4 days in SW Utah. Please, Any Recommendations?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    4 days in SW Utah. Please, Any Recommendations?

    I've done a bit of research. Utahmountainbiking.com is great! They've got all the trail descriptions and GPS info. I've downloaded videos from Utahmountainbiking, PeteFagerlin.com and MountainbikeBill.com. I've bought maps from Summit Adventure Company.

    But what I haven't been able to do is decide how to best use my 3 1/2 days. I'm hoping that some of you that may have some experience with this area would be so kind as to give me a little direction. Even just a "don't miss this trail" would help.

    So far I like JEM/Hurricane/Gould's, Thunder Mountain, Gooseberry, Bearclaw Poppy and Broken Mesa. What would you do?

  2. #2
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    Personally, I would head for the mountains. Everything except for Thunder Mountain will be around 100 degrees more than likely. Brianhead, Navajo Lake and the Virgin River Rim Trail will all be significantly cooler, and the flowers are going crazy right now.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

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    Oh, I neglected to say that I won't be there until October! I'm guessing that changes things.

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    You haven't mentioned the type of riding you prefer. Myself, I would skip Broken Mesa and Bear Claw, and hit Little Creek, Guacamole, and Slickrock Swamp. In October the Markagunt Plateau (Brian Head, VRRT, etc.) can still be fabulous. Might be some nice colors. If you are making the drive to Thunder Mountain, also consider Loosee, Casto & Cassidy Canyons.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  5. #5
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    Great info! Thanks so much. I've googled your suggestion. I really like the Markagunt Plateau idea.

    Where I live, I'll generally (almost always) ride the fully rigid SS and search out the trails with the best flow -- lots of smooth curves with speed. I'm definitely a XC rider. I'm a better climber than average, but just an average descender. That being said, I can't wait to get the FS on Gooseberry. I have been riding for many years (about 20) and can do just about everything but the big drops. Put more than 2 feet of air between the ground and my tires and I'm definitely out of my element -- if you know what I mean.

  6. #6
    Au'Right!
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    Also if you find the extra time or as second alternate trail I really wouldn't dismiss the green valley/Bearclaw area. For a rigid SS that area can have a lot of fun potential. Bearclaw/Stuki springs can be a nice steady SS climb with a really fun flowy downhill.
    Problem: "Bike has trouble going up steep hills."
    Fix: Recommend pressing harder on the pedals.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdad_martinez
    Also if you find the extra time or as second alternate trail I really wouldn't dismiss the green valley/Bearclaw area. For a rigid SS that area can have a lot of fun potential. Bearclaw/Stuki springs can be a nice steady SS climb with a really fun flowy downhill.
    Every time I ride Stucki I feel let down. The downhill never feels like what I should have earned from the climb. The trail is so choppy it is hard for me to maintain the speed it deserves. I know others I've talked to and ridden with feel the same.

    Never the less, there are much worse trails you could ride, it's just not a trail I ride as much as some of the others. I always have a larger smile at the bottom (Sheep Bridge) of the JEM than I do at Bloomington.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  8. #8
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    Yeah and I'm not totally disagreeing with you there but if Other plans of his don't pan out it's going to far from ruin his day to have to go out there. Not only hat but you can have a ton of fun on bearcalw....sure it's not as technical as alot of the riding out here but it's a great super long pump track. Especially considering he's riding a rigid SS here is SG. (Good luck with that BTW...my SS almost turned into two SS's...good thing I caught the rend in the toptube and downtube.)
    Problem: "Bike has trouble going up steep hills."
    Fix: Recommend pressing harder on the pedals.

  9. #9
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    Good suggestions. With just 4 days, I would surely skip Broken Mesa; but I'm with cdad with the Bear Paw/Stuki area. Green Valley as an out and back is a riot on a singlespeed. One of my favorite rides is to do Zen (short, but a must-do trail; maybe not so fun on a 1-speed) and then follow that up with Stuki counterclockwise to Bloomington. I've always liked Stuki, and if you are lucky enough to get a little bit of a tailwind on the rolling descent along the rim and into Bloomington, it's pure magic.

    Personally, I think the Goose, Little Creek, Slickrock Swamp, AND Guacomole in one trip would be overkill and would be a little monotonous as the riding is very similar for all four. Start with the Goose, and if you feel like you didn't get enough slickrock, do Little Creek, but from there I would move on to something different.

  10. #10
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    If you're up for two-a-days, here's what I'd do with four days in SW Utah (In fact probably will do in late September):

    Day 1: Gooseberry in the morning clockwise doing the south rim first to Hidden Canyon then out and back on HC then continue on around the south rim to the point then back on yellow trail and north rim. In the afternoon: Gould/JEM/Hurricane Rim. Big day but well worth the price of admission.

