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  1. #1
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    Moab versus St. George/Hurricane

    If I read a bunch of threads, distilled countless posts, I could probably answer this question, but I guess I'm feeling a little lazy and hoping for direct input.

    Finally making a trip to Utah to ride this coming mid April. It has been been in the works for a while, but never came to fruition. Driving from British Columbia in our truck with camper, 3 dogs in tow. Hoping to camp for as 'cheap' as possible, 2 days without hitting a town, refilling water/dumping the porta-potty is realistic. Total time is 10 days, expecting 2 days of easy riding on travel/weather days (1-2 hours) and 5 days of more extended riding (3-6 hours).

    Extended riding would probably be up to 20-25 miles, ~4000-4500 ft of climbing, but that's about max for a couple days as we'll be in ski, not MTB shape.

    We are both strong riders, both up and down, same with the people we will be meeting. Riding solid trail bikes (Bronson, Hightower LT). Enjoy everything form scenic pedal to grunt climb to hit a gnarly descent, or a good combination of both. Mainly we just like riding bikes.

    Which area would you pick? My preference is to the ride the crap out of one area and not waste the travel day in between (considering we are hoping to make it back to the area semi-regularly). We've done Sedona and spent 5 days riding 150 miles, exhausting pretty much everything from town, some things twice. I also did the triple H ride. Though we didn't have the dogs, so we could hit up longer days.

    Anyway, looking for advice, anything you got. Is it a coin flip?
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    Moab versus St. George/Hurricane

    I lived in CO for 16 years and now SLC for almost 2. If you have never been to Moab, that takes priority especially if you are available to go during the non-summer season. Some of those rides are lifetime, tick-list trails!

    Both have lots of primitive camping options and unbelievable riding. Both have (seemingly!) horrible beer selections since they are both in Utah. You will have to deal with more ATV traffic in Moab but St George is a much bigger town. In a pinch, Vegas is close to SG/Hurricane for flights.

    Soooo.... itís a push. Canít go wrong either way. Ride on!

    Add: Fruita is only about 90 minutes to the east from Moab across the border in Colorado. Great riding and I hear they have some pretty good beer and some other stuff...



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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lactic View Post
    I lived in CO for 16 years and now SLC for almost 2. If you have never been to Moab, that takes priority especially if you are available to go during the non-summer season. Some of those rides are lifetime, tick-list trails!

    Both have lots of primitive camping options and unbelievable riding. Both have (seemingly!) horrible beer selections since they are both in Utah. You will have to deal with more ATV traffic in Moab but St George is a much bigger town. In a pinch, Vegas is close to SG/Hurricane for flights.

    Soooo.... itís a push. Canít go wrong either way. Ride on!

    Add: Fruita is only about 90 minutes to the east from Moab across the border in Colorado. Great riding and I hear they have some pretty good beer and some other stuff...



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    Thanks for the info!

    I've been to Utah once, driving, we loaded up on beer in Colorado. Kinda forgot about that, so thanks for the reminder
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  4. #4
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    If you haven't been to Moab, go there. If the overly obnoxious tourist vibe bothers you, go to Hurricane/St. George.

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    In either place, by mid-April it can get hot enough to kill your dogs if they are left inside in the middle of the afternoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    In either place, by mid-April it can get hot enough to kill your dogs if they are left inside in the middle of the afternoon.

    Thanks. We've traveled extensively in RVs for MTB with our dogs. Very aware and conscious of the limitations that could be imposed and prepared to deal/adjust our expectations accordingly.

    Edit: We've even done last minute boarding/daycare on trips if the need arose. But, seriously, thanks for the concern. Lots of people would overlook this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    If you haven't been to Moab, go there. If the overly obnoxious tourist vibe bothers you, go to Hurricane/St. George.

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    This^^^.....I actually prefer the more laid back city/area/vibe of Hurricane (and by extension St George) over Moab. I love the riding options in Moab but Im not impressed by the town at all. That being said, if you've never ridden in Moab, I'd go there because of the vast Epicness of the area. Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to ride most of The While Enchilada in April. As somebody else mentioned, you could take a day trip over to Fruita to ride as well.

    There's some great camping options up on Gooseberry Mesa and Guacamole Mesa where you can camp right on the canyon rim above Hurricane though and there is a great variety of trails. It's one of the few areas Im willing to even bother with camping. However, you'd be riding a great deal to get in 4500' of climbing down there in 25 miles.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    This^^^.....I actually prefer the more laid back city/area/vibe of Hurricane (and by extension St George) over Moab. I love the riding options in Moab but Im not impressed by the town at all. That being said, if you've never ridden in Moab, I'd go there because of the vast Epicness of the area. Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to ride most of The While Enchilada in April. As somebody else mentioned, you could take a day trip over to Fruita to ride as well.

