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Top George Mountain Bike Trails

top george mountain bike trails

In the southwest corner of Utah, lies the city of St. George. It’s one of the best riding spots in the desert southwest boasting an extensive trail system. Riding in this city has incredible diversity as does the landscape surrounding it.

So how do I know this? Well, I interviewed MTB fans in George and talked to some who had almost every trail in the area. They gave me information concerning their experiences on the mountain bike trails listed below. I was able to consult with local biking associations to create this article. Continue reading for more information on top George mountain bike trails.

Bottom Line Up Front

If you are looking for a trail with an amazing set of anticlines, then choose the Barrel and Zen Trails. They offer some of the most fun and technical riding in St. George. Additionally, the rip-roaring descents make the trails suitable for downhill and uphill riders.

For riders who prefer mind-blowing terrain, then Gooseberry Mesa Trail is the best. Alternatively, I recommend the Hurricane Rim-Goulds Rim-J.E.M Trails for an epic cross-country loop. The trails are best for riders who prefer a few hours of quality ride time.

Top 11 George Mountain Bike Trails

I conducted a series of interviews and consultations with George mountain bike trail enthusiasts. This is how I was able to compile a list of the best mountain bike trails in St. George. Whether you are a novice or avid biker, there is an option for you in George. Take a look!

Barrel and Zen Trails

Barrel and Zen Trails

West of St. George lies an amazing set of anticlines that offer some of the most fun and technical riding in the area. The 6-mile Zen Trail is among the favorite trails in George. It features an extended climb with a rip-roaring descent down the 15-mile Barrel Trail.

When you start at the main Zen TH, you notice some easy traversing. This is on the northern side, where there’s the main climb to the top of the Barrel Trail. Most riders prefer to climb a combination of single-track and fire road.

Barrel Trail offers one of the toughest climbs in the area. So if you are an uphill fan then be ready for an interesting ride. Note that riding down there are quite a few technical spots that you need to be careful of.

The superfast single-track features technical rocky areas. So you need to stay on your toes. The good thing about the trail is the couple of “play areas” near the bottom. They offer gap jumps and tabletops.

Head south to the main climb of the Zen Trail once you hit the bottom of the Barrel Trail. The bottom half is fairly smooth and easy with low-lying rocks. However, the top half section is a bit technical and offers you a taste of what to expect on the descent.

The terrain changes to shelfy rock and gigantic house-sized boulders that are truly a blast to ride. Without a doubt, the Zen Trail is an amazing 3-mile descent that will throw everything at you. So get ready!

Pros

  • Rip-roaring descent
  • Best for up/downhill riders
  • Offers gap jumps and tabletops
  • It features technical rocky areas
  • It has a combination of single-track and fire road

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Lacks water stations

Gooseberry Mesa Trail

Gooseberry Mesa Trail

If there is a trail that should be on the bucket list of every mountain biker in George it’s the Gooseberry Mesa Trail. The terrain is mind-blowing.

The trail is located at the base of Zion National Park. Sitting just outside of Hurricane it offers amazing views of the park together with the other mesas in the area. Gooseberry features a 700 vertical feet climb over a 15-mile stretch. Riders who I interviewed said the trail is better than a cardio workout.

It offers a full-body workout that will leave you beaten and bruised, obviously in a good way. Most of the riding is on Slickrock which features quick ups and downs. These are combined with some technical obstacles that you’ll struggle with. Most riders stated they loved the challenge.

Gooseberry Trail is mostly a combination of lefts and rights and drops with grunty climbs. There is a fun challenge around every corner since there’s never a long stretch of climbing or descending.

I recommend this trail to riders who love photography considering the area is a photographer’s dream. It’s known as one of the most aesthetic trails in George.

Pros

  • Amazing views of the park
  • It features 700 vertical feet climb
  • It offers a full-body workout
  • Best for riders who love photography
  • There are quick ups and downs

Cons

  • Usually busy on weekends
  • Some sections are narrow

Little Creek Mesa Trail

 

If the Gooseberry Mesa Trail is the roller coaster, then I can say that the Little Creek Mesa Trail is the amusement park. Being larger in scale, the trail sits just south of Gooseberry Mesa. Unlike Gooseberry Trail, Little Creek Mesa has long stretches of Slickrock.

