The vistas are awesome, the rock formations are beautiful, and the silence is something you don't experience much these days. You WILL feel like you are on another planet when you are in the backcountry. For the most part this is a fairly easy ride for most riders from a technical standpoint. There are some rocky sections that require more advanced skills, but the vast majority of the trails are smooth.
FYI these trails are best enjoyed in the spring and fall as there is almost no shade on 99.9% of the trials. If you do plan to ride on the hotter days you may be better off to hit the trails as early as possible to beat the heat. Additionally some sections of the trail can get very sandy in the dry summer months. Good for a workout.
On weekends you'll encounter quite a few horse riders and a few runners. Because of the openness of the island, it is normally super easy to see others well before you meet them (but still be careful and yield as required).
Go to stateparks.utah.gov/park/an…
for more info about the park.
There is a fee to get onto the island. The fee varies but for most people it is $10 per car (8 people per car maximum). There is a parking lot near the main entrance gate so you can all meet and pile into fewer cars if needed.
Bring LOTS OF WATER as there is no water available out on the trail and there is basically NO SHADE.
The bugs can get pretty bad in the warmer months. Spring/Fall/Winter they are not as bad.
Buffalo. There is a good chance you'll see some buffalo during your ride. For the most part they will not mess with you if you don't mess with them. Just don't try barreling through a huge herd if they are hanging out directly on the trail.
Toilets are at the parking lot near the trailhead but no running water. Running water is available at most of the other bathroom facilities on the island but not ones here.
Feel free to deviate from this route as desired, but I think this is how most of the locals ride these trails.
From the parking lot go through the gate and stick to the right heading south. Follow the dirt road (White Rock Loop
) along the west shore and climb up towards a lone tree in the distance. The trail can be sandy after a dry spell. At the intersection near the top of the climb there is a bench to rest if needed. Keep heading up the hill at this intersection or work your way back to the parking lot if you've had enough after the climb.
Keep heading up the road past the lonely tree (or grab some shade) and you'll eventually reach the top of the main climb. There will be a bench to sit and enjoy the view of Split Rock Bay.
At the bench, you have the option to ride the out and back Elephant Head Trail
that leads directly out to the west. This is a fun singletrack with a variety of terrain. There is a technical section around the half way point which will force many to do a tiny bit of walking but for the most part the trail is fun and flowy. Most people stop and take in the views once they reach the western side of Elephant Head Trail
. The trail starts getting very rocky if you venture beyond. Soak in the views, grab a snack, and then head back to the bench overlooking Split Rock.
From the Split Rock Bay bench, head south (basically take a right) to begin the Split Rock Loop
- Clockwise. Down in the valley below you'll see the long road you'll eventually use to climb back out. Most do not ride down that road (basically doing the loop CCW but feel free if you want) - keep following the doubletrack heading south and it will eventually turn into singletrack.
Now you are on the Split Rock Loop
. This is a fun trail with only a few sections of technical rock. If you'll come upon a sign near a rock wall that talks about the history of wild horses on the island you are on the right path and are nearing the downhill. The downhill is rocky in some sections and has some switchbacks but nothing most riders cant handle.
Once you reach the bottom you'll now begin your climb up Split Rock Bay doubletrack road. You'll see the huge split rock off to the right of the beginning of the climb. This is a fairly good climb and it gradually gets steeper as you near the top. Feel the burn.
Back to the top take a left and backtrack the road towards the lonely tree and some much needed downhill. Keep heading north at the intersection. (If you need to get back to the parking lot fast you can take the downhill that you first started). This reconnects you to the White Rock Loop
Follow the doubletrack'ish trail (heading north) until you reach a noticable fork in the trail - take the left trail heading off to the NW.
This singletrack trail takes you back to the parking lot. It winds around the hillside and there really are not too many rough spots. This is a fast, overall smooth trail and all but the most beginner level riders will rip it up and have a fun ride back down to the parking lot. A very fun/fast/downhill way to finish the ride.