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White Reef Trail – Harrisburg

There are three reefs that run parallel to Interstate I15 west of Harrisburg, Utah. The one closest to I15, the Leeds Reef, is of dark rock. The White Reef is west of the Leeds Reef and is of white rock where silver was found in the 19th century. The Red Reef is further west again.

The White Reef Trail runs north along the base of and east of the White Reef. There are two return routes: one via the Leeds Reef and the other via the White Reef Ridge. The latter is the more scenic return but is more difficult.

The White Reef Trail gives excellent views of the White Reef from below. At the northern end of the trail there is an old mine adit near the top of the reef. Travelling south along the ridge you get excellent views of the Red Reef Cliffs.

It is possible to access the northern end of the White Reef Trail by ATV from Leeds and Silver Reef by taking the Bonanza Road to its end.

Overall rating = moderate

Distance: 4.6 miles – moderate
Elevation gain: 480 feet to the high point on the White Reef – moderate
Terrain: Wide hard packed trail, ridge trail is narrow and steep – moderate
Exposure: sections of the ridge trail have long steep sloping drop-offs – moderate

To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System

Getting There

If travelling north-east on Interstate I15, take exit 16 towards Hurricane and then turn left at the 2nd traffic light, 5300W, towards Quail Lake State Park and Reservoir. This road ends at the service road near Harrisburg. Turn right and then turn left on the marked Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Road which goes west under the interstate highway.

If travelling south-west on Interstate I15 take exit 23 into Leeds and turn left onto N Main Street. Continue through Leeds to a stop sign at the end of State Road 228. Veer left taking the service road to the marked Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Road and turn right going west under the interstate.

Just after going under I15 turn right on the gravel road and park in the designated parking lot.

Directions to the White Reef Trailhead

For a one page printout of the directions click White Reef Trail Directions

The Trail

The White Reef Trail heads west out of the parking lot, down a hill and passes beside the ruin of the 1958 movie set “They Came to Cordura”. The trail then runs north along the base of and east of the White Reef a distance of 1.9 miles.

There are two return routes: one via the Leeds Reef and the other via the White Reef Ridge. The latter is the more scenic return but is more difficult.

To return via the Leeds Reef, turn right (east) at the northern boundary of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The trail travels up through fenced private property to the Leeds Reef Trail, a distance of 0.14 miles. Turn right and return south along the Leeds Reef Trail to the parking lot a distance of 1.6 miles.

To return via the White Reef Ridge, turn left (west) onto the marked Adit Trail named after the prominent Cobb mine on the ridge. The distance along the adit trail to the mine is 0,2 miles. The first large rock outcropping south on the ridge is a further 0.4 miles. You can also turn right at the top of the Adit trail and go a short distance to a number of old silver mine workings.

The best route around the first two large outcroppings is to stay to the left and close to the base of the cliffs. In places this is a difficult scramble around the top of steeply sloping terrain. On subsequent rock outcrops follow the ridge along the top of the rocks. Part way along the trail you come to a stone fence on the ridge which runs all the way south along the ridge and then east along the ridge above Quail Creek out onto the flats.

Trail Map showing locations of the Red, White, and Leeds Reefs

Trail detail at the north end

These are some of the pictures that we took returning via the Leeds Trail.

Here are pictures taken on January 23, 2015 returning via the White Reef ridge.
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Here are pictures taken on April 2, 2015.
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