Spotlight: Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail
Mountain bike southern Utah’s spectacular mesa rims
What You’ll Find
Surrounded by red rock mesas, colorful slickrock and the sentinel spires of Zion National Park, experienced mountain bikers consider Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail (NRT) to be world-class riding. Whether on a cross-country or downhill bike, riders are in for fast dirt single-track with limitless views, tight turns and technical hard rock trails sure to take your breath away.
Expertly designed, Gooseberry Mesa trails (PDF) are a series of interconnecting loops that allow the rider to customize the length and technical difficulty of each ride. Choose an “out-and-back” or combine the loops for over 18 miles (28.9 km) of riding.
From the St. George area in southwestern Utah, travel easterly towards Hurricane. Follow the detailed directions in the Bureau of Land Management’s Gooseberry Mesa NRT brochure to navigate to the trailheads.
Make Sure You
Come prepared. This is considered to be challenging mountain bike terrain. With obstacles, drop-offs, ledges and slickrock, riders should be well-versed in difficult to extreme mountain biking. Not to mention, the climate can be extreme as well –quickly changing weather can occur in this desert environment and riders should come with more than enough water to stay hydrated.
There are no designated campgrounds at the Gooseberry Mesa NRT. However, dispersed camping is allowed; please use sites where previous camping use is evident.
Nearby, Zion National Park beckons visitors to explore the park and enjoy the amenities of the Watchman Campground. Book ahead for this campground; its stunning views of the surrounding sandstone walls and cliffs are hard to resist!
Considered the “easiest” ride, the White Trail is just over three miles on an old jeep trail ultimately taking riders to “the point” of the Mesa Rim and connecting to various loops in the middle of the trail system. Consider this trail for the quick return portion of your ride back to the parking lot.
Gooseberry Mesa is a fragile desert environment — please stick to the trails and ride only on signed and designated trails. When riding the slickrock, look for a reflective light-colored dot to help guide the way.
Study the Gooseberry Mesa map for mileage and terrain ratings. Detailed trailhead directions and trail descriptions are found on the Bureau of Land Management’s website with additional images on their Tumblr site.