 

The trail features ledges and valleys with challenges that you’ll want to try over and over. It also offers a mix of diverse terrain with stretches of dirt and packed sand. Some sections ride through vegetation and low-lying trees.

If you are a more technically advanced rider then this is the most suitable trail. However, don’t shun away if you are a novice rider. You can always hop off your bike and walk your bike through any challenging sections.

The open Slickrock and single-track trail pass through stunning scenery. It’s peppered with pinon pines and junipers against a backdrop of classic desert terrain. Riders get a chance to experience the amazing views of Zion National Park from the edge of Mesa. This is together with archaeological gems such as ancient petroglyphs along the route.

The Magic Carpet Ride is located on the West Mesa Loop which is the main loop. Besides being easier than the rest of the trails, it’s also well-marked. This loop connects with the Eastern Loop which offers a variety of technical Slickrock riding.

If you are looking for an off-trail diversion featuring other outdoor activities, you can check out the nearby Sand Hollow State Park. It attracts a lot of watersport enthusiasts making it a great spot for getaways with the kids.

Note that you can get lost on your way to and from the trail. This is why you should go with someone conversant with the trail network. Keep in mind there are trail guides that can show you where to find the easy spots.

Pros

  • It features ledges and valleys
  • Amazing views of the Zion National Park
  • It offers a variety of technical Slickrock riding
  • Passes through stunning scenery
  • Great spot for getaways with the kids

Cons

  • You can easily get lost
  • There are sections where novice riders have to walk their bikes

Hurricane Rim-Goulds Rim-J.E.M Trails

For an epic cross-country loop, this 20 miles of networked rollercoaster single-track connects 3 trails. They are Hurricane Rim Trail, J.E.M (John, Ellen, Mike) Trails, and Goulds Rim Trail. The trail network is best for riders who want to log a few hours of quality ride time.

The trails are located west of Zion National Park. The fact that you can start your ride at any of the 3 trailheads makes the trail unique. Even though the trails feature some advanced technical sections, they are primarily intermediate.

The views are spectacular with average climbing and great downhill flow. If you don’t want to ride the full distance of all the 3 loops, then the J.E.M Trail is a nice out-and-back. To get there, head east towards Zion National Park after the junction of S.R. 9 and S.R 17.

The single-track starts at the end of the turnaround. This is one of the trails in George that you’ll live to remember. Unfortunately, none of these trails has a water station. You need to carry sufficient water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.

Pros

  • Networked rollercoaster single-track trails
  • Best for intermediate riders
  • It features some advanced sections
  • Spectacular views
  • It has 3 trailheads

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Lacks water stations

Guacamole Mesa (Virgin) Trail

If you like the Gooseberry Mesa Trails, then you’ll also enjoy the terrain of the Guacamole Mesa Trail. It’s located near Zion National Park. For you to access the terrain, you’ll need a 4×4 vehicle. There are 2 loops that bikers can choose from.

You can opt for the Whole Enchilada which is an 11-mile flow loop with an alternating Slickrock and single-track trail. Alternatively, go for the Guacamole Trail. The 2.2-mile loop features peek-a-boo views of the Virgin River amid a wild expanse of red rock in every direction.

Ensure that you look for the cairns to avoid getting lost in the dip. This is because finding the trail can be a bit iffy in some places. The Holy Guacamole extension loop offers a spicy detour featuring technical sections in the mix. The spectacular views and scenery make this difficult loop worth the effort.

After the end of your ride, you can check out the natural hot springs pools. They are located within the Virgin River Canyons between La Verkin and Hurricane. However, note that the Pah Tempe Hot Springs is officially closed.Pros

  • It features 2 loops
  • Spectacular views of the Virgin River
  • It features natural hot springs pools
  • Smooth and easy riding
  • Best for experienced riders

Cons

  • You can easily get lost in the dip
  • Trails aren’t well-marked

Bearclaw Poppy Trail

 

For riders of all fitness and ability levels, St. George’s Bearclaw Poppy Trail is the best. One good thing about the trail is that it’s open all year round. Additionally, it can also be done as a quick out-and-back before or after work.