    There's some great camping options up on Gooseberry Mesa and Guacamole Mesa where you can camp right on the canyon rim above Hurricane though and there is a great variety of trails. It's one of the few areas Im willing to even bother with camping. However, you'd be riding a great deal to get in 4500' of climbing down there in 25 miles.
    Thanks. Wasn't sure what the general topography was like in terms of elevation per mile ridden. Here in BC, we are often at 3000' per 15 miles ridden. Pretty much up or down. Less climbing per mile just means more area explored.

    If it's relatively that 'flat, we'll stretch rides out to 30-35 miles, pretty much just don't want to go over the 4000-4500' climbing mark. That seems to be more of the limiter early season (and even late season sometimes)
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  9. #9
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    Moab for trip one then go to hurricane for the next trip

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    Moab for trip one then go to hurricane for the next trip.
    Yeah. I know there isn't a wrong answer. Seems like the consensus is Moab, just been hearing so much great stuff about St. George/Hurricane, wasn't sure if it has surpassed it in some/any ways.

    We are really on a YOLO philosophy, so want to make sure I do the #1 things first. Never know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Yeah. I know there isn't a wrong answer. Seems like the consensus is Moab, just been hearing so much great stuff about St. George/Hurricane, wasn't sure if it has surpassed it in some/any ways.

    We are really on a YOLO philosophy, so want to make sure I do the #1 things first. Never know.
    Yea I'm from BC too and have been to each area once, if I had to pick 1 it would be Moab

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Thanks. Wasn't sure what the general topography was like in terms of elevation per mile ridden. Here in BC, we are often at 3000' per 15 miles ridden. Pretty much up or down. Less climbing per mile just means more area explored.
    Yeah I know, I rode LOTS last Summer. Damn near killed me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Yeah I know, I rode LOTS last Summer. Damn near killed me.
    LOTS is a special animal (well into the Mystic anyway). Pretty much a 900m/9km (3000'/5.5 mile) ascent, and that's not including flank trial, or your option, up to the start which adds another 300-400m (1000-1300' ft vertical).

    We did it August 2017 on a hot, smokey day. Definitely a climb to remember. BUT, once you got into the alpine, it was all forgotten. At least for me. Alpine riding is KING for me and LOTS has lots of it.
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  14. #14
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    Not a whole lot of steep, sustained climbing in either location. Zen is the only thing I can think of near St. George that fits that description, but Iíve only been there a couple of times. Some long road climbs in Moab, with some steep pitches, notably Sand Flats Road, which would connect you to Porc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Not a whole lot of steep, sustained climbing in either location. Zen is the only thing I can think of near St. George that fits that description, but Iíve only been there a couple of times. Some long road climbs in Moab, with some steep pitches, notably Sand Flats Road, which would connect you to Porc.


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    Don't really care if there is steep or sustained climbing, actually flatter is preferred since we'll be in skiing shape. Just didn't want to be doing super strenuous rides. Our all-winter bike training days are over.
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  16. #16
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    Just because you won't be doing a ton of climbing in either area, doesn't mean you'll be doing more miles instead. In Hurricane, you'll do 1500 feet of climbing, at most, on the mesas. You'll also do 15 miles and be pretty beat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Don't really care if there is steep or sustained climbing, actually flatter is preferred since we'll be in skiing shape. Just didn't want to be doing super strenuous rides. Our all-winter bike training days are over.
    Take up telemark skiing and you won't need winter biking to stay in shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    Moab for trip one then go to hurricane for the next trip
    That's what I did! Moab 2017 and Hurricane end of march this year for the festival.

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    I just realized you said "mid-April". The Moab Easter Jeep Safari is 4/13-4/21.

    It is a zoo. You might not want to be there at that time. It only affects a few MTB trails, but the town is pretty much gridlocked, and camping is scarce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    I just realized you said "mid-April". The Moab Easter Jeep Safari is 4/13-4/21.

    It is a zoo. You might not want to be there at that time. It only affects a few MTB trails, but the town is pretty much gridlocked, and camping is scarce.

    https://www.rr4w.com/

    I agree, you don't want to be there during that

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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    I just realized you said "mid-April". The Moab Easter Jeep Safari is 4/13-4/21.

    It is a zoo. You might not want to be there at that time. It only affects a few MTB trails, but the town is pretty much gridlocked, and camping is scarce.

    https://www.rr4w.com/
    Thanks for that. We'd be leaving the 12 and set to return the 22. So right during that time.
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    Gooseberry Mesa is as good as anything on the Whole Enchilada, with the exception of maybe the Burro Pass stuff (really it's just different, not better) but you won't be riding that in April anyway, and would be super cool to camp up there. If Moab has a big event going on (I can totally see that town being a zoo during one) I'd feel no remorse picking Hurricane/St. George over Moab. Plan on spending a day in Zion National Park while you're there, it's definitely worth a day off the bike.

