Southern Utah Trip - November 2023

Hurricane & St. George, Utah

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      Table of Contents


Little Creek Mountain Bike Trail

Day 1 - Little Creek Mesa

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Freeriding Slickrock


The day before today, we departed early from YOW and made our way to LAS and quickly picked a pickup and headed to our favorite home away from home.  Waking early-ish, we assembled bikes, texted our local superfriend, and headed out for a shakedown ride. 

Having been down to Hurricane, Utah many times, we are blessed with good knowledge of the area, but today was the day we had to ride with our pal Clayton Coleman and we decided to hit up Little Creek and warm up in the rocks.

This area is sort-of-not-really-official trail (for top secret reasons) and it a moonscape of unmarked slickrock with rolls and big open slabs and a top section of high-Mesa Scrub.
We spent the afternoon rolling and jumping and getting our legs in gear for the days ahead. We scoped out the secret petroglyphs and enjoyed the afternoon heat and then drove home past Gooseberry Mesa at golden hour. And recovery fried chicken. (As you do)
It’s fun to mix up the order of our classic 7 rides. And now we’re primed for the days ahead.

Suicidal Tendencies Mountain Bike Trail

Day 2 - Santa Clara Trails

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Precipice, Suicidal Tendencies, Sidewinder, Barrel Roll

Open desert riding at its finest. Even though the risk of rain is low this week we decided to head to St. George and bag the wide open trials around Ivins. Other systems will handle a little rain better than this sequence of mesas with lots of climbing and descending and scenic vies over town.
With lots of exposure, some of these trials are not for everyone. And even though Derek was a touch surprised that we were actually going up and down those ravines several times, (“Seriously? We’re going over both of those?”) he crushed them all. He did ask for more trail clarity of the risk was high. (“You didn’t tell me it there was a cliff!”)
At the trailhead we were questioned by a solo rider names Sara who wanted some trial intel because she thought we were locals, and she decided to join us on the ride. She’s been riding all around Utah for the past 2 months and last year bikepacked from B.C. to Mexico done the Continental Divide solo! She ripped our legs off on the climbs and the chase us down the big descents and told us all about the riding in Montana.
After a few beers, we decided to go hit the dirt jumps at the local bike park. Because 3 guys left on their own don’t always make great decisions. We did pretty well and Derek showed us how to boost large into the desert sunset.

Guacamole Mountain Bike Trail

Day 3 - Gucamole Mesa

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In the shadow of Zion


Coffee and treats were the order of the morning today. River Rock Roasting Company - La Verkin, Utah sits up against the canyon in La Verkin with a great view and tasty baked goods.
A little caffeine later we rolled toward our next Mesa.
Otherworldly and magical, this plateau is butted up against Zion National Park high above Virgin, Utah.
Heading into the trail we startled a Desert Hare standing a full 3 feet high who bounded ahead of us for 30 yards before leaping sideways over a rock and into memory.
The clouds overhead cast shadows done on us as we circuited Salt on the Rim trail around into the petrified forest and down into the slickrock.
Strangely there was no wind today and we pushed the pace a little to the high point before pumping and jumping back towards the trucks.
It’s hard to capture the grandeur of this place. Photos simply don’t capture the 360 degrees of ever changing beauty.
Heading back into town we stopped at Over The Edge Sports - Hurricane, Utah to touch base with old fiends and see their new shop out back.
From our home base we managed to just eke out a sunset beer on Rszor Ridge before burgers and sleep.

Gooseberry Mesa Mountain Bike Trail

Day 4 - Gooseberry Mesa


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Half an Angry Goose


Yesterday, Derek asked, “Why is this place called Hurricane?” Today began with an example of the namesake rain / hailstorm and 100mph winds.
Of course we have learned to read wether and were safely on the condo drinking coffee and waiting out le storm.
In the afternoon with low chances of rain we headed to Gooseberry Mesa in hopes of a full loop of the goods ending right around sunset.
Everything was great when we started and we even had sunshine guiding us. But then I’m the distance the clouds were angry and we decided to bail for the pickup and drive down before the roads became impassable. We still got 10km in though so not a busy ride.
Back at the condo we snacked and hot tubbed and regrouped for the next day. This late in the season weather is always a factor in the journey.
Here’s hoping for better tomorrow.

Chrurch Rocks `Mountain Bike Trail

Day 5 - Zen & Church Rocks

Zen on Trailforks

Church Rocks on Trailforks

The Sublime and the Spiritual

Golden sunshine and Bird Blue skies. Enough said.
Well maybe not enough said. Zen trail is quite sublime. Zen trail in beautiful weather is more sublime.
Word on the street is that home building is encroaching on this amazing trail. So far no damage. Zen is a challenging loop of split rock and slickrock and mesas and pushes your idea of amazing trial. We looked to the top and dropped into Mario’s world and returned to the truck in a trancelike state of trail bliss.
After a few lunch wraps we headed bac up the highway towards one of the most scenic trails in the region. Church Rocks lives up to the billing as a pious destination of open deserts and slickrock riding. Along the au we may have found a booger of notable size and did a few photo takes.
Traveling back with the sun behind us and long cast shadows was surreal as the temperature dropped and the evening set upon us.
Back at the truck we puffy-coated up and enjoyed the dying light. Maybe the mesas bend rhe rays or maybe the air bends the last light toward us, by we are always amazed at rhr final moments as the feat glowing orb drops behind the distant mountains into the other world.
God I love this place.

Gooseberry Mesa View Of Zion At Suncet

Day 6 - Gooseberry 2

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The Blue Goose Rematch

With a half Goose in our pocket from the rain day, we headed back up the Mesa to get the goods. If there is one place to ride when you visit Hurricane, Utah, it’s Gooseberry Mesa.
High above the town the slickrock and desert scrub meld into a never ending symphony of step-ups and technical trail. The signature rock is dotted with paint to guide you, although the marks are getting a little lean in places.
We do a classic counter clockwise loop North to South with Yellow dot and Hidden Canyon crossing us over White road a few times and back to the upper parking tailgate spot.
Midway at the point feels like the top of the world to me. Maybe there is an unmarked Vortex here: maybe it’s just for me. When I die, you let the wind blow me away from up here, and I will become everything. (Yo sere todo)
Timing is everything in the desert. Driving out at the golden hour was breathtaking and possibly the most beautiful light I’ve ever seen on the entrance to Zion. The blue sky blended into darker night and the orange Sol lit the rock aflame. (Those are untouched photos)
Speechless as the sun dropped.

Exit via Zion

After our 6 rides we pack and leave gracefully from this paradise of sand and rock. But we needed to give Derek the full view of this temple of the world. So we drive up through Zion National Park. Just an hour and a half before the return.
Pictures can’t do this world justice. If you’ve been here before, then you experience memories of the power and beauty. The towering landscape of rock hewn by wind and water. And life tenaciously clinging to the thin soils.
Bringham Young, having travelled across the continent was so inspired by this landscape, he with 100,000 others built their religion just outside of here. “Zion is the pure in heart”. It’s easy to feel his motivation in this place.
As if not moved enough, not fully brought down to nature already, a hawk flies toward us as we sit on the terrace at the River Rock Roasting Company eating our lunch. Then she purposely circles in front of us, glancing goodbye.
Driving back towards Las Vegas we are backed up in road construction through Black Canyon. But even there the failing light paints the rock a piercing orange.
We drive to the airport, and drink away the impending sense of loss from leaving this place before packing into metal tubes and returning to the other world.
Paradise lost. (Until next time)

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