Mountain biking near St George, Utah, May 3-6, 2007

Trips Home

The trip was conceived and organized by Dennis L. Other participants were Andy, Brian, Gary, Juan, Reuben, Steve and, for Friday only, Ed. We drove up from LA on Thursday morning, arriving early enough to get a short ride in before sunset and dinner. Here is a description of what we did and found.

Photos contributed by various riders, and updated as photos become available, can be viewed by following the "Photos" links for each ride.

Steve took video footage of most of the rides so videos will be posted here when they're available. This could take several weeks.

Ride Maps

Church Rocks Trail (Thursday and Saturday)  Photos            Video

Description: The Church Rocks trail started about 2 miles from where we were staying so we rode there the afternoon we arrived, and again on Saturday after the Little Creek Mesa ride. You take the paved bike path to the north-west edge of the property and climb the hill to the water tank. A dirt road goes around the water tank and down a somewhat steep hill. The road goes left, but the trail continues straight down a short singletrack to a large storm drainpipe that goes under the freeway. Even in bright daylight, it's pitch black in the tunnel, but it's smooth on the bottom and easy to ride because you can see the light at the end. You emerge to a few hundred yards of hike-a-bike through sand and rocks, but soon you can start riding the Church Rocks loop. The trail is typical rough eroded sandstone with some dirt and a few small steps. We didn't have a map so we just explored, riding the lower segment on Thursday and the upper segment on Saturday.
Distance: About a 3-mile loop from the tunnel under the freeway
Climbing: 280' from the freeway tunnel, 580' from the house
Overall Rating: E2.5, T3 Technical Rating T3
Casualties: None
Resources: Description from

Hurricane Cliffs Trails (Friday May 4)  Photos            Video

Description: This is one fun area to ride! There is lots of variation in both the trail surface and the scenery. We started with a very steep 1.5 mile climb on a gravel road to get to the mesa, then onto Goulds Rim Trail where the singletrack was mostly smooth with a few broken rocks and small steps. Next was the Goulds Trail, very smooth, twisty and with tons of small whoops. The high point, in terms of elevation, was where we crossed Hwy 59 to get to the Jem Trail. It starts at the foot of the west end of Gooseberry Mesa. We were so close that we didn't realize what those cliffs were next to us. Jem is one fast fun downhill, smooth with lots of twists. After crossing Sheep Bridge Road the trail becomes a little more technical with a few broken rocks and small drops. To get back to the cars, we turned west onto the Rim Trail, a more technical trail with quite a bit of broken sandstone. Much of this trail overlooks the Virgin River Canyon, the old Hurricane Canal and the hiking-only Canal Trail. The Rim trail is 5.25 miles long and half of that is moderate climbing, but there were some steep sections as well. Overall it was a really fun loop with tremendous scenery and enough distance and climbing to give us a good workout.
Distance: 19.6 miles
Climbing:  About 2100'
Overall Rating:  E4.5, T3.5 Technical Rating T3.5 with some serious exposure
Casualties: None
Resources: Description from

Little Creek Mesa (Saturday May 5)  Photos            Video

Description: This is not a very long ride, just over 9 miles, and has very little climbing overall, but it's a fun and technical challenge. The trail alternates between slickrock sandstone and dirt with some broken sandstone and small steps. Overall you don't notice if the trail is climbing because it is constantly going up and down 10 or 20 feet in small dips and rises, must of which are easy but some of them are quite steep. On the slickrock, you can generally find a really easy path, or a really difficult one, to your own preference.

We rode a variation of the West Mesa Loop, in the clockwise direction. After crossing the slickrock and going through the scrub trees, the trail hits the rim and follows it north. The views were amazing! But stop riding to look at the view; the trail is really close to the edge and takes your full concentration. In a few spots we thought it wise to walk for a few feet, especially in the gusty wind.

It was 41 degrees when we started, cloudy and windy. By the time we were finished, it had warmed up to about 56 degrees. It's a good thing we had sufficient layers (barely!) but full-fingered gloves would have been nice. Thanks, Dennis, for lending my your 3/4 fingered gloves!

Distance: 9.3 miles
Climbing: Several hundred feet
Overall Rating: E3.5, T3.5 Technical Rating T3.5 with some serious exposure
Casualties: None
Resources: Description from

Broken Mesa Trail (Sunday May 6)  Photos            Video

Description: This is a very tiring and technically difficult area. The trail winds through an old lava field of sharp black rocks. They start about the size of watermellons and get bigger. This was a much more difficult ride than we expected from the Description from! Overall their description was accurate, but the amount of climbing reported was about half what we measured. The technical challenges were seriously understated.

We were all amazed by the terrain. It was very different from the other areas we rode; we could have been on the moon except for the sparse grass that grew almost everywhere.

We intended to ride a loop and so parked at the water tank on Old Dump Road where the Power Line Trail comes out. We rode up the dirt road which was firm and had only a little washboard, and into a somewhat stiff breeze. After climbing 5.8 miles and 1300' we got to the bottom of the singletrack that leads to the Broken Mesa Rim Trail. This was a very rocky, steep and somewhat loose climb. Many of us walked most or much of it. All the way up the terrain was unbelievable. At the top the trail became easier to ride, only because it was mostly level or downhill. We had two endos in this section; one resulted in a bloody face due to a cut at the bridge of the nose, and the other resulted in very bruised ribs. After a few miles the rocks got smaller and the trail less twisty so we were able to ride much more quickly. The last half-mile is down a 20% grade with ragged boulders piled on both sides. The trail itself has many small steps and lots of loose round rocks in the middle. The UtahMountaiBiking guide says to point your front wheel down and go, but that would have resulted in hospital stays for most of us. Dennis and Andy were able to ride most of it, but the rest of us walked. It was a shame to walk down about 20% of the total vertical descent.

The ride ended with 2.5 miles of the slightly rocky Power Line singletrack. That segment had 350' of climbing.

Overall, this ride would have been better to do as a shuttle. Climbing the dirt road to get to the trailhead was more work than we expected so we were quite tired by the time we got to the singletrack climb. We would have enjoyed it much more if we were fresh at that point. There's probably a good reason for the large parking area at the bottom of the singletrack!

Downhillers would have a blast on this trail, once they pushed their bikes to the top.

Distance: 15.0 miles
Climbing: 2200'
Overall Rating: E5, T5 Technical Rating T5
Casualties: Two endos
Resources: Description from



Thanks for looking at Steve's guide to trails in Ventura County, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and other locations.