  23. #23
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    Don't want to be in Moab during Jeep Safari week. In addition, you won't be able to ride much of The Whole Enchilada in mid-April, and you might find it easier to disperse camp near trailheads around Hurricane than near Moab.

    For those reasons, I recommend St. George/Hurricane over Moab for you, and save Moab for a late September trip so you can ride TWE from top to bottom.

    Edit: you'll find the riding at Gooseberry, Guacamole, and Little Creek Mesa a little reminiscent of South March Highlands: technical moves up and down on rock, with no long climbs or descents. But completely different scenery!
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    What's the current status of trails in Moab? Are there trails to be ridden currently that aren't muddy/snow covered/closed... etc? Haven't been around those parts before.

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    Moab is getting to be very crowded even on non-Jeep Safari weeks. Wonít be a problem on most MTB trails but finding camping, eating, an getting to and from the trails will be a total zoo.

    Like others, Iíd normally pick Moab first, but on that week Iíd go to StG/Hurricane. Overall I think itís nearly as good. And a few rides are better than anything but the top three Moab rides (TWE, Mag 7 to town via Gold Bar ST/Portal, Amasa/Captain Ahab).

    As far as your miles/elevation goals, you can get 25-30 miles in each day but elevation gain will be more like 1700-2500í. But they are ďmesa milesĒ which means lots of short, punchy, repeated ups and downs. Theyíll work you just as much (more?) than long extended climbs in which you accumulate 3500-4500í of climbing. For example, when I came down last time I did about 28 miles each day (two rides each day; one shorter more techy, one longer more pedally ) but only had about 1700í the first day and about 2500í the second. Itís plenty though.

    Both places are world class and youíre going to love it.


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  26. #26
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    Thanks everyone again.

    Looks like St. George/Hurricane it will be. Now to wait 2 months
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    I think my decision would be based on weather.

  28. #28
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    Bump your trip up two weeks and come to the Hurricane MTB festival.

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Bump your trip up two weeks and come to the Hurricane MTB festival.

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    Wish I could, but that was the best time to take off accounting for both my job and my partners vacation. One day (soon-ish), we'll be able to have no restrictions and will bike IT ALL!
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    I vote Moab over Southern Utah. But Easter JEEP is an issue, for sure.

    If you ride Goosberry/St.George, I would split time in Las Vegas/Henderson/Boulder City, NV. 90 mins down Interstate 15. Recommended: Cowboy Trails, Badger Pass/Cottonwood, Southwest Ridge, and Bootleg. You can get big climbs and extended downs at all four of those places (1500-2500 per 15 miles riding). Awesome tech, great flow, and beautiful scenery (Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, Las Vegas Skyline). Tons of trails, and IMO a nice compliment to Southern UT. Think a 50/50 split would be a nice mix (UT/NV).

    I live in Southern NV and ride both year round.

    BTW, open camping in Badger Pass, or campgrounds at Lake Mead are good options.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpzeroday View Post
    I vote Moab over Southern Utah. But Easter JEEP is an issue, for sure.

    If you ride Goosberry/St.George, I would split time in Las Vegas/Henderson/Boulder City, NV. 90 mins down Interstate 15. Recommended: Cowboy Trails, Badger Pass/Cottonwood, Southwest Ridge, and Bootleg. You can get big climbs and extended downs at all four of those places (1500-2500 per 15 miles riding). Awesome tech, great flow, and beautiful scenery (Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, Las Vegas Skyline). Tons of trails, and IMO a nice compliment to Southern UT. Think a 50/50 split would be a nice mix (UT/NV).

    I live in Southern NV and ride both year round.

    BTW, open camping in Badger Pass, or campgrounds at Lake Mead are good options.
    Las Vegas is 2 hours away from St. George. Even longer to any of those trailheads. Having ridden both, I wouldn't waste my time with the Nevada trails. They're fine if you're local or on a business trip and need to find a place to ride, but to leave the St. George/Hurricane area to go ride there is completely nuts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Las Vegas is 2 hours away from St. George. Even longer to any of those trailheads. Having ridden both, I wouldn't waste my time with the Nevada trails. They're fine if you're local or on a business trip and need to find a place to ride, but to leave the St. George/Hurricane area to go ride there is completely nuts.
    +1 to this advice. The Las Vegas trails can't hold a candle to STG/Hurricane in my opinion. Not worth the 4+ roundtrip drive. Maybe if you were coming up from the south anyhow, but as a detour... no way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Padlz View Post
    +1 to this advice. The Las Vegas trails can't hold a candle to STG/Hurricane in my opinion. Not worth the 4+ roundtrip drive. Maybe if you were coming up from the south anyhow, but as a detour... no way.
    +2....stay in Hurricane/St George. There's enough there to last you a couple weeks if you wanted.
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    I'll just tag onto this thread, as I came to ask almost the same thing. I had originally planned to be in Hurricane the first 2 weeks of April to do the Frog Hollow race, and then ride with friends the second week. However, due to work holiday use issues, Iíll now be going the last two weeks in March.

