Green Valley Trail

Green ValleyTrail Map Every city should have a trail like this. Green Valley Trail is one big BMX course loaded with thrills and potential spills on a roller coaster of dirt. It rekindles childhood days of riding, when you rode your purple sting ray with high rise bars at seemingly death-defying speeds through neighborhood sandlots. The trail is located west of the city and can be easily ridden as a loop via paved roads. It's a perfect lunchtime workout or an apres-work wind down.

The six-mile trail begins with a stiff, one-mile climb up the north rim of the Gap, a narrow canyon enclosed by sheer sandstone walls. From the high point, the rusty ramparts of Snow Canyon State Park can be seen floating on the northern skyline, and the flesh-tone towers of Zion National Park rise in the distant east. Between them rises the Pine Valley Mountains, which despite being surrounding by burning desert, collect skiff of snow during the winter. That's all the sightseeing you're allowed because the rest of the ride requires keen attention to negotiate a barrage of white-knuckle stunts. But fear not, you'll find "cheater routes" circumnavigating each.

Upon dropping from the viewpoint above the Gap, you encounter "The Three Fingers of Death," where three rib-like mounds of clay drop abruptly to a sandy wash. Pucker factor increases from left to right, so "choose wisely grasshopper!"

Progressing southward around the west flank of Red Hill, the trail undulates to the brink of "Acid Drops" -- a hallucinating series of roll overs that resemble the successive rapids in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River. Like on the Colorado, where the turbulent hole that lies leeward of each wave isn't revealed until slipping over the crest, what ill-will that awaits your front tire remains a mystery until you roll over to the edge and drop to the point of no return. Just hang your butt off the back and you should emerge unscathed.

A few rollers later, the trail disappears over "Clavicle Hill." No explanation needed here, other than to mention that it rates high on the "Oh s*#-!" meter. Even intrepid white water rafters scout the most menacing rapids. You should do the same, else stuff your wheel in the sucker hole that hides from view beneath the lip.

With bones and bike intact, hopefully, kick in the afterburners and scream through the "Roller Coaster." This section is two miles of whoop-de-doos and banked turns that keep you giggling the whole way. The trail ends near the ritzy subdivision of Bloomington. Take side streets back to town or hop on the nearby Virgin River Recreation Trail for an idle cruise alongside the life blood of Utah's Dixie.

By Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.

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