There are three main riding areas in Cedar City: Red Mountain, the C-trail, and Three Peaks. All are extremely different in terms of type of riding, scenery, and geology. The three peaks trail network consists of 30+ miles of rolling high-desert singletrack just west of town that was created by the BLM, International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), and the local Color Country Cycling Club. Its sits at a relatively low elevation, so there rarely is much snow out there in winter. Plus, the trail surface consists of weathered granite which is basically a coarse sand that drains very well producing very little mud when wet. This makes three peaks rideable pretty much year-round.
Junk or art? The trails are adorned with cleverly placed "junk," some of it is stuff you would normally find out in the desert like deer antlers, bones, and rusty old cans - other junk items are old bike parts that are sacrifices to the bike gods and hopefully bring good mojo to your ride. I'd say it's working because I've had nothing but great rides out at three peaks.
Above: the Voodoo tree.
Below: I particularly like this circa-1996 Girvin suspension fork that brings back memories of my first full suspension bike, a Proflex 756 equipped with a Girvin fork with yellow "marshmallow" elastomers.
Above: I have no idea how anyone drug this stationary bike out here - this is a good 6 or 7 miles into the ride from the trailhead.
Below: Litter from an old cowboy (or possibly miner?) camp adorns a narrow cedar-tree passage.
Above: bleached cow bones piled high.
Below: most of the trails are fairly smooth, but there are some more technical sections to keep you honest and even a fair amount of granite slickrock that is blast to play around on.
Above: ATV country. For every biker in Cedar City there must be 20 ATV enthusiasts - they are all over the place and it is virtually impossible to keep them off of clearly marked non-motorized trails. This used to be a nice ribbon-narrow track, but it has now been widened by ATVs. In this particular spot, you can even see fresh tracks that are further out toward the sagebrush that are from a full-sized truck! There are hundreds of miles of dirt roads and ATV trails in Iron County - what drives people to ruin a perfectly good singletrack?
Below: An Eagles' nest in the wall of an old Iron strip mine. There were several baby eaglets being raised in this nest a couple of years ago. Unfortunately for the eaglets, mine pits are also popular places to shoot guns. It was just a matter of time until a couple of tough guys climbed up to rim and shot the eaglets point plank.
Above: rail line through Iron Springs Gap.
The north end of the Three Peaks Range is bounded by the historically important Iron Gap. The Old Spanish Trail and southern California-bound 49'ers and immigrants (including the ill-fated Francher party done-in at Mountain Meadows) passed passed through the gap.
Although the wash through the Gap is completely dry today, in the not-too-distant geologic past, it likely contained a large river. Some geologists believe Cedar Valley once held a fresh water lake that filled much of valley before topping over and spilling through Iron Springs Gap and into the Escalante Desert to the west.
Above: slumbering cottonwoods along Iron Wash.
Below: it was the early immigrants and travelers through Iron Gap in the early 1800's who first noted the iron-rich rock in the hillsides. The Parley P. Pratt expedition of 1849 confirmed reports of iron, and the Iron Mission was born. It has been boom and bust over the years, but currently things are booming. Today, blasting can be felt once again in Cedar City as iron ore is mined and shipped to China.
Below: an ancient shovel, long since idle, sits as a monument of the Iron Mission near Iron Gap.
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