    So now Iím debating Hurricane vs Moab. Moab is a closer drive (1,800 km one-way), so I "save" around 600 km round-trip, which I guess in the grand scheme of things is nothing, but it's still something.

    I'll be mainly riding solo, though I do know a couple guys coming down in the second week (they're doing mostly gravel (White Rim), but some mtb as well) - is one a better choice for a solo rider? My skill level is moderate, but my goal for the trip is to work on my technical climbing ability (and skills in general), and just get in some fun miles that aren't on the trainer or -30C fatbike rides.

    I could always just make the decision based on weather, too, as I'm likely sol on finding camping now.

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    Prairie - All things being equal (weather, etc.)... For me, it would be very hard to drive right past Moab to go to STG and not stop. Sounds like you're on an extended trip (2 weeks?), if so, it's a no brainer to do both, especially if you basically have to drive by Moab to get to STG. Given your self-described riding ability, I would also suggest Fruita, CO as a great 2-3 day Moab warm up stop (if you're coming from the east via I-70 to get to Moab, you'll drive right past it anyhow). 18 Road trails are non-tech, but super fun. Kokopelli trails are a great primer to get into the Moab mindset. In Moab, I would suggest Navajo Rocks as a good starter ride. Based on how that went, you can decide what else to hit. To me, it's the quintessential intermediate trail for Moab and has a little bit of all types of Moab terrain. If you are worried about your group's riding abilities, then start at the Brand Trails, which are a true Moab beginner network (but not the same thing as a true beginner trail).

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padlz View Post
    Prairie - All things being equal (weather, etc.)... For me, it would be very hard to drive right past Moab to go to STG and not stop. Sounds like you're on an extended trip (2 weeks?), if so, it's a no brainer to do both, especially if you basically have to drive by Moab to get to STG. Given your self-described riding ability, I would also suggest Fruita, CO as a great 2-3 day Moab warm up stop (if you're coming from the east via I-70 to get to Moab, you'll drive right past it anyhow). 18 Road trails are non-tech, but super fun. Kokopelli trails are a great primer to get into the Moab mindset. In Moab, I would suggest Navajo Rocks as a good starter ride. Based on how that went, you can decide what else to hit. To me, it's the quintessential intermediate trail for Moab and has a little bit of all types of Moab terrain. If you are worried about your group's riding abilities, then start at the Brand Trails, which are a true Moab beginner network (but not the same thing as a true beginner trail).
    I was going to offer the same advice as I wouldn't want to spend a solid two weeks at either place if I was in your situation, especially after traveling that far. There's just too much variety out there to limit yourself. As far as the solo stuff, I never have a problem hooking up with people to ride with in Hurricane and they *always* seem to be from Canada. Over the Edge in Hurricane also does a "no drop' shop ride every Saturday that is intermediate paced.
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  37. #37
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    Keep in mind the Hurricane MTB festival is the last weekend in March. I'd highly recommend getting a ticket and joining the fun.

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind the Hurricane MTB festival is the last weekend in March. I'd highly recommend getting a ticket and joining the fun.

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    Yep, what they said. Stop in Fruita on the way, spend two or three days there; 4-5 days in Moab; 4-5 days in SG/Hurricane and, yes, catch the end of March Hurricane MTB Festival. Sounds like a great trip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind the Hurricane MTB festival is the last weekend in March. I'd highly recommend getting a ticket and joining the fun.

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    I'm going

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind the Hurricane MTB festival is the last weekend in March. I'd highly recommend getting a ticket and joining the fun.

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    Just checked out the website for the festival...looks like something I may have to take in!

    You've all pretty much convinced me to go the "tour de Utah" route. Might have to do a fall tour one year and take in the Park City trails!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieMTB View Post

    You've all pretty much convinced me to go the "tour de Utah" route. !
    Oh, and be sure to take a day off riding and hike in Zion NP while youíre this close. Spectacular.


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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Oh, and be sure to take a day off riding and hike in Zion NP while youíre this close. Spectacular.


