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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mountain Bike Gooseberry Mesa, Utah

One of the great mountain bike destinations of sourthern Utah is a place called Gooseberry Mesa. Gooseberry mesa ia a table top mesa located southwest of Zion National Park. It has a well defined trail system that was invented by and for mountain bikers. Gooseberry mesa has a mix of slickrock and single track trails in a pinion and juniper forest enviroment.
The mesa has large patches of exposed sandstone, that is white, gray, and some pink in color. Some areas are large flat and smooth and some are more divided lumps that you have to go over and around to navigate the trail. The trails are pretty easy to stay on for the most part because someone has painted dots on the stone to keep you on the right path.  One notable area is called "Gods Skateboard Park" where there is some large sections of flact rock and plenty of areas to freelance off the marked trails.
Here is a little video of my brother in law, my nephew, and myself to give you an idea of what it looks like.
Some of the trail has some technical sections. But in most cases I found it to be very rideable, but if you have problems just walk the tuff parts. The trail takes you out to the south edge of the mesa where you can see across a valley over to Little Creek Mesa another great mountain bike desination, that I covered already in this blog http://arizjones.blogspot.com/2010/07/mountain-bike-adventures-in-utah.html
Once you get to the rim the trail heads west along the rim and leads you out to a narrow exposed place called "The Point". At The Point you will have unblocked view in all directions.
Here is a picture of me riding along the rim near The Point. It's a long way down from here to be sure.
If you head back down the dirt road you can catch a trail thet then takes you northeast along the northwest rim of the mesa. This section has some great views as well.
This section might be my favorite due to the great views.  It is just one amazing spot after another, over looking the Virgin River Valley, with the massive cliffs of the Zion region in the background. 
Honestly photos just can't capture the way thsi looks because it is just so big and vast of a panorama. 
As you can see in some places you are just right on the edge of this huge cliff that drops of what seems like thousands of feet.  And the scenery is enough to distract you so be careful. 
Here is a trail map that can be handy. I have always gone out on the South Rim Trail and then come back on the North Rim Trail (used to be called "That Dam Trail") and then go out on what used to be called Steves Rim Job. Since I have often camped I would also ride around on the Slick Rock 101 and the Bowls and Ledges and then link that with the Hidden trail for a second ride.
From Springdale - drive 4 miles west on UT-9 to the east end of Rockville turning left on Bridge Road. This can be easy to pass so keep your eyes open. Go 1.6 miles, crossing over the Virgin River, the turning left at a T-intersection onto the Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway. Follow maintained dirt road 4.9 miles turning right on Gooseberry Mesa Road. Sections of this road can be very very rough. After 3.6 miles, turn left onto an unsigned double track and go 1 mile to the trailhead at a cattle gate.

From St. George, drive north about 7 miles on I-15 then go east on UT-9 to Hurricane, UT. In Hurricane, turn right on UT-59 heading west for 14.4 miles. Look for Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway signs, you'll make a left onto a maintained dirt road. This is an unmarked road located between mile markers 8 and 9. Head north 2.9 miles then left at the fence signed Gooseberry Mesa Road. Drive 3.6 miles on dirt road taking a left onto an unsigned double track and go 1 mile to the trailhead at a cattle gate.

Here is a link to my Little Creek Mesa page.  It is just across the valley south of Gooseberry Mesa. 

1 comment:

  1. The most incredible mountain bike trail in the US! Fantastic views of Zions National Park. All the slickrock and singletrack you and your bike can handle.

    Gooseberry Mesa Slickrock Tour