’s largest mountain bike park with pro-designed elements.
Cedar Mountain: The beauty of riding Cedar City is that whether you go high or low, you can take to two wheelin’ 300-plus days of the year—and even more if you want to fat bike throughout the winter. Farther south, you’ll find the stunning Cedar Mountain, an ideal middle ground from the soaring trails of Brian Head and the ones in sunny Cedar City. Mellow Navajo Lake Loop is a 12-mile jaunt around the lake. A crown jewel in southwestern Utah’s biking crown is the Virgin River Rim ; the 32-mile point-to-point offers views of Zion National Park and the Pink Cliffs as you take an intermediate singletrack trail along the rim of the Markagunt Plateau. And finally, there’s the very difficult 10-mile Blowhard , which romps down some epically steep singletrack.
Cedar City Area: Convenience is king in Cedar City, where miles upon miles can easily be linked from right outside of town. The Iron Hills Trails System to the east of Cedar City is no small feat. Work on the forthcoming 100 miles of trail began in 2015, and there’s already epic and serene singletrack to ride in Lichen It and Lava Flow , the first trails to open. Climb the steady and mellow Lichen It through juniper forests and then descend the upper-intermediate-rated Lava Flow to really get a taste of what Iron Hills will have in store. Practice Loop is a great place for novice riders to hone technical skills before crankin’ it up a notch. And there are lots of very difficult trails to choose from at Thunderbird Canyons North Trail System and Three Peaks Trail System—with approximately 19 miles of trails used for competitions—and beyond. So many options!
Cedar City has dropped it into low gear and is quickly ascending uphill within the minds of avid road cycle aficionados across the country. Cedar City is an official host for the Tour of Utah, and it is a major point on the Western Express Bicycle Route (connecting San Francisco, Calif., to Pueblo, Colo.). There’s plenty of pavement for road cyclists with spacious bike lanes, and lots and lots of rides to suit even the pickiest of racers. Don’t miss the Mammoth Creek Loop, Cedar City to New Harmony Ride, or the out-and-back from Cedar City called Parowan Gap.
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.