 

Being close to town makes it not that technical. However, ambitious MTB riders can easily connect this trail with the Zen or Stucki Springs trails. They are among the more conditioned trails.

On this trail, downhill riders have the right of way. This is because the trail is located in a wilderness preserve area. It’s named after the Bearclaw Poppy flower which is an endangered species of flora. It only blooms briefly in the spring. To avoid endangering the flower further you need to ensure you stay on the trail.

Bearclaw Poppy Trail has fairly steady and gradual-grade climbing. It features numerous fun rollers, berms, and mellow drops. To the north of the intersection at Navajo Drive and Paiute Road lies one of the trailheads.

Other trailheads are located at Bloomington and Green Valley. They are 4 miles apart making it easy to choose the direction you would use.

Pros

  • Best for riders of all fitness and ability levels
  • You can easily do the trail as a quick out-and-back before or after work
  • It features numerous fun rollers, berms, and mellow drops
  • Less technical terrain
  • It has steady and gradual-grade climbing

Cons

  • Not recommended for experienced riders
  • You can get easily get lost if you don’t stay on the trail

Thor’s Hideout Trail

Thor’s Hideout Mountain Bike Trail

Are you an experienced rider who wants a challenge? If yes, then Thor’s Hideout Trail is a great option. It’s located in Thunderbird Gardens which is about 5 minutes from SUU. The 3.4-mile trail is best for upper-intermediate skilled bikers.

There are plenty of rock squeeze plays, tight turns, and steep side-slopes on the trail. It starts with an easy ride on an ATV trail. After approximately 0.35 miles the ATV track turns into a single-track. At the next right turn, the trail automatically rejoins the ATV trail. However, after approximately 0.5 miles it leaves the ATV trail again.

Between 0.65 and 0.9 miles, you’ll briefly rejoin the ATV trail. At 1.5 miles you’ll reach a fork in the road. It marks the little loop that starts you on your way back. At mile 1.7, where the trail reaches a ridgeline, the loop turns back.

Here, you have the choice of going around the loop. Alternatively, you can continue downhill to Highway 14. If you choose to go to Highway 14 then you’ll have 2 route options. You can either go down the paved Coal Creek bike trail or ride the Red Mountain Trail.

Even though Thor’s Hideout Trail is short, it intermixes with other trails with different experiences. What will make you love this trail is it’s marked and has free parking.

Pros

  • Best for upper-intermediate riders
  • Offers plenty of rock squeeze plays and tight turns
  • It intermixes with other trails
  • It features marked trails
  • Free parking

Cons

  • There are no water stations
  • Not best for beginners

Brian Head Bike Park

Brian Head Bike Park

This 3-4 mile trail is about 41 minutes from SUU. You can either get a shuttle or purchase a lift pass to get to the top of the trails. From there you can conveniently take different routes through the park.

Brian Head Bike Park is a great place for mixed-ability riders to spend time on. The trail features varying levels of difficulty. The best way to access this trail is by turning off 1-15 in Parowan, then heading up the Canyon to Brian Head.

On your left before reaching the Giant Steps Lodge, you’ll pass a ski lift. Note that there is a bike shop on the third floor of the lodge. Don’t worry about getting breakdowns on the trails.

If you are looking for a trail to challenge and enhance your skills, then this is a good option. Brian Head Bike Park will enable you to take your biking skills to the next level.

Pros

  • It features varying levels of difficulty
  • There’s a bike shop in Giant Steps Lodge (third floor)
  • Best for all levels of riders
  • Technical terrain
  • Smooth and easy ride

Cons

  • Usually busy on the weekends
  • Limited parking

Bunker Creek Trail

Bunker Creek Trail

This 12-mile trail is technically easy. However, there are a few sections with fast drops meaning you need to be very careful. It starts at the peak which is around 11,300 feet. It then ends at Panguitch Lake which is about 3,000 feet below.

