I’m hoping that as this article reaches you, you’re enjoying a beautiful spring day, and gearing up for a ride, because as I write this in late January, we have been assaulted with wave after wave of rain and a little snow. Most trails are in no condition to ride, with some not even accessible at all. Painfully, the freshly finished Wire Mesa trail is among those—more on that trail in a future article!
With weather like this going on, we have to search out the more hardy, water-shedding trails in the area like Barrel Roll, the Boy Scout Trails, and of course Church Rocks. Also, we have to sneak out when the getting is good: when the rain stops and the sun decides to poke its face out.
There is a trail just outside town that is perfect for such a surgical strike-type of ride; the oft-overlooked Paradise Canyon. Paradise, at times, flies under the mountain biking radar, overshadowed by some of our more famous trails. I’ll admit, it’s not one of my “go to” trails, although it should be. I always have fun on it, but I think I ignore it a bit due to its shorter length. There are several ways to put the network together, but most loops end up around four miles. That being said, there is much fun to be had running laps, or riding things in the opposite direction (some hike-a-bikes may be necessary) or out-and-back sections, so additional mileage is available.
Several trailheads are available to access Paradise Canyon, making it an easy “ride-to” trail from many parts of town—helpful on those rainy or busy days, when you have to sneak out! The Chuckwalla trailhead just up Highway 18, after the Red Hills Parkway interchange, is my favorite. The terrain is comprised of some fast dirt, some short sand sections (which can be tough in the dry) and quite a bit of sandstone. In fact, the Turtle Wall trail slithers along a “bench” Mom Nature was good enough to cut above the valley floor in the sandstone, making for a very interesting mile or so in either direction.
Other notable trails include Beck Hill and Paradise Rim. Beck Hill is probably one of the lesser used trails by mountain bikers, probably because of its hundred yards or so of sand at the beginning, but it turns to a great, techy climb of just over a mile with some nice slickrock problems at the top before rejoining Paradise Rim. Techy climb? Yeah, some of us actually like those! Paradise Rim is the drop-in back to the valley, so, fun! There are some B-lines that have drops and jumps, and most sections have an easy line through them, but if you’re unsure, it’s not a bad idea to take a look before you leap.
One thing to keep in mind, since Paradise is so close to town, it is used quite often by hikers and climbers as well, so please use courtesy and give them the right of way.
Paradise Canyon is a great little trail to give the newbie a taste of our terrain, or the expert a challenge close to town, and it’s also close to City Creek Trail (also a trail for another article) so options for an epic are available. So whether it’s been raining and the sun just popped out, or it’s been a busy week giving you just a short window for a ride, Paradise Canyon might be just the answer. Did I mention it’s also beautiful? You don’t name a canyon Paradise for nothing!
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