To reach the beginning of the trail, you have a variety of options. You can take the Precipice
Trail, to the Sidewinder
Trail, or Barrel Roll
. Note that the round trip from the Cove Wash Trail
and back is about 13.2 miles, so make sure you're fully prepared for the outing. From the top of Sidewinder
Trail, Suicidal Tendencies immediately drops down a steep slope with exposed switchbacks. You should expect a steep descent, filled with switchbacks and precipitous exposure. After you navigate down the edge of Sidewinder Mesa, you’ll wind across the valley floor before ascending up the next mesa.
The ascent is similar in technicality to the descent that was just completed. There are a few technical rock sections with some exposure. Near the top of the climb is “Hangover,” a large rock that hangs above the trail. Watch your head. Past the Hangover is a technical rock move nicknamed “Thread the Needle,” because you must thread your way between rocks on each side of the trail. After this section, you’ve reached the top of the Mesa.
Once on top of the mesa, the riding changes dramatically. The technicality drops and you simply follow gentle switchbacks to the high point of the mesa. Here you are rewarded with views of the Beaver Dam Mountains to the west. Continuing on after the point, you descend through Juniper trees and occasional slick rock sections to complete the loop back to the top of Thread the Needle. From this point, you'll ride the first part of the trail in reverse.
This trail is for expert riders. Advanced intermediates can ride most of it but will have to walk through many spots. As you might expect, the tricky stuff is the trip down into and back up from the wash. There are very tight switchbacks with cliff exposure. The side-slope along the trail is very steep with encroaching rocks. It's a setup for a handlebar bump or a pedal-bang to send you tumbling. There are a couple of large tilted rock slabs you must ride over as you pray your tread holds.