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    Be sure to check out Little Creek Mesa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieMTB View Post
    You've all pretty much convinced me to go the "tour de Utah" route. Might have to do a fall tour one year and take in the Park City trails!
    I did a fairly unscripted month-long cross country tour two years ago... We ended up spending nearly half our time in Utah, it's just hard to beat what they've got going on out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Oh, and be sure to take a day off riding and hike in Zion NP while youíre this close. Spectacular.
    Absolutely. I think I enjoyed hiking Angel's Landing as much or more than riding the Whole Enchilada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Absolutely. I think I enjoyed hiking Angel's Landing as much or more than riding the Whole Enchilada.
    That's because Angels' Landing doesn't have a multi-mile section of 10-15 foot wide Jeep trail
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    That's because Angels' Landing doesn't have a multi-mile section of 10-15 foot wide Jeep trail
    Uh, those are passing lanes

    With several hundred people a day shuttled up there the wide sections should be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Uh, those are passing lanes

    With several hundred people a day shuttled up there the wide sections should be appreciated.
    Ha ha. So true. I also think of it as multiple alternate lines or doctoral level suspension testing.

    PS: Angels Landing could use some passing lanes. Crazy how busy that hike gets sometimes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    That's because Angels' Landing doesn't have a multi-mile section of 10-15 foot wide Jeep trail
    Thanks to the guy I was following, that section was NOT boring.

    He would huck to flat (or worse onto some ugly rock) then look back and laugh as he realized I was still following his lines. Had I been alone (as I started the ride) I wouldn't have done a lot of them, but I got the impression the guys I fell in with would care enough to help if I got seriously messed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Thanks to the guy I was following, that section was NOT boring.
    Yep, the jeep road section can be a lot of fun if you know some of the alternate lines/ drops, have your suspension settings dialed, have tough flat resistant tires (or inserts),.... and have a nice tailwind, ha ha.


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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Oh, and be sure to take a day off riding and hike in Zion NP while youíre this close. Spectacular.


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    You can still get to Angel's landing and Emerald Pools.

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    If you settle on St George, you should look up Thunder Mtn trail near Bryce Canyon. Easy to add on the way up or down and amazing terrain.

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    I recently visited Moab three times in eleven months (spring/fall/spring). One spring trip was spur of the moment; with three of us going, vacation avails conspired and planets aligned on one week only: Jeep Safari Week. That was it, no other options. We considered cancelling the whole trip but decided what the hell, we want to ride our bikes so we went to Moab on Jeep Safari Week.

    Here's the deal. Did you read the comments above from people who said the wouldn't go to Moab during Jeep Safari Week? Well that's exactly the way it was -- hardly anybody else on bikes there. The bike trails were nearly abandoned. We had so much fun that we decided that if we ever go to Moab in the spring again, we'll go on Jeep Safari Week.

    Now the disclaimer. We were camping. Yeah, the town itself is a zoo. All rooms are taken and I can't imagine there's any fun in trying to go out to dinner. But if you're camping and cooking, I bet you'll be good. Yeah, the campgrounds are busy but we had no problem finding a campsite (King's Bottom) and we noticed a few sites open up during the week we were there. Arrive a day or two before Jeep Safari Week if you can.

    Although the trails will be practically all yours, there are places where you'll see jeeps and these experiences can be rather entertaining. We spent some time enjoying the rock crawling entertainment on Amasa Back's most hectic section. Met some nice jeepers, too.
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    Good advice here - I've been bouncing around between Moab/STG/Sedona over the past few months so while I am not a local, I do have some very current experiences as a visitor/rider.

    First the bad:

    • Vegas/Bootleg Canyon etc... not worth it if Moab or STG are an option. That's fun if you have to be in the area but not a separate destination. All Mountain Cyclery is a great shop if you are in the area anyway.
    • The weather has been NUTS this year - many places at higher elevations are still unridable (aka Gooseberry) and its raining/snowing right now. This is really the most critical variable to consider when traveling for spring season riding in the Southwest U.S.
    • I'm gonna disagree and say avoid any jeep week or other non-MTB events. The towns are full of fat rednecks and you will eventually run into riff-raff on the trails or in the (small) cities. Not saying it couldn't work, but given the choice, I'd avoid it. You spend much more time off the bike than on it, so that has to be a consideration.


    The good:

    • Can't go wrong with Moab OR STG. They are both epic and you could spend a lifetime doing all the trails. Like others have said, Moab has the name recognition but isn't necessarily the best of the available options.
    • If I had a week, I'd do 2 days each in Moab, STG and Sedona as opposed to sitting in one place for a week and riding the "B" trails.
    • As far as towns themselves go, Moab is a dusty little highway town with not much going on. STG (and by extension, Hurricane, La Verkin, etc..) is a little more lively and is close to Zion/Bryce NP's which are epic destinations on their own. Sedona, while not in/near a national park, is WAY better for things to do off the bike and overall scenery and access to flowy trails. It's a half day drive from STG, but very different and (IMHO) you would be blowing it if you were nearby and didn't check it out.


