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).
Need to Know
Go to stateparks.utah.gov/parks/a…
for more info about the park.
There is a fee to get onto the island (check the website). There is a parking lot near the main entrance gate so you can all meet and pile into fewer cars if needed or you can pay a little less and ride your bike across the causeway for some extra miles.
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.
Bison (aka buffalo). There is a very good chance you'll see some buffalo during your ride. Keep your eyes open - they can be anywhere - behind a rock. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. If they are on or near the trail and it isn't feasible to detour around them TURN AROUND. You cannot outride a charging bison.
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 the ones near this trailhead.
From the parking lot go through the opening in the fence and immediately turn to the left (along the fence for a short distance) to start the White Rock Loop
trail. After the initial climb out of the parking lot you'll reach a fork. At the fork, go left and climb the WRL hill heading east. At the top of the climb you exit onto a dirt road at the top. Continue along the dirt road heading south. FYI, the dirt road/trail changes names to Junction Trail after you pass the White Rock Loop
downhill fork/turnoff - you'll ride this downhill later.
Stay on the Junction Trail road for about 2 miles. Near the end of the Junction Trail you'll see the trail turn sharp left, heading straight up the hillside. Climb up the very steep dirt road (this section is often referred to as "One Tree Hill" as there is a lone tree near the road/trail). This short, steep climb will definitely get your heart rate going - keep going up. Stop and rest under the tree if needed. Keep going - the top isn't that far away - it's just very steep. Once the road levels off at the top, continue riding a little further down the road and you'll encounter a bench overlooking Split Rock Bay down below.
Which direction to do the Split Rock Loop
- clockwise or counterclockwise?
For climbers: Do you want to finish the loop by climbing up the long, dirt road out of White Rock Bay (clockwise option) or do you want to climb up the technically difficult rocky switchbacks halfway through the loop (counterclockwise option)?
For downhillers: Do you want to downhill the rocky switchbacks halfway through the loop (clockwise option) or do you want to rapidly bomb down the dirt road to begin with (counterclockwise option)?
Split Rock Loop
Clockwise Description (my preference):
From the Split Rock Bay bench/overlook, keep heading south along the dirt road to begin the Split Rock Loop
. This dirt road quickly turns into singletrack just around the first bend.
The first 1/3 of this trail is mostly undulating singletrack with a few sections of technical rock areas - only one short/steep/rocky climb to contend with. You'll eventually come upon a sign near a rock wall/corral that talks about the history of wild horses on the island. The downhill is not too far off at this point. Some riders turn back at the horse corral area if they don't want to tackle the climb out of Split Rock Bay. The downhill portion is quite rocky in some sections and includes switchbacks.
Once you reach the bottom of the downhill the singletrack reverts back to a doubletrack dirt road. You'll now begin your climb out of Split Rock Bay. As you begin your climb, you'll see the large "split rock" off to the right. This is a deceptively tough climb for many. It starts off easy, but it gradually gets steeper as you near the top which makes it a good challenge.
When you reach the road at the top, go left (heading north) and enjoy the short, yet steep "One Tree Hill" downhill you climbed up earlier. At the bottom of the steep downhill, keep heading north on the Junction Trail road (FYI - If you need to get back to the parking lot fast you can take the Bone Road Trail
downhill from here, but you'll miss out on the final White Rock Loop
singletrack downhill coming up).
Follow the Junction Trail dirt road heading north - there is one last climb - until you reach a noticeable fork in the trail heading down to the left. This is where you rejoin the White Roack Loop and start your final descent.
For this downhill, the White Rock Loop
starts off as doubletrack near the top, but quickly switches to singletrack on the first right hand corner. This trail is pretty fast and fun. It's 90% downhill (a couple gradual sections of uphill). When you reach the fork in the trail you'll see the parking lot down below. Take the path to the left heading back towards the parking lot.
Shared By: Mark Graham
by Mark Graham