Winter riding around Zion/St. George/Virgin- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Winter riding around Zion/St. George/Virgin

    I backpacked Zion several times in college, but the wife has never been to the park. She's wanting to head that way over our winter break (Dec 26-Jan 6), and I'm up for it, especially if my riding son and I can sneak some riding in around the surrounding areas.

    So... what's the riding like in the area during the winter? My 12 year old son is a ripper and prefers downhill/jump/flow to long XC epics, but he's not adverse to climbing, especially if he's rewarded with downhill. My wife can also shuttle us if there are good shuttle rides in the area.

    Mainly curious whether snow/moisture messes up trails much in the winter. We're fine riding in cold weather, as we ride year round in Arkansas, moisture permitting.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated... or just telling us that we'd be better off coming back in the Spring.

  2. #2
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    Here's a list of trails in the area near Hurricane, Utah.
    Hurricane and Gooseberry Area Mountain Bike Trails

    I've been down there, biking in February in a light flannel shirt....like 60 degrees or so.
    Contact "Over the Edge Sports" in Hurricane and they can give you lots of weather and trail condition info at the time.

  3. #3
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    The riding is usually pretty awesome in the winter. Usually.

  4. #4
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    I've been there in early December and late January. Both times it was COLD, as in high 20's to low 30's in the morning and later armed up into the 50's & 60's. There isn't a ton of DH or "flow" in the area but it can be had in spurts....especially if your wife runs a shuttle for you.

    The JEM Trail has some high speed, low intermediate flow.

    Grafton Mesa has some, chunky, gnarly DH type stuff and even a road gap if you're game.

    Barrel Roll and Zen Trail have some trails that go DH once you earn it with some climbing.
    Carpe Diem!!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the advice. It sounds like we're going to move forward on this trip.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. It sounds like we're going to move forward on this trip.
    Iím likely to be around between Christmas and New Years. DM me and maybe we can ride together. Iím a big fan of Green Valley, which is a 7 mile loop with some elevation gain and loss.

  7. #7
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    Definitely do it. Just roll with what the weather deals you. That New Years window can be 50 degrees, but also can have highs in the 30s. (basically what k2rider1964 said). I usually don't venture up onto the mesas that time of year since it can be 10 degrees colder up there. Plenty of riding in the JEM area, as well as the St. George and Washington stuff. Again - check with OTE for trail conditions since some trails hold up better with moisture and some are a no-go.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johno_slc View Post
    Iím likely to be around between Christmas and New Years. DM me and maybe we can ride together. Iím a big fan of Green Valley, which is a 7 mile loop with some elevation gain and loss.
    Awesome! We are looking at an AirBNB in Apple Valley. Out of curiosity: are there in DJ or BMX parks in the area (planning which bikes to bring).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    Awesome! We are looking at an AirBNB in Apple Valley. Out of curiosity: are there in DJ or BMX parks in the area (planning which bikes to bring).
    Theres the bike park. I haven't been but here's a couple links.

    https://www.sgcity.org/parkstrailsan...ks/snakehollow

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyG2w9_olzA
    Carpe Diem!!

  10. #10
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    Sweet! I remember seeing video of that place when it opened up. Very cool! My son will be stoked.

  11. #11
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    If you are staying in Apple Valley, you'll be my neighbor. Weather conditions fluctuate frequently that time of year but here are some solid bets:

    The entire Hurricane Rim system will not be rideable. This is the first trail system to go when it gets wet.

    The mesas will most likely be out. If you can get onto Gooseberry, the trail should be good, just don't force your way up there through the mud or you'll likely need a tow off. Check out Matt's Towing and Recovery on YouTube for some videos of idiots who didn't heed that advice.

    You can almost always get onto Little Creek but that's deceptive as the trail itself doesn't hold up in the wet. This trail gets hammered by ********s in the winter because "they drove all the way out there" so they ride anyway. Don't be that guy.

    For people who like downhill, we have very little. Especially in the winter.

    I would actually advise against staying near me in Apple Valley in the winter because, while strategically placed for great riding most of the year, we're higher at 4800 feet and you'll be driving a lot to get to good riding in the winter. Better to stay in St. George.

    Some great winter trails are the Boy Scout trails but that is a boxing match that you have to fight the whole way through. If you are a skilled rider and used to that, or open to try new things, you'll love it. If you thrive on flow, you'll hate it.

    Pm me if you want and I'll give you my number and we can talk.

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    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  12. #12
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    If your son likes dh/jumps/bike parks it would be worth poking around the 'old' rampage site up past the bmx track in Virgin. There's lots of small jumps/features/lines that a keen kid would like.

  13. #13
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    We're now looking at staying in Virgin instead of Apple Valley. Is the weather better there? My kid is extremely excited about the old rampage site after watching some recent vids of people riding there.

  14. #14
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    The weather will be slightly warmer in Virgin compared to Apple Valley. Not much for services in either town. You"d have to travel to Springdale or La Verkin/Hurkin for restaurants, groceries, gas, etc. Easy access to some burly trails like the old rampage site, flying monkey, and nephi's twist. Also, you'll have simple access to the guacamole trail network and the jem trail network. Depending on your vehicle, you wouldn't be too far from the wire mesa, graton mesa, and gooseberry trails as well. Just a gnarly drive up to the top of cry baby hill. Of course, all of these trails will be weather dependent. What are the dates that you will be here?

