Monday, May 12, 2014

Hurricane Cliffs, Utah - Mountain Biking

Roger and I made a quick weekend trip to southern Utah to ride our mountain bikes and celebrate Hunter's birthday.  The weather was looking cloudy and cool in Salt Lake, but sunshine and warm temperatures were in the forecast for St. George.

We decided to check out the Hurricane Cliffs Trail Network in Hurricane, a short drive from St. George, on Saturday morning.  After a good breakfast at the Main Street Cafe in Hurricane, we headed to the Hurricane Hill Trailhead on Highway 59.  We struggled to find the dirt road that would connect us to the Goulds Rim Trail, but after asking for directions we found the road just downhill from the trailhead.  After a couple of miles of climbing on the dirt road, we reached the Goulds Rim Trail and then Goulds Trail a few miles later.  Both trails were easy and offered great views of Gooseberry Mesa where we had ridden for the New Year holiday.

Dirt Road to Goulds Rim Trail

 Spring flowers in the desert

Goulds Rim Trail

Goulds Trail

We crossed Highway 59 near the base of Gooseberry Mesa and made our way on to the Jem Trail.  After a few steep drops, this trail became a smooth, long coasting ride down toward the Virgin River with views on Zion Canyon in the distance.

Jem Trail

Views from the Jem Trail

Instead of immediately connecting back to the Rim Trail at the bottom of Jem trail, we continued our descent down to the Virgin River for a couple more miles.  This area was very scenic and offered some great views of the Virgin River.  After a break to enjoy the sunshine and scenery, we returned on the same trail back to the junction of the Jem Trail and the Rim Trail.

Riding along a drainage into the Virgin River

Virgin River

Beer break

The 7.3 mile Rim Trail back to Hurricane Hill trailhead was very scenic with some great views into the Virgin River gorge.  The trail was also more technical and had some steep climbs toward the end of the ride.  By the time we completed the entire loop, we had ridden about 24 miles of mostly easy single track.

Before heading back to Hunter's place to celebrate his birthday, we decided to do one short, easy ride at the Santa Clara River Reserve.  We started at the Anasazi Valley Trailhead and rode the Tempi'po'op Trail for a few miles up and back to the petroglyphs.  The trail offered some nice views of Red Mountain and the Ivins area.  After a full day of riding, it was time for food and fun.  Thanks to Hunter and Col for being such great hosts for the weekend!

Santa Clara River Reserve