    Anyway, just my $.02 as I sit here watching it rain and trying to figure out where to go tomorrow

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlankSpanker View Post
    [*]The weather has been NUTS this year - many places at higher elevations are still unridable (aka Gooseberry) and its raining/snowing right now. This is really the most critical variable to consider when traveling for spring season riding in the Southwest U.S.
    This is what I'm struggling with right now...set to arrive in Hurricane on the 17th, so hoping for a few nice days, but then it looks like rain, and then rain for when I head back up through Moab (depending on which weather site I go to). It's tough to justify a solo 40-hour round-trip to not experience all the goodness. Though it could just whet my appetite for a trip next year - maybe fly in for True Grit.

    I might bring along the road bike so I can still get in some mileage if it's raining. And it looks like there's a ton of other great outdoor things to do, like hiking and trail running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieMTB View Post
    It's tough to justify a solo 40-hour round-trip to not experience all the goodness.
    Honestly, your biggest mistake would be to NOT go because then you WON'T have a good trip.

    With that said, I do also do pack hiking shoes and a road bike because there are some great things to do in those areas aside from just MTB riding. I hiked all over Arches/Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse SP a few weeks ago in Moab when it was snowing, and also got epic Zion hikes and TT'ed the canyon and tunnel roads up/back on my road bike just because it is a stunning setting and there was no one around. Also got some great meals and met some great people from all over the place - none of this depends on the weather or trails being perfect.

    Often, it's more about the adventure of it all than having everything go perfectly. You can only control what you can control, and then there is an inevitable leap of faith - always better to be on the road than on the couch

    Good luck, let us know how it goes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Keep in mind the Hurricane MTB festival is the last weekend in March. I'd highly recommend getting a ticket and joining the fun.

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    Does anyone mind talking about what makes this experience better than hitting the trails when they aren't so crowded? It kinda sounds like it would be full of bikes and just a big hassle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    Does anyone mind talking about what makes this experience better than hitting the trails when they aren't so crowded? It kinda sounds like it would be full of bikes and just a big hassle.
    Even with the festival, nothing is "full of bikes". St. George/Hurricane needs another two decades of press and popularity before we become as crowded as Moab is now. Festivals are just fun. Demo bikes, get good food and swag. Meet like minded people. Get shown some trails and features you wouldn't find on your own. Just basically have a party, but on a mountain bike. I am a pretty anti-social person if left to my own devices but even I have a ton of fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I am a pretty anti-social person if left to my own devices but even I have a ton of fun.
    That's pretty cool because in a lot a places, MTB festivals are a zoo and the locals resent the people coming to ride "their" trails. It's a little odd since I've never really seen "too many" people on an MTB trail, and the influx of dollars and attention usually have positive side effects. Entire towns have been put back on the map due to "cyclo-tourism" such as Leadville, CO, Moab, etc... I think STG is playing it's cards right by actually encouraging trail building and these types of events. Good on ya!

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlankSpanker View Post
    Entire towns have been put back on the map due to "cyclo-tourism" such as Leadville, CO, Moab, etc... I think STG is playing it's cards right by actually encouraging trail building and these types of events. Good on ya!
    MTB'ing brought more money to Moab for sure but that town didn't need bikes. They were doing fine with Jeeps, dirt bikes, the river and National Parks. If anything, the influx of MTB'ing (and the crowds it brings) has caused that town to burst at the seams in a negative way in my opinion....and I'm a mountain biker. The riding is great but not much else.
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    Yeah, I agree - riding bikes in Moab is good despite the town, not because of it.

    To be fair, I've driven through St. George for decades on the way to Zion/Bryce and always just thought of it as a place to get gas and scape bugs off the windshield. Never even occurred to me that there could be world class MTB trails, and to a degree, much of that is due to a favorable relationship with the town government, growth (fastest growing town in the US), cooperative BLM and other factors.

    Most of us think of California/Arizona/Utah/Colorado but imagine all the places that have just crazy good riding in Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, etc... but that don't have access or favorable conditions - yikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlankSpanker View Post
    First the bad:

    • Vegas/Bootleg Canyon etc... not worth it if Moab or STG are an option.

    I disagree with this. Bootleg Canyon is an awesome place to ride. They've also added a bunch of more intermediate trails (Boy Scout/Girl Scout/Caldera, etc.) to provide riding options for all skill levels. Kevorkian, Armageddon, and Snake Back are scary fun trails. I was there on Sunday and had a great time.

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    If not in close proximity to Vegas, Bootleg Canyon (aka Hooch Highway), would be just another rocky, dusty, cactusy waste of dirt. Also, if you sit close to the UFO building at the top, your teeth will vibrate loose and you will have kids with 3 heads.

    Just bustin' ya ballz - it's a pretty cool place to ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Even with the festival, nothing is "full of bikes". St. George/Hurricane needs another two decades of press and popularity before we become as crowded as Moab is now. Festivals are just fun. Demo bikes, get good food and swag. Meet like minded people. Get shown some trails and features you wouldn't find on your own. Just basically have a party, but on a mountain bike. I am a pretty anti-social person if left to my own devices but even I have a ton of fun.

