Gooseberry Mesa Singletrack Bike Trip | Utah
Just south of Zion National Park lies the famed Gooseberry Mesa. The Bureau of Land Management has done an incredible job on this trail system. Sections of fun slickrock are intermixed with twisty, turny singletrack trails through the juniper, pinons, ponderosa and manzanita. And off in the distance lie the Kolob Canyons and colossal walls of Zion National Park.
We will start the trip mountain biking some beautiful desert singletrack trails near Gooseberry Mesa. Next a cruise over to Little Creek Mesa will give you a good warm up for what's to come on Gooseberry. These trails are flowing, a little technical and have incredible views. Now hold on tight for some rides to remember as you confront the technical maneuvers on "The Goose." These areas are perfectly interspersed with smooth flowing sections of singletrack trails that truly are world-class. Have we piqued your interest? Call us at 800-845-2453 to learn more about this 5-day guided mountain biking trip.
After our meeting in St. George, we will load into the van for a short shuttle to the goods. Who would think such a quick drive would take you out of the city and onto some of the best desert singletrack around? We are headed for the Santa Clara River Reserve—an incredibly fun network of trails. This area was set aside to preserve open space and protect prehistoric cultural resources, riparian areas and incredible scenic vistas. After lunch we have some rolling terrain and a few short climbs and then begin our fun ride back to the trailhead. A quick shuttle will take us to our camp where will have great views of the surrounding geology. TOTAL MILEAGE: 12 - 17 miles
We will have a hearty breakfast and shuttle out of camp to our ride for the day, the JEM trail. Named after John (known to us as Johnny Concrete, per his formal occupation vs. his love of trail building), Ellen and Mike, this trail offers high speed desert cruising and a cliffside ride along the Virgin River. We will pedal our way along the edge of the Virgin River Canyon and head toward the colorful bluff of Gooseberry Mesa. The climbing continues up a wash and onto some technical singletrack before we top out to have a lunch stop towering over the Virgin River drainage. We climb a couple miles on dirt road to be rewarded by more rolling singletrack and then the fun really begins! Swooping through the desert on unbelievable singletrack trails, you might just laugh out loud carving eight miles all the way back to the start. All smiles, we will load up and shuttle to our camp on Gooseberry Mesa. TOTAL MILEAGE: 24 miles
This morning we will begin with a shuttle to Little Creek Mesa, a trail system that has been a long time coming. Although trails existed here for numerous years, it was discovered that they traveled right over, around and through Ancient Puebloan routes, so it was closed to mountain biking. The BLM, along with IMBA, has worked tirelessly to reroute the trails and our patience has paid off! Riding these trails is a technicolor experience as the rock colors change every time you look down. This is our first day of riding on rock, and a good introduction for the days to come on Gooseberry Mesa. We will shuttle back to our camp on the mesa. TOTAL MILEAGE: 12 - 18 miles
We will awaken to sunlight pouring across the mesa top before enjoying our hot coffee and freshly prepared breakfast. The mesa top is a hard layer of Shinarump Conglomerate which forms a cap over the underlying red and white striped Moenkopi Formation. Moenkopi is a mudstone so it is deeply eroded along flanks of the mesa. The Shinarump is a prime surface for a tight technical mountain bike trail. The smooth slickrock sections are intermingled with clusters of junipers to dodge and little rock canyons to squeeze through. There is barely a 30 foot section of the trail where you can see exactly where your bike needs to go next. Couple the fun riding with the incredible views off the edge into Zion Canyon and you have the recipe for a memorable day on the bike. We will return to the same camp for the night. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 15 miles
We will head out this morning to pedal more of the trails that the mesa has to offer. This time the loop is a little more technical, with steep short climbs onto slickrock knobs and tight switchbacks down the other side. A little off camber riding adds to the fun and some singletrack through the firm sand lets you relax a little! There is so much to ride on the mesa, we never seem to run out of options. Plus the rides are so amazing you will want to ride some of them again! When it is time, we will head back to St. George. TOTAL MILEAGE: 8 - 10 big miles
We will be without vehicle support during many sections of the ride. Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Slickrock, singletrack trails and some dirt roads.
Overall Rating: Intermediate/Advanced
Technical Difficulty: Strong Intermediate with some more difficult sections; slickrock singletrack is tight, and the dirt sections can be loose and rocky.
Physical Difficulty: Moderate; singletrack is unsupported.
Altitude: 3,000 - 5,700 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.