The trail is steep and straight. This allows riders to cruise through the beautiful scenery as fast as they want. Interestingly, the scenery changes from the forests to meadows and ski hills. There are several forks on the trail. These give you the option to choose the level of difficulty you are comfortable riding.

You can turn right for the Lower Ponds or left for the Dark Hollows trail at the first fork (mile 1.5). For the more technical Bunker Creek route, you can head left at the second fork (mile 4.4). Alternatively, you can head right for a cruise.

Pros

  • Some sections feature fast drops
  • Technically easy trail
  • It’s steep and straight
  • Offers beautiful scenery
  • It features several forks

Cons

  • Usually busy in the afternoons
  • Be careful of the fast drops

Coal Creek Trail

Coal Creek Trail

Located in Cedar City, Coal Creek Trail is best for beginner riders and families. The paved trail follows a small creek in the canyon. That said, note that it never crosses the street. It slopes down to underpasses along the creek instead.

Fortunately, the underpasses are easy for children to ride on. Other paved trails pass through 2 community parks to connect to Coal Creek. To access the trail easily start on Cedar City Main Street then turn east on Center Street.

If you are looking for a getaway spot with the kids, then is the place to be. There are plenty of parking lots.

Pros

  • Best for beginner riders and families
  • Underpasses are easy for children to ride on
  • Plenty of parking
  • Less technical trails
  • Best for all-season riding

Cons

  • Not best for experienced riders
  • Usually crowded on weekends

Casto Canyon Trail

Casto Canyon Mountain Bike Trail

Casto Canyon Trail, located near Bryce Canyon, has a length of 14.4 miles. The trail features beautiful cedar and pine trees and orange rock. The fairly easy section for beginners is up to mile 3.7.

A single-track that forks off the ATV trail are used to mark the turn-back spot for beginners. The technical single-track loops back when it rejoins the ATV trail at mile 5.7. Take note the trail crosses a creek 20 times.

This means you should plan for wet tires and wet bike chains depending on the time of the year. You should carry a small towel to clean your chain. To access the trail, drive 2.9 miles east on U-12 from US-89.

On the graveled Casto Canyon Road turn left and then drive for about 3 miles. You’ll find a parking area on your left.

Pros

  • 14.4 miles long
  • It features beautiful cedar and pine trees and orange rock
  • Plenty of parking lots
  • Combination of ATV trail and single-track
  • Smooth and easy ride

Cons

  • You need tires and chains for wet terrain
  • Lacks water stations

George Mountain Bike Trails FAQs

Question: Can Cruiser Bikes Be Used on George Mountain Bike Trails?

Answer: No they can’t. You will have to get a real mountain bike if you are interested in riding the dirt single-tracks. Cruisers, city bikes, and road bikes are not appropriate for riding MTB trails in George.

Question: Can I Ride An e-bike On George Mountain Bike Trails?

Answer: Yes you can. In the fall of 2019, a new policy to permit class 1 e-bikes was created. However, they are only permitted where traditional bikes are allowed. The policy also permits the use of e-bikes in national parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon.

Question: How Long Is The Gooseberry Mesa Trail?

Answer: It has a length of about 15 miles with a 700 vertical feet climb.

Question: Which Is The Best Trail For Kids among George Mountain Bike Trails?

Answer: The Coal Creek Trail located in Cedar City is the best for kids. It features underpasses that are easy for kids to ride on.

Bottom Line

St. George offers some of the best mountain bike trails in the United States. Most of these trails are suitable for almost all levels of riders. The good thing about them is that they are rideable almost during all the seasons.

If you are looking for a trail with mind-blowing terrain then choose the Gooseberry Mesa Trail. You are likely not to experience it anywhere else in the world. Choose the Barrel and Zen Trails if you want a trail with an amazing set of anticlines. The rip-roaring descents offer a lot of fun to the downhill/uphill riders.

For an epic cross-country loop, I recommend the Hurricane Rim-Goulds Rim-J.E.M Trails. They are suitable if you prefer having a few hours of quality ride time. Check out the rest for different experiences and features.

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