Pedal chunky red rocks and sandy singletrack in this Southern Utah mountain biking hotspot!
In the southwestern corner of Utah lies an area of incredible geologic beauty known as the Greater Zion region. Here, massive slabs of red sandstone bedrock rise from the earth, forming stunning cliffs, domes of rock, and breathtaking slot canyons. Nearby, huge flat-topped mesas rise thousands of feet above the surrounding landscape. And in the distance, snowcapped mountains tower above the entire tableau.
The largest city in the region is St. George, located just north of the Arizona border. At the time of this writing, the St. George metro area has 191,226 residents, but that number will undoubtedly be wrong by the time you read this guidebook. That's because St. George has recently been ranked as the fastest-growing metro area in the entire United States... and it's not the first time. The region has earned this label several times over the past decade, and the population growth shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. (Source)
As you drive around St. George, it's impossible to miss the dozens of housing developments being built in seemingly every expanse of uninhabited desert. So what's drawing all of the people to relocate here?
St. George's most prominent attractions include the mild winter climate, affordable real estate (especially when compared to nearby states like California and Colorado), and quality-of-life amenities. While many of people consider things like golf courses to be attractive recreational opportunities, the mountain bike trails in the region also offer a strong draw to riders from across the Western USA.
While undoubtedly plenty of riders have moved to St. George for the bounty of singletrack spread across the region, these incredible trails serve mountain bike tourists just as well. Many thousands of riders visit the region every year to sample the incredible desert singletrack.
The mountain biking in St. George is tremendously varied, and sometimes it feels like it's never-ending. In places, you'll find swoopy sandy singletrack and in others, brutal rock gardens will pummel your bike. On a few select trails, exposed domes of sandstone slickrock provide an otherworldly riding experience.
The most famous trails are the challenging routes found in the Barrel and Zen trail system and Santa Clara Preserve. While the gnarly trails like Zen get a ton of press and feature heavily on Instagram, the nearby Bearclaw Poppy area is home to probably the most popular trails in all of St. George. These easily-accessible, beginner-friendly singletrack trails offer incredible swoop and flow, with rollers and natural jumps spread throughout the desert landscape. To the north, trails in the Church Rocks area are popular for riders looking to test their mettle on exposed slickrock domes, while the Prospector Trail connecting to Church Rocks is one of St. George's best cross country rides.
This guidebook includes a ton of other recommendations that don't see quite as much traffic, such as Paradise Rim (perfect for advanced riders looking to get sendy), the Boy Scout Trails (challenging tech riding), and the Desert Canyon Trails (more fantastic beginner trails). And this doesn't even include the massive wealth of mountain bike trails closer to Hurricane just a few miles up the road!
No wonder everyone is moving to St. George! Time to check out some Zillow listings...