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Upper Zion Trail System

These trails, new in 2021, lie on both sides of the North Fork Road just 0.2 miles uphill from its origin on Highway 9 east of Zion National Park. Trails range from very easy to very difficult. At 6000 feet elevation, the expected riding season will be late May through October.

View from the bottom on the high-expert DH on the west-side trails. Photos and preliminary ride of the unfinished system by Bruce on July 29, 2021.

At this time, trail and trailhead work is ongoing. These trails have NOT been declared "open." But local riders are using them and there's no signage to indicate any restrictions. Just be sure to park away from the construction area. Tread lightly, watch for workers, and obey any signs or tape that would indicate a restriction.
 
East-side trails
Main East Loop

The entry to the east side trails is still being worked over. For now, find the on-shoulder parking about 100 yards downhill from the under-construction fenced parking strip. Start there. Cross over the North Fork road and head east through construction directly to the mountain. Find the trail that forks to the right (south) as you hit the slope. All other trails can be accessed from here.

Northbound early in the climb up the main loop.

About 100 feet after hitting the trail, turn 180 degrees uphill left. The trail straight ahead is the return, and is one-way. Climb uphill steadily for 1/2 mile to reach the traversing section at the top where the alternate trails lie. You'll gain only 100 feet of elevation, so the climb is suitable for beginners.

Rolling along a limestone ledge as we pass manzanita and yucca.

All these trails lie within a layer of white clay and limestone. The trails are machine-cut with undulations to shed water. At the time of my ride, trail signs were just being placed.

The main loop is 1.7 miles around, with around 150 vertical feet of total climbing.

The main loop is suitable for beginners.

The first trail option off the main loop comes at mile 0.6 of the ride. A sign indicates a short expert alternate line uphill on the left.

A few feet later, there's a sign for Juniper Rush (one-way downhill intermediate flow trail) forking off on your right. Keep straight if you're staying on the main loop.

"More technical option" marker. When you see this, it's just a short alternate line with a tricky spot.

There are two of these expert alternate lines. (The second comes at mile 0.8 of the loop.) They're very short and not at all hard to pedal. But they both end with a rock-drop as you bounce back down to the main trail.

Aaaand here it is. A stair-step down to the main trail.

At mile 0.9 Radio Flyer forks uphill to your left, then crosses the trail about 100 feet later. Keep straight and level to stay on the main loop.

The main loop trail will descend, then turn back to the west. You'll be joined by Radio Flyer. There's some fun twisty stuff coming up.

Some wiggles and fun bumps on the bottom side of the main loop.

As it approaches the trailhead area, the main loop heads a bit uphill and turns back to the north. It's joined by Juniper Rush just a few feet before it hits that first turn where you started uphill on the main loop. Keep uphill to make another round, or go straight to head out.

When you hit the red dirt, you're almost finished with the main loop.

Juniper Rush

Juniper Rush is an intermediate DH-only trail that forks away from the main loop at mile 0.6 of the ride. It hooks around to the right at descends around 80 vertical feet over 0.3 miles.

On the left uphill is a tech alternate line. Ahead at the second marker (middle of photo), Juniper Rush hooks around as it forks away to the right.

After rolling through dips and banked turns, Juniper Rush rejoins the main loop just a few feet before the entry into the main loop.

Looking down at Highway 9 from Juniper Rush.

Radio Flyer

Radio Flyer forks away to the left uphill at mile 0.9 of the main loop. Radio Flyer would be considered an expert or skilled-intermediate level ride. It is one-way.

Here's the entry to Radio Flyer, on the left. Although it's a downhill-only trail, it starts with this little uphill jaunt into the trees.

After pedaling up into the trees to the left of the main loop, you'll turn back downhill and cross over the main trail. (There's a mashed Radio Flyer here.)

About to cross the main loop as we see the Radio Flyer. Look for riders!

The cross-over spot has a rock drop of around two feet. If you don't think you can do that, take the stair-steps (see photo).

Here's the rock drop. The main trail goes right across the platform at the top of that rock drop.

The descent features a table jump, a double, a step-up, and lots of bermed turns. There's a log ride that gets steadily narrower. Fun stuff, but over too quickly.

Looking down Radio Flyer.

Radio Flyer is only 0.2 miles long with a drop of 50 vertical feet. It joins the bottom of the main loop for a west-bound return.

A rock ramp onto a log ride, just for fun.

