A Hidden Gem in a Biker’s Paradise
If you’re a mountain biker, then you probably already know that there’s nothing like riding through the rough terrain of the unspoiled landscapes of Southern Utah. And there is no more iconic location in Southern Utah than it’s most famous national park… Zion.
Ok, so you can’t actually bike in Zion National Park. And there are good reasons for that – like disrupting the endangered flora and fauna. So the park is off-limits. But, Gooseberry Mesa is literally right next door, and it’s perfectly legal to ride the trails there. And since you’re only a couple of miles away from Zion, then you get see views of the park the whole time that you are riding the trails of Gooseberry Mesa. And trust us, this is one place that you need to ride to believe.
A Little Info
Gooseberry Mesa is located just 10-miles from the Zion National Park entrance. (You can see it’s location here on Google Maps.) The Gooseberry Mesa BLM Access Road takes you deeper into the mesa, where you can access the main trails. You can drive this, but if you’re a novice, or you have kids with you, or just want a relaxing time, the access road alone is a fun and easy bike ride. Just follow it until forks, take the righthand fork and continue until the road ends at the scenic view. It’s about 10-miles roundtrip.
From the scenic view you access some of the other great trails in Gooseberry Mesa. We recommend that you start with the North Rim Trail. Take a look at the map below to orient yourself.
As you can see there are alot of options here. In addition to the North Rim, check out the South Rim and Hidden Canyon routes. Plan on spending a couple of days in Gooseberry. You can camp there at the designated camp sites.
What People Are Saying
Here’s one review from UtahMountianBiking.com:
“Unlike Moab’s Slickrock Trail, there are no brutal hill-climbs. Instead, the ride is a test of balance, burst strength, and reaction time: short ups, brief downs, and quick turns. You can rarely see where you’re going to put the bike 20 feet later.”
We’re also gonna refer you to this excellent blog from Mountain Bike Bill. He’s got lots of great pictures and a video of his experiences there in 2005 and 2006. Here’s what Bill has to say:
“The mixture of singletrack and [slick]rock is pretty awesome with lots of swooping and flowing lines across fields of solid rock. The place has very little elevation change but you will do enough short quick ups to peg your ticker on plenty of occasions. If you have never ridden on the stuff before it can be pretty crazy at first because it almost defies logic that you can climb some of the stuff.”
And here’s our take: In addition to the fun of slickrock, you get to ride among the juniper, pinyon, and ponderosa. All while looking at views of Zion Canyon, Kolob Canyon, and the Pine Valley Mountains Wilderness. So if you’re searching for rough terrain, a place to test your skillset, and unparalleled landscapes, it’s gotta be Gooseberry Mesa. Give it a try.