Although St. George is one of the best riding spots in the desert southwest, it’s a relative unknown when compared to nearby Moab. That said, the riding in the St. George area has incredible diversity, as does the landscape surrounding the town. If you count Hurricane, which sits only 10-15 minutes north, you have enough trail options to fill up a week or more.
From the mesa riding of Gooseberry and Little Creek, to the anticline trails of Santa Clara and Green Valley, St. George offers something for all riding level. Hell, even the best riders in the world are challenged by the world-class terrain here with the Redbull Rampage! But I digress, since I nor anyone I know will never think of riding any of that stuff! Combine Hurricane and St. George and all of the riding they have available, and you can spend weeks smiling from ear to ear.
Every time you visit the area, your first stop should be to say hi to the boys at Over the Edge in Hurricane - they have some of the sweetest bikes, gear, and advice you'll find this side of Newbury Park. Tell Clayton I sent you...I promise he'll hook you up.
Sitting just a few minutes west of St. George sits an amazing set of anticlines that stick out like sore thumbs, and offer some of the most fun and technical riding in the area. By itself, the 6-mile Zen Trail is one of our favorites. But combine it with an extended climb and another rip-roarin’ descent down the Barrel Trail? You’ve got a surefire smile on your face for 15 miles, and plenty of stories to tell as you enjoy a beer later that night.
The terrain changes from low-lying rocks to gigantic house-sized boulders and shelfy rock that is truly a blast to ride. The Zen Trail is one of our favorite trails anywhere, we only wish it were twice as long!
Gooseberry Mesa is one of those rides that’s on every mountain biker’s bucket list… and it absolutely deserves to be. The terrain on Gooseberry Mesa will blow you away; we promise you’ll never ride anything like it, anywhere else in the world. Sitting just outside of Hurricane, Gooseberry is at the base of Zion National Park and offers amazing views of the Park as well as the other mesas in the area.
Now for the riding…to be honest, it’s hard to explain. You’ll never work so hard to climb 700 vertical feet over 15 miles in your life! The riding on Gooseberry is mostly a combination of very quick ups and downs, lefts and rights, and drops and grunty climbs. There’s never a long stretch of climbing or descending, but that’s OK- because there’s a fun challenge around every corner. The area itself is a photographer’s dream, as it’s one of the most aesthetic trails in the country. And of course, it’s one of the staples on every Chasing Epic trip to St. George.
Our guide, Monte, explains it the best: “If Gooseberry Mesa is the roller coaster, Little Creek Mesa is the entire amusement park.” Thanks Monte, that about sums up our thoughts on Little Creek too. Little Creek sits just south of Gooseberry, and is much larger in scale. To us, Little Creek seems like someone took Gooseberry Mesa and stretched it out- instead of the quick ups and downs of the Goose, Little Creek has long stretches of slickrock with ledges, valleys, and challenges you’ll want to try time and again.
Additionally, Little Creek Mesa offers a mix of diverse terrain as well, with stretches of packed sand and dirt and even some riding through vegetation and low-lying trees. There’s more “flow” than Gooseberry, but everyone has their favorites! If you surveyed all of our Chasing Epic clients, I’m willing to bet it’s an even split 50/50 between Gooseberry and Little Creek if asked their favorite between the two.
-Written by Steve Mokan, Owner of Chasing Epic MTB Adventures