Most people heading to the St. George, Utah area to bike are probably going to ride at Gooseberry Mesa. Located high above the towns of Springdale and Hurricane, Gooseberry Mesa is a network of trails running over slickrock for miles and miles. The views of Zion National Park and the surrounding valleys aren’t too bad either.
You can bike at Gooseberry from at least mid-February through early November; some years you can bike here year round!
View from one of the many trails in the Gooseberry network
The day we biked here (our next two got snowed out) we spent four hours riding over rocks and down single track paths through the scrubby trees. Like on other rock trails, the paths are marked with white dots that point you in the right direction.
You could, and probably should, spend a few days biking here. The good news is dispersed camping is allowed nearby so you can bike late, sleep, get up and do it all again without having to drive all the way back to Springdale or Hurricane. (that’s hurri-kin, not hurr-i-cane).
Then again, if you’re camped way up on Gooseberry Mesa, you might not be as likely to travel around to some other great trails in the area. A few that we’ve checked out in the past include:
Bombing down Barrel Roll in Santa Clara
Barrel Roll – Located in nearby Santa Clara, this trail is just fun, rolling singletrack. The views are awesome!
JEM Trails – Located just west of Virgin, UT near Hurricane and Zion National Park; after a 2-track climb it’s fast and flowing!
Little Creek Mountain – Like Gooseberry only more backcountry; lots of singletrack connecting to patches of rock through high desert terrain.
Bear Claw Poppy – You can ride this trail from either end. Directions on the link are from the top, but if you can find Navajo Drive near Tonaquint Drive in St. George, you might be able to find the opposite end. It’s fun and rolling with a few technical features thrown in for good measure.
If you’ve ever watched videos of the Red Bull Rampage, you’ll recognize the scenery in the area between Virgin and Hurricane near Gooseberry Mesa. The Rampage is back this year and will be held October 4-6 in case you’re planning a fall trip.
Biking a portion of Bear Claw Poppy
If you choose to stay in town instead of camping, try Springdale first. The Bumbleberry Inn is a popular choice, though some say it’s run-down and others describe it as merely “adequate.” A pricier option, but very nice, is the Desert Pearl. There are plenty of other lodging options here and you also have the option of camping in Zion National Park.
Hurricane has a few typical chain hotels but the restaurant choices here are few and far between and most likely will not be able to provide you with a margarita to go with your chips and salsa. You can always drive into St. George to find just about any eating establishment you want but again, whether or not they have beer/wine is questionable. (3.2 beer is available at most grocery stores. I recommend the Wasatch Brewing Company’s Polygamy Porter.)
In Hurricane, Lupita’s is good for Mexican food. But honestly, if you’re from anywhere east of Utah, make sure and treat yourself to an In-and-Out burger while you’re here!
Finally if you happen to bail in the middle of a tough rock portion at Gooseberry and break a few spokes (not that I know anything about that) the guys at Over The Edge in Hurricane can fix you up fast! In St. George, Red Rock Bicycle should have everything you need including rental bikes.
Saint George may not have been a mountain biker in his day but this little town in Utah certainly has a modern reputation for killer mountain bike trails!