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  1. #1
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    Gooseberry Mesa: Recommendations for dispersed camping

    I will be doing Rainbow Rim trail midweek, and hopping over to GM area at weeks end for a day of riding if the weather holds. Plan on riding the Big Loop. First time there. Any good places to camp with shade near the Loop. I usually avoid Labor Day weekend at popular spots, but too late to change days off. Am I wrong to think the warm weather will thin the crowds?
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  2. #2
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    The only shade I know of is down in the valley on the way to zion.... Not sure about camping over there.

    When I rode the mesa a few years ago we had camped in Zion and just did a day trip.

    Also, Gooseberry is in Utah... did you mean to post this in Arizona?
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  3. #3
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    It's been a couple years for me but in the past there was some decent primitive camping in trees off Kolob road 10 or 15 minutes outside of Virgin. No amenities but nice area and close to town. It'll be pretty warm still. Quail Creek Reservoir is a nice and convenient camping area with bathrooms, water, picnic tables and whatnot. Not sure if you'd be able to get any spots or not. Snow Canyon is a bit far in the other direction but it's nice too. In my experience, camping is pretty limited around St. George. I'd avoid Zion personally if you're just looking for a camp spot. It costs a ton to get in there and even in the summer it's a zoo. Lots of good camping around Jacob Lake, but that's pretty far. May be some good stuff on the Kanab side too but I've never camped there.
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  4. #4
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    #1) This should be moved to Utah for him to get more responses.

    I'm not sure what to think about Labor Day crowds as I myself avoid the heat. However, there is plenty of shade to be had up there on GB Mesa. As you go up the road, head for the Windmill TH parking area. One guy I go with likes to camp along the canyons edge off to the right (and 1/4 mile back) before the parking lot. You'll see plenty of off shoots leading that way. Assuming you have a map or Trailforks, this is right along the Gander Trail.

    If all those spots are taken, you can take the left fork at the Windmill TH and head back towards the White TH. Along that road, there will be spots to camp on both sides of that road. You just had to take some of those spurs and find an open spot you like. In the rare instances where I do camp, that's where I like to go because you have easier access to the South Rim starting point which is the route we prefer up there.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks to everyone who posted. Yeah I know Gooseberry is in UT, but posted in AZ forum because a lot of AZ riders go there. Also AZ has twice the population of UT (many more riders, I assume?) and the AZ forum typically has 2-3 times the viewers.

    K2rider1964 answered my basic question. I want to camp near the trails so I can get out early and avoid the afternoon heat. If there is shade to relax in and a view to enjoy while I sip a postride beer I will be good to go.
    Veni vidi velo!

  6. #6
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    K2 nailed it as far as the camping up on GM is concerned. Plenty of shade and it's a bit cooler than down in the valley with the elevation gain. (few degrees anyway)

    Here's a ride report from last year's weekend bonanza: SW Utah Blitz

    Hit the Chevron down in Apple Valley for an awesome burger!! Yes, it's true. It's the closest supply point to GM.

    As for crowds, I would think it should be fine. I think the warmer temps would keep most people away. It was fairly empty when I went over Memorial Weekend, but I also had the Cedar Gnats to battle.

    Hopefully you can snag a prime camp location, have fun!!
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  7. #7
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    arizonans know more about Utah than Utah... lol

  8. #8
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    There shouldn't be a lot of MTBers due to the heat this time of year, but areas like Gooseberry and others nearby are seeing a lot more non-bikers now. You shouldn't have trouble finding a place but it won't be deserted.

    I had read earlier this year that BLM will be clamping down on dispersed camping on the mesas. Right now its more or less a free for all. It sucks, but probably better than seeing the place get trashed. I imagine there will be designated sites. Hopefully they'll still be free.

  9. #9
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    I was hoping to hear from some of the usual suspects. Sounding even better, guys. Thanks!
    Veni vidi velo!

  10. #10
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    We were just there in April, and camped at Gooseberry Mesa. The place was packed, and we were lucky to get a spot. We had our travel trailer, and took a spot no one thought they could back in to, but I knew I could get in there. There's spots all over, so if nothing is available right off the main road, park at the main trail head, and ride your bike down all the side roads, to see if there's any spots available. Maybe with the heat, it won't be too busy.

    It's killer place to ride, and if you have time, go check out the JEM trails, too. The bike shop in town (Over The Edge?) does all kinds of group rides, and I'm sure they'd hook you up with any kind of ride you wanted.
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  11. #11
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    I remember getting eaten up by little black flies when riding Gooseberry.

    That was the only thing I did not enjoy about the place. So, maybe some bug spray. I know I'll be bringing some next time I go.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdss View Post
    I remember getting eaten up by little black flies when riding Gooseberry.

    That was the only thing I did not enjoy about the place. So, maybe some bug spray. I know I'll be bringing some next time I go.
    I've never been later than mid-May or earlier than October but have never had any big issues in all my trips to Hurricane/St George. They drive me crazy as well. I carry the individual bug wipes in my pack now. I wipe my neck, ears and cheeks which solve s 98% of the problems. The bug might still take their shot occasionally but they don't stick around.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdss View Post
    I remember getting eaten up by little black flies when riding Gooseberry.

    That was the only thing I did not enjoy about the place. So, maybe some bug spray. I know I'll be bringing some next time I go.
    Yeah, fortunately those bastards only come out for a couple weeks every spring/summer. Great camping out on the rim, but will most likely be mobbed...wish I were there.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utard View Post
    Yeah, fortunately those bastards only come out for a couple weeks every spring/summer. Great camping out on the rim, but will most likely be mobbed...wish I were there.
    Camped on the rim last night and saw a lot of people coming in. Lots of loaded bikes in town, too. Going to be a busy weekend up there. Unfortunately, my hub broke and I wasn't able to ride. 800 miles rt on the truck for one mile of riding. Sucks!
    Veni vidi velo!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    Camped on the rim last night and saw a lot of people coming in. Lots of loaded bikes in town, too. Going to be a busy weekend up there. Unfortunately, my hub broke and I wasn't able to ride. 800 miles rt on the truck for one mile of riding. Sucks!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    You could rent a bike at Over the Edge
    Yeah. I thought about it. Already over budget for this particular vacation, considering I now need a new wheel. I'm going to try again in October.
    Veni vidi velo!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    Yeah. I thought about it. Already over budget for this particular vacation, considering I now need a new wheel. I'm going to try again in October.
    You should've started a Go Fund Me page, begged at the grocery store, or found some way to get some money, to ride!! That sucks!!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevhogaz View Post
    You should've started a Go Fund Me page, begged at the grocery store, or found some way to get some money, to ride!! That sucks!!
    Ha! The 21st century substitute for working.

    I tried to sell my body, but the only offer I got was from a broker for organ donations. Hmm... Ive got a spare kidney and lung, I thought, but I knew there had to be a catch. "Don't you have to be dead?" I asked.

    "Not to get started," he said.
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