    Day 2: Navajo Lake area. I'd go out and back on the Virgin rim trail in both directions as far as your legs will carry you. Beautiful riding up there assuming the fall weather cooperates. Could be snowing too.

    Day 3: Thunder Mountain with Casto/Cassidy/Losee thrown in. I think you can get about a 20-38 mile loop connecting all these depending how you do it. Here's some Route Options for Thunder Mountain area loops that I cut and pasted from some earlier post.

    Rockin’s route: “When I rode it, I parked at the bottom of Thunder Mountain, rode bike path up to Cassidy, went up Cassidy, down Losee, cut over and up on Castro, back across the top and down Cassidy, up the bike path and down Thunder Mountain. It was only 38 miles - 4,300 in elevation gain.”

    Or Tscheezy’s route for a bit shorter option:
    Park at the bottom of Thunder.
    Ride down US12 for a mile and turn right on the road to Casto
    Ride to the Casto trailhead
    Head up Casto to Cassidy trail
    Ride Cassidy trail all the way to Red Canyon/Hwy 12
    Ride up the bike path along Hwy 12 to the turnoff to Thunder
    Ride Thunder and end up at the car.

    Day Four: If you loved Gooseberry and want some more similar stuff, but different, do Little Creek Mesa in the morning and slickrock swamp in the afternoon..... or if you're craving more fast flowy natural desert pump track, do GreenValley/Bearclaw Poppy out and back then clockwise on Stucki Springs if you're still feeling spunky.

    Your welcome. Have fun!!!
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  11. #11
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    KRob has it. That is pretty much our classic "friends from out of town, show them the best we have to offer in SW Utah" schedule. If you wanted to cut down the mileage (do you currently live at altitude?), make Hurricane Rim your Day 2, and save Navajo for another trip.

    Couple of notes:
    - The Casto/Cassidy/Thunder stuff is classic XC. Great trails, can be split into two rides if you want - Casto/Cassidy and Thunder the next day. Casto isn't all that great, but Cassidy is awesome. Use the second afternoon for a drive up to Bryce Canyon and do a short hike in the Hoodoos.

    - Little Creek route-finding can be tricky.
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  12. #12
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    KRob: Great stuff! Thanks so much!

    If you don't mind, I've got a couple of questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Day 1: In the afternoon: Gould/JEM/Hurricane Rim. Big day but well worth the price of admission.
    What order would you do this? Where would you park? Maybe I'm overthinking this and we should just go out and see where the trails take us?

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Day 2: Navajo Lake area. I'd go out and back on the Virgin rim trail in both directions as far as your legs will carry you.
    There's another thread that suggests starting at the Cascade Falls TH and starting east on an out-and-back. Looking at the profile, this sounds good to me. Agree? Plus I like chuky's suggestion of doing an afternoon hike in Bryce's hoodoos.

    Thanks again!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky
    "friends from out of town, show them the best we have to offer in SW Utah" schedule
    Classic! That should have been the title of the thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuky
    do you currently live at altitude?
    I live at 6800' (Durango) but will have two flatlanders with me. I'm always amazed, though, how well these guys deal with the altitude.

    Thanks for your input. It's invaluable!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Avenger
    What order would you do this? Where would you park? Maybe I'm overthinking this and we should just go out and see where the trails take us?
    The best way to ride the whole loop (minus China Wash & out to Sheep Bridge) is to park at the radio towers trail head (just up the road from Over The Edge). Ride down the highway for 100 yds, turn left on dirt road and climb up to Gould's. Ride Gould's up passed the corral, cross the fence, then highway and ride JEM to the bottom where the Rim takes off. You could continue down to Sheep Bridge if you wanted that as an out & back. Ride Rim back to radio towers trail head.
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy
    The best way to ride the whole loop (minus China Wash & out to Sheep Bridge) is to park at the radio towers trail head (just up the road from Over The Edge). Ride down the highway for 100 yds, turn left on dirt road and climb up to Gould's. Ride Gould's up passed the corral, cross the fence, then highway and ride JEM to the bottom where the Rim takes off. You could continue down to Sheep Bridge if you wanted that as an out & back. Ride Rim back to radio towers trail head.
    I agree with CDT on his suggested route for Goulds/JEM/Hurrican Rim. As far as which to do first. I'd go up to Gooseberry in the morning then on the way back towards Hurricane just park at the radio/cell towers just before dropping into Hurricane for the start of Goulds/JEM/Hurricane rim. And be sure and do the little out and back to the sheep bridge at the end of JEM. It's short and offers some really cool close-to-the-edge riding along China Wash.

    If you need to drop down into Hurricane (say "herkin" or the locals will laugh at you) before starting your second ride to grab some lunch or bike parts/repairs, it's really close.