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    I actually have that weekend off from work. Slightly considering it. Anyone looking for a buddy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    I actually have that weekend off from work. Slightly considering it. Anyone looking for a buddy?
    GO!!! Unless you're a total introvert, it's easy to hook with people to ride with. The best part of the event, as mentioned by SilentFoe, is the camaraderie shared by all the like minded individuals that are at the event for the same reason you are. It's a blast to "talk shop" about your bikes, the demo bikes you rode, the trails you rode, etc...You will meet people from all over the US and Canada at the minimum. If I wasn't going to Sedona the weekend prior, I'd be going out for the Hurricane Festival.
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    Update on the trip.

    Had a great time, very impressed with the trails in Hurricane and St. George. Was nice that there wasn't much climbing either for the early season ski legs.

    Run down of the trip:

    Left Friday morning, arrived in Hurricane Saturday 6pm without stressing ourselves too much. Note on the drive, when you pull into a small southwest town and see a pink bristol board sign, hand written that says 'Mexican Tacos', follow it. We ended up in a families garages, with a clean, psuedo commercial kitchen doing take-out Mexican food. It was excellent.

    We had arranged to meet two other couples from BC in the area and pulled into the Jem trails where one couple had set up a quick camp. So we did a little 1hr ride before sunset with the dogs for everyone to stretch their legs. The Jem trails were perfect for that, being pretty flat, flowy and non-technical.

    Sunday we moved camp to Gooseberry and did a big CCW loop including Secret trail. Had a great time, was pretty beat near the end with the heat/sun and physical/technical riding, but worth it.

    Monday we went over and hit up Guacamole CW. Second favorite ride/trails.

    Tuesday the rain was supposed to roll in at 2pm, so we drove out to Little Creek Mesa for 10am. Exactly when the rain started and rained steady for our entire ride. I enjoyed the riding, but once we were soaked to the bone, it wasn't warm enough to be pleasant. We only did the Little Creek Mesa proper trail and cut out early (15K/10miles). Not to mention the noise coming off the bikes with the wet sand grinding in the drive train/brakes was not pleasant.

    After heading into town to wash bikes and ourselves we drove back out to the camp on Gooseberry (we were in our truck camper, but our friends both had trailers set up out there in a primo campsite). After 6 hours of solid rain, the drive back up to camp was interesting to say the least. Definitely heed advice to avoid driving certain roads, especially if you are in a 2wd or even AWD without the best clearance or tires. A proper high clearance 4x4 in 4hi with good tires and knowing you have 4low as back-up was the only reason I attempted to go back up to the group camp. Had we been solo, I would have camped else where with the truck camper.

    Wednesday we had a lazy morning to let the sun come out and dry stuff out. We then shuttled a truck down to the bottom of Grafton Mesa. Then riding from camp we did Gander, Dig It and then Grafton Mesa descent. By far the best ride of the trip. Views, fun flowy and some super tech trail. Highly recommend this ride (as a note, after Gander, duck out and ride around on the road to the Grafton Mesa trails and don't do Grafton wash, which has a bad hike a bike, we were fortunate to have that intel before). After we pilled into the truck, we did a quick lap of Wire Mesa to finish of the day before heading back to camp. That was a quick sub 1hr lap, mainly to say we did it.

    Thursday we took an easy morning and road Windmill with the dogs, which could be used to extend Gander trail. We then went into Hurricane for supplies and checked out the boy scout trails. By this point it was mid afternoon and hot/sunny. We tried to rally, but just didn't have it in us to explore too much. We ended up just doing a quick 40 minute loop there and went looking for ice cream.

    Friday saw our other friends leave, but a new set drive in from NW Washington. After another easy morning, we met them at Zen trail head and did that loop in the mid afternoon sun. It was hot, but a fun 1.5 hour rip.

    Saturday we then went to the Santa Clara Trails and did Barrel Roll/Sidewinder/Suicidal Tendencies. Another fun rip with a good combination of climbing, fast with some technical thrown in. We then rolled out post ride and started back, arriving in Rossland Sunday night about 8pm.

    Overall, really liked the trails in the area. Having ridden Sedona and now Hurricane St. George, I like Sedona better, but am not complaining (kinda like your favorite kinda icecream). Can't wait to hit Moab, hopefully next spring. More importantly I can't wait until we get a little more time and can spend significant portions of late March to early may generally in the SW riding.

    Random comment. Of all the things, the riding in the Mesa's (Gooseberry, Gucamole and Little Creek) really reminded me of riding around Halifax NS. Lots of exposed rock, with lots of technical moves up onto and off them. The only difference being the desert versus coastal maritime environments.