    I used a ton of information from you when we planned a trip to Bentonville in August and would love to help you out with your trip out here. Feel free to use me as a resource for your trip now.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liip schitz View Post
    The weather will be slightly warmer in Virgin compared to Apple Valley. Not much for services in either town. You"d have to travel to Springdale or La Verkin/Hurkin for restaurants, groceries, gas, etc. Easy access to some burly trails like the old rampage site, flying monkey, and nephi's twist. Also, you'll have simple access to the guacamole trail network and the jem trail network. Depending on your vehicle, you wouldn't be too far from the wire mesa, graton mesa, and gooseberry trails as well. Just a gnarly drive up to the top of cry baby hill. Of course, all of these trails will be weather dependent. What are the dates that you will be here?

    I used a ton of information from you when we planned a trip to Bentonville in August and would love to help you out with your trip out here. Feel free to use me as a resource for your trip now.
    Awesome. Thanks!

    It sounds like Virgin doesn't have much. We like getting remote, but we also like to be able to get groceries and such. There's an AirBNB in La Verkin as well, so we may look into that one instead of Virgin and just drive out to the riding.

    We're planning on leaving Arkansas on Christmas Day, then we'll likely stay in ABQ that night. Then get up and drive the rest of the way. So we're looking at Dec 26th-Jan 2nd (give or take a day on the end of the trip) for the dates we will bein Utah.

    We'll be in an AWD vehicle, but not anything burly (Either an Outback or an MDX), so I don't think we'll be getting too adventurous on where we drive. We certainly don't have to get hardcore with the riding every day (my older son and wife are barely into riding and will want to hike and explore more than ride), so if we have some days that we can't ride due to moisture or cold.. that's okay.

    I'm just hoping that there's a good chance that we will have SOME rideable days within the window of our visit. Driving that far and not getting to ride due to huge snows would kind of suck.

    Hope your Bville trip was good! I imagine it was great... other than likely being very, very hot in August.

  16. #16
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    Virgin and LaVerkin are 5-7 minutes apart, so it is really sixes on where you stay. If you want the lodging closer to stores/restaurants/gas stations, etc, then stay in LaVerkin. If you want your lodging closer to the trails, stay in Virgin.
    There is a grocery store right at the intersection where Hwy 9 comes into town at State street, across from a gas station. It would be maybe a 7 minute drive from a house in Virgin. There is also a small grocery store in Springdale out by Zion if you need to hit one that way.
    But you could ride from a house in Virgin right to the Jem system and others.
    Really, anywhere in Hurricane/LaVerkin/Virgin is so close it doesn't matter much.
    Apple Valley is different because it is accessed much further south.

  17. #17
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    Hogfly,
    Based on recs that you made on the southwest forum, I rode Slaughter Pen (stumbled on a trail called skidmark...DAMN), Coler, Lake Leatherwood DH, and The Great Passion Play. I had an absolute blast and was blown by some of the trail building. Based on what I saw and rode, the most similar trail that we have out here would be The Barrel Trail in St George (not to be confused with Barrel roll in Santa Clara). Initial climb is about 750' and then has a fast, fun, steep,technical descent with some cool stunts mixed in. A few of the drops and gaps you may want to stop and look at before you hit it blind, kind of like the Lake Leatherwood DH stuff. It's not super long but would be a great combo with the St George Bike Park as they aren't very far from each other.

    As far as weather goes, several trails are almost always in play: Prospector/Church Rocks (Washington), the aforementioned Boy Scout Trails (Hurricane), Zen Trail (fairly technical trail in St George), and Barrel Roll Trail (Santa Clara). Utahmountainbiking.com is a great supplement to trailforks or mtb project and gives a pretty in depth description of each of our trails out here and a great resource for deciding what to ride.

    Typically, I'd be stoked to take you out and ride with ya but the timing doesnt work for me this year as I'll be recovering from back surgery. It will, however, give me plenty of screen time to help answer any questions you might have.

  18. #18
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    Probably ought to stay somewhere in the geographic center of the hiking and biking trails. Identify plenty of options for each with weather, road and trail conditions dictating your trail navigation methods. Stay in touch with the local bike shops on a weekly basis and monitor local weather. I've been able to ride everything here year around some years and been restricted to Prospector/Churchrocks trails for weeks other years. Don't forget about renting an off road vehicle to ride the dunes and tech trails in and around Sand Hollow. Winter is unpredictable around here but better than many locations. March, April and May are more likely to make everyone happy.

  19. #19
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    All good suggestions here. Nothing to add except I think my Airbnb is open those dates if youíre still looking for a place to stay. Shoot me a pm if interested. Itís centrally located right on the edge of the Virgin River Gorge. Ten minutes to JEM, twenty minutes to Guacamole or Zen. Twenty five to Grafton or Zion.

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1711123...smMnjXd2#modal



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