    Either way works on the Virgin Rim trail. It's just a little easier to break it up into two rides if you start at Navajo lake. Plus it's a nice base camp area if you're camping or even picnicing.

    Speaking of taking an afternoon or early morning to hike.... Nothing wrong with that at all. Think about a hike in Zion NP (right next to gooseberry mesa) too. Amazing place.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  16. #16
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    Ok, we're there October 9th thru 14th. PM me if any locals would like ride. Maybe trade local knowledge for Colorado beer?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Avenger
    Ok, we're there October 9th thru 14th. PM me if any locals would like ride. Maybe trade local knowledge for Colorado beer?
    Check your PMs - Not a local, but a freq. St. George / Hurricane rider looking for a group to ride Goose with.

  18. #18
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    A 4 man group will be in town this weekend, October 17-20 with a base camp in Springdale. We have Gooseberry and Thunder on the list. Any local riders hitting the trails this weekend that wouldn't mind showing us the ropes? All 4 strong riders from SoCal who enjoy cold tasty ones post ride. We get into town Friday early afternoon and will start with Goose more than likely.

    Paul
    "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul".

  19. #19
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    Thanks everyone for the help. We had a great trip! I honestly think it was some of the best riding of my life. And that's saying a lot as I live in Durango and have traveled quite a bit.

    My recommendations.

    Thunder Mountain is not to be missed, but it is short. Definitely add in Cassidy/Losee/Casto for an awesome day. Relatively high altitude though, so watch the weather this time of year. We got snowed on at Gooseberry the next day, and it's much lower.

    Gooseberry is everything you've heard it to be. What a blast!

    We did a quick ride at Guacamole on our way out. Recommended for your arrival or departure day or for your second ride of a day.

    Freddy at Zion Cycles was a wealth of information -- weather, trails, access. We had a couple of mechanicals in the group that need quick attention, and Zion Cycles was on it. Good people.

    Oscar's has awesome (but a bit expensive) food.

    Here's a link to some pics.

    Dangeruss: Sorry I didn't connect with you. I left the house without your info. Hope you had as good a trip as we did.

  20. #20
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    Not a prob. Wouldn't have worked out anyway. We ended up sticking around in Moab the whole week. We'd been to St.G / Hurricane, so many times, that we opted to see a bit more of Moab this trip. Drove through Durango twice on the trip. Looks like some awesome riding hiding around there.

  21. #21
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    Awesome. Looks like you guys had a great time and hit the best of the best. Did you get to do Gould's Rim/JEM/Hurricane Rim?

    I like these two. Classic gooseberry fun.
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    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

    www.stuckinthespokes.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Did you get to do Gould's Rim/JEM/Hurricane Rim?
    Yep. We started that day intending to do Gooseberry, but it was snowing up on the mesa. Three of the guys with us had been up there on a previous trip on a really wet day and got their RV stuck. They were freaking out when it was snowing. So we decided to head down off the mesa to try Gould's/JEM/Hurricane. That was a good call as it was a bit warmer and didn't rain on us. We could see squalls all around us, though. Not too many pictures from that day as it was quite gray. Plus, I had 3 mechanicals that day (the only ones on the trip) and as a result didn't have as much time to take pictures. Gooseberry was perfect the next day!

  23. #23
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    Just got back from a 4 day trip to Zion area. We made base camp in Springdale and stayed at Desert Pearl from recommendations on the site. Great place and so close to all the trailheads; well except for Thunder but the drive through Zion is well worth it.

    Day One
    Guacamole for afternoon ride upon arrival. Most of the ride was trying to figure out if we were lost or not. That made for half the fun

    Day Two
    Thunder Mtn or Mountian as the sign reads. So sweet. Last 2 miles my jaw hurt from smiling too much. Altitude plus cracked rib from the Guac made my head spin a bit.

    Day Three
    All day playing at Gooseberry Mesa. Two rides on HC was not enough. I need more! South Rim starting point was perfect.

    Day 4
    J.E.M-Goulds-Hurricane Cliffs starting at J.E.M.off Hwy 9. I guess we did the ride opposite of most folks but we really enjoyed the ride. We missed out on the long descent on J.E.M but I feel like we picked up more downs on Hurricane Cliffs. I don't think you can go wrong in any direction.

    Food:
    I cannot remember the name of the restaraunt but it used to be a gas station. Great food located in Springdale.

    Beer:
    It is hard to drink IPA and pale ales that only have 4% alcohol. Zion Beer is good though.

    Bike shop:
    We only went to one based on our location. The dudes at Zion bikes we real cool and helped out with suggested rides and food. Conviently located next to Zion Pasta Pizza.
    "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul".

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