While spring time in the Pacific Northwest can be sometimes snowy and most times rainy, we heard there were magical places within a two day drive where the sun always shines. Desperate for a little Vitamin D, we packed up our mountain bikes and headed to south to check out the mountain biking in Hurricane, Utah.
Hurricane, Utah is home to some amazing mountain biking – our highlight being the epic riding and amazing views from Gooseberry Mesa. The riding at the JEM trail system was super fun and the views of Zion National Park from the Guacamole Trail System definitely made the drive worthwhile. The Green Valley / Zen trail wasn’t our favorite – but there was some nice riding between the hot and boring grind sections.
Highlights and Hints for Mountain Biking in Hurricane, UT
While this wont be an exhaustive post about our time in and around Hurricane, Utah, I thought it might be nice to provide a few pieces of information to help you on your way. And you most certainly should go – the scenery and riding around Hurricane is well worth it.
For our week long adventure, we drove DAPHNE down over the course of two days, stopping at an uninteresting camping spot along the way that just happened to be near some VERY interesting petroglyphs. The Parawan Gap Petroglyphs are pretty much in the middle of nowhere, about 10 miles east of the town of Parawan off I-15. But if you happen to be in the area, they are really very cool and definitely worth a look. And as a bonus, there is free camping available on BLM land nearby. From Parawan we made our way to Hurricane and then Gooseberry Mesa – where are adventure really begins.
On our way up to Gooseberry Mesa we stopped at the JEM trail system and did a fun little loop to stretch our legs. This trail system has a bit of variety and the riding is good. But its not particularly exciting, so not much more to say here.
Gooseberry Mesa – a Hurricane, UT MTB Favorite
Gooseberry mesa is world renowned for its amazing scenery and incredible riding. And its a reputation that is well earned. While the whole mesa “big loop” is only around 13 miles its worth taking the extra time to take a couple laps (maybe try switching directions?). The riding is top notch and the scenery is unparalleled. Following the mesa rim all the way around gets you to some exceptional viewpoints and a few short but hair raising sections where a riding error would be…err… bad.
We camped in one of the many pull-out/camping spots along the road at the top of the mesa. While there seems to be quite a few sites here, the area was quite full. I can only imagine that on busy weekends it might be difficult to find a spot. For more information on the riding at Gooseberry Mesa, check out MTB Project.
St. George, Utah – good for a refuel
After a couple days at Gooseberry, we headed back down the hill to refuel in St. George and plot our next move. Tip: holy crap! I never noticed all those Glacier Springs and related water dispensers outside most grocery stores. Its a cheap and easy way to fill up water jugs without having to buy more plastic our get some foul tasting water out of someones garden hose.
We checked out the riding at the Green Valley / Zen trail system. I’ll be honest – this was not my favorite riding. The slog up the hill is hot and unforgiving. Yes once you get up the initial climb there is some interesting terrain and more fun to be had. But the initial push hurt me and made the rest of it only so-so. I am sure if you are used to the heat and familiar with the zone (as a local in St. George would be) its amazing to have such trails right outside your door. But for me… well… I could have skipped this one.
Guacamole Trail – Worth the Drive
From St. George we headed back into the mountains towards Zion National park and the Guacamole Trail system. This was a bit of a drive and kinda ‘out there’ but WOW – so worth it. The views of Zion are amazing, there is camping right at the trailhead, and the riding is excellent as well. Added to that, there is all this petrified wood… everywhere. It was really fun to see. The 11 mile Guacamole trail loop is very fun, challenging at times, but not over the top. There is a bit of exposure along the mesa rim (optional on the way back) but its not quite as airy as some of the riding on Gooseberry.
While on this little adventure we made a short film with drone footage shot from the various places we rode and camped. Enjoy!
If you have questions or comments about mountain biking in Hurricane, Utah, please let us know in the comments!