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Ride the Mesas: Best Mountain Bike Trails in Hurricane, UT

Hurricane reigns as the epicenter of mountain biking in Southern Utah.

Mountain Biking Moderate, Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Gooseberry Mesa: Windmill and Hidden Canyon Lollipop
Photo: Marcel Slootheer


The small desert town of Hurricane, Utah, reigns supreme as the mountain biking epicenter of Southern Utah. While you might expect the larger nearby city of St. George to wear the crown, the tiny (but growing) outpost of Hurricane is king.

This mountain bike dominance is due to the high caliber and incredible diversity of trail networks that surround this small town. While St. George has plenty of trails close by, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that the highest-quality riding is found in Hurricane.

Hurricane lies at the bottom of several massive flat-topped mesas. These dramatic mesas rise thousands of feet above the valley floor, with impassable vertical walls separating them from the terrain below. All of these mesas are topped with expansive slabs of slickrock, creating rippled, rocky mountain biking wonderlands. Gooseberry is the most famous of these mesas, and it has long been renowned as one of the top mountain bike trails in the nation, if not the world. But Gooseberry isn't the only flat-topped mountain boasting fantastic singletrack—Guacamole Mesa, Little Creek Mountain, and Wire Mesa also sport mountain bike trails.

Lower down, a complex network of classic singletrack trails spreads across the lower foothills. Here you'll find the Jem Trails and the Hurricane Rim IMBA Epic Loop. The Jem Trails provide the best beginner-friendly mountain bike ride in the region, and even advanced mountain bikers can have a fun time riding them. Hurricane Rim adds a dash of difficulty to Jem, with the long-distance IMBA Epic loop demanding full commitment for the never-ending punch-to-the-gut climbs.

If you head further down the highway, you'll find two small networks of singletrack known as the Boy Scout Trails and Rhythm & Blues. Boy Scout is brutally rocky and challenging, and Rhythm & Blues is substantially easier. Even though Hurricane is located in a desert environment, at 3,250 feet above sea level, it does still receive snow during the winter... albeit infrequently. When it does snow in Hurricane, these are the first trails to dry out.

Further cementing Hurricane in the collective mountain bike consciousness is the annual gathering of professional freeride mountain bikers on privately-owned terrain near the town of Virgin for the world's premier mountain bike competition: Red Bull Rampage. While the lines that these pros ride during the competition are entirely unattainable to 99.9% of mountain bikers, the videos produced in this dramatic terrain of red rocks and steep dirt spines imbues an insatiable sense of longing in the souls of mountain bikers from around the world.

The only solution? A mountain bike pilgrimage to Southern Utah.

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