    Moab versus St. George/Hurricane-screen-shot-2019-04-22-3.00.03-pm.jpgMoab versus St. George/Hurricane-screen-shot-2019-04-22-3.03.09-pm.jpg
    Straight outta Rossland

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    Great report.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    Does anyone mind talking about what makes this experience better than hitting the trails when they aren't so crowded? It kinda sounds like it would be full of bikes and just a big hassle.
    I did 2 fall Outerbike in Moab, so here is the thing about crowds - if you are doing shuttles and you are not on first ones - you'll have heavy traffic on trail so if you are riding faster/better then regular crowd - you'll be constantly looking for section to pass slower riders and while its not a big deal (for me at least) - it still sucks a bit.
    However if you are first in line for demo (or in BYOB camp) and off on one of the very first shuttles - trail is yours. Rule of thumb - the earlier you are off - the better riding you'll get (weather permitting).

    Epic rides like Slickrock could be kinda crowded any day, but it doesn't compare to dozens and dozens of riders been shuttled to a single trail head during the fest.

    Bad weather (if its not preventing your ride altogether like it did with my attempt to do Whole Enchilada last October) - is your friend. First time we did Slickrock in 2017 it was cold, a bit rainy and very windy and we met only 2 other riders on the whole trail even we were riding it anti-clockwise. That was really awesome to have it all for ourselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Update on the trip.

    Had a great time, very impressed with the trails in Hurricane and St. George. Was nice that there wasn't much climbing either for the early season ski legs.
    Thx for the great report!

    Btw, doing moguls helps with legs for summer, plus its the way to warm up when you are skiing at -25/30C without going inside

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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    Thx for the great report!

    Btw, doing moguls helps with legs for summer, plus its the way to warm up when you are skiing at -25/30C without going inside
    Yes it does. We ski a lot, including slack and backcountry. Groomers just get us from place to place when needed and there aren't even many at our mountain. Plus we fatbike a little and do a fair amount of ungroomed XC skiing.

    Compared to historically, when we were racing seriously, our fitness come spring is pretty pitiful, but relatively we are still in pretty good shape.
    Straight outta Rossland

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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    Thx for the great report!

    Btw, doing moguls helps with legs for summer, plus its the way to warm up when you are skiing at -25/30C without going inside
    I got in 79 days of skiing almost exclusively bumps and powder....good season in Utah....on telemark gear. My first ride I felt like King Kong!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I got in 79 days of skiing almost exclusively bumps and powder....good season in Utah....on telemark gear.
    79 days! Wow. I clocked only 25 this year, with 7 days straight in the Alps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    79 days! Wow. I clocked only 25 this year, with 7 days straight in the Alps.
    The advantages of being permanently unemployed and living 8 miles from the ski area. I really should hit Snowbird sometime this spring to make it an even 80. I'm a slacker....some of the other old farts are getting 100+ days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    The advantages of being permanently unemployed and living 8 miles from the ski area. I really should hit Snowbird sometime this spring to make it an even 80. I'm a slacker....some of the other old farts are getting 100+ days.
    These 'farts' are probably in better shape then me ...
    I wonder if you are not getting bored skiing the same area again and again? It's not a small hill, but its not a massive space like '3 valleys' or 'Espace Killy'?

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    These 'farts' are probably in better shape then me ...
    I wonder if you are not getting bored skiing the same area again and again? It's not a small hill, but its not a massive space like '3 valleys' or 'Espace Killy'?
    About 15 years ago I did get bored with skiing, but it was because it was kind of the same old thing (I'd been skiing for 40 years by then). Also, though it is good exercise, and I did concentrate on moguls just because that presents different challenges on every run, it was dropping me off into mountain biking season in less than good shape.

    I decided to take up telemark skiing as a way to freshen up the experience and haven't alpine skied since.

    I should say 8 miles from the nearest area. My normal season is a few early days at Grand Targhee, as they almost always get early snow, Park City/Canyons (they had a smokin' deal last year $99 full season for retired military - going up to a whopping $129 next year) and because I'm over 65, half price at Deer Valley (which includes an Ikon pass! Full season with blackouts at Solitude + days at Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and I'll hit a couple of days at Big Sky). It's crazy!

    Anyway, telemarking all season drops me off into mountain biking season in great shape....for the shape I'm in!


    I love the Alps, but I hit them in fall for hiking. And the food! Oh, my, God, the food. Tomato sauce begins its day as a baby tomato. The cows munch on arugula salads in Alpine meadows in Zermatt (I pity the cows in Kamas!), so the dairy is absurdly good. Local hunters provide venison cheeks (cheeks, for goodness sake!) for dinner. And for some reason, small portions devoid of high fructose corn syrup are actually satisfying. Oh, man, now you got me started......

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