Kiddie Loop or Access Trail? (unfinished)

A loop around the meadow area in the valley bottom is under development. I expect it will connect across the street to the trailhead parking. Footers for a bridge have been poured (July 2021) but at this time the loop is incomplete. More details as things progress...

As if I needed an excuse to go back and ride this area after it's all touched up!

 
West-side trails
Climbing Trail

The climbing route heads southbound from the trailhead. It will be to your left as you enter the little "corral" from the parking strip. It's a machine-cut trail that's easy to ride.

In about 150 yards, the return from the intermediate DH trail will join on your right. Keep straight.

Entry to the climbing route. We're in a little "corral" off the main parking strip.

At mile 0.4  from the trailhead, there's another trail fork. This one is critical if you're headed for the DH trails. If you're climbing up to the DH trails, make a 180-degree right turn uphill. ( The Waterpocket Creek trail continues straight.)

At mile 0.5, the intermediate DH trail forks away to the right. For the expert-level trail, stay left and continue the climb uphill.

Typical view on the climbing trail before it hooks to the right uphill (and the Waterpocket Creek trail continues straight up the little valley).

WaterPocket Creek extension

The Waterpocket Creek trail continues north at the fork at  mile 0.4 where the climbing trail turns sharply uphill to the right. After mile 1.1 from the trailhead, it will descend and cross the creek near a culvert that goes under the road. It will turn and climb to end at a fence about 50 feet from the road at mile 1.2. It's possible to hoof over to the road if you need to.

Love to see this trail continue on uphill in the future.

Getting near the top of the trail; almost to the road.

Intermediate DH trail

The intermediate DH trail forks to the right from the climbing trail at mile 0.5. It descends 100 vertical feet over 0.2 miles. It's machine-cut with dips and banked turns. Nothing scary.

Here's the trail fork for the intermediate DH trail, on the right.

The intermediate DH trail ends on the climbing trail back near the trailhead. If you're through riding, hook 180 degrees left and descend. To climb uphill again, keep straight.

At the bottom of this descent, the trail turns 180 degrees right then joins the climbing trail.

 

Double-black DH Trail

To reach the high-expert descending trail, turn right uphill at mile 0.4 of the climbing trail, then keep left at the fork where the intermediate DH trail starts at mile 0.5. The trail rapidly becomes a more-technical narrow hand-carved trail here. 

Continue up onto a mesa. Your total climb will be 150 vertical feet. Follow the singletrack around to the east and drop downhill. The fun is about to start!

On the mesa edge. The expert traversing trail is just 15 feet to our left, below the little cliff. Nice spot to take in the views.

First stunt, diving board onto a rock ramp.

Next, a skinny log ride.

Steep slab-rock fall into a turn to the right.

A taller slab-rock fall into a turn to the left.

The trail drops 150 vertical feet over 0.3 miles. There will be various stunts, most of which have NO ride-around. This includes a two-foot full-air rock drop. So don't hit this trail unless you're ready to commit. It requires double-black skills.

The trail ends at the little corral by the parking strip.

Final high-speed turns before hitting the receiving corral. Great stuff!

Traversing technical trail

There's an expert-level trail just below the mesa edge. On the north, it starts at the ride's highest point, just after completing a difficult S climbing turn on the Waterpocket Creek trail. It's back 180 degrees, so it's not easily noticed. (If you reach the old doubletrack going up to the mesa top, you missed it.)

View down the trail, heading south. Up and over the rock slab.

The trail is narrow and technical. It's 0.7 miles long, with no overall elevation change. It bounces over lots of rocks and ledges as it hugs a shelf just under a band of limestone cliff. I'm not at all sure this trail is official, but it's there if you want a challenge.

On the southern end, it joins the climbing trail just before the fork where the intermediate DH trail starts.

Skirting the edge of the limestone -- lots of rock challenges and ledges.

Getting there:
From inside Zion National Park, it's around one mile outside the east gate. Turn left onto the North Fork (Zion Ponderosa) road. 
From US-89, turn westbound at the Carmel Junction on Highway 9. Drive 11 miles then turn right on the North Fork road as above.
About 0.2 miles after turning onto the North Fork road, there's a fenced parking strip on your left. For now, I recommend that you do NOT park there (work is ongoing). Instead, park on the wide gravel spot on the shoulder of the road about 100 yards downhill towards Highway 9

No toilet at trailhead. There's a water tap across the road in the construction area, but it's probably not for public use.

See below for close-up map.

GPS multi-track file (R-click and save):  Download GPX

Zoomed view of the riding area, with labels based on what I know as of July 2021. Details will be filled in as I learn them.