Local Flavors: The Complete Mountain Bike Guide to St. George, Utah - Video

Apr 6, 2018
by Brice Shirbach  







The airplane bucked quite a bit with about 10 minutes of flight time remaining. The second of two flights that day, the first of which started in Philadelphia, saw me in the aisle seat of a tiny CRJ200 aircraft during a short hop from Phoenix, Arizona to St. George, Utah when the plane suddenly began to hit some moderate turbulence. I was somewhere in between sleeping, but not really sleeping when this happened, and opened an eye to check the reactions of those around me. Many people were out cold, with their necks craned back and their mouths wide open, while others seemed intent on finishing their books, and still others were content with whatever was being transmitted to their brain through some oversized, noise canceling headphones. I noticed that a handful of people seemed to have their faces pressed up against the windows, and as I craned my head around the nice lady seated to my left by our row's window to have a look for myself, it became immediately clear what had a few of the passengers excited: we were flying directly over the heart of the Grand Canyon. I have been to the Grand Canyon once in my life, and it was as humbling an experience as I can remember; standing on the rim's edge will remind you of your place in this world in ways not much else can. I've flown over it quite a few times as well, but never flown over it at such a low altitude. The updrafts from the canyon and surrounding mountains might have jostled the plane a bit, but they reminded me that I was about to spend a week in a landscape unlike any elsewhere on the planet.

St. George occupies the southwest corner of the Beehive State and is the population center for Washington County in the heart of one of the planet's most stunning natural playgrounds. During the drive from the airport to my hotel in La Verkin 25 miles to the northeast, I was often distracted, and it had nothing to do with my cell phone. There is an almost surreal quality to the landscape in southwest Utah that will leave you in awe, regardless of what the sun might doing; which as it turned out, would be a decidedly fickle star throughout my week in the area.

Local Flavors St. George UT
The City of St. George serves as the population center for southwest Utah.

bigquotesWhile places like Moab and Sedona are more famous, southwest Utah has all of the world-class slick rock you could ask for.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
Hurricane is home to just a fraction of the population of St. George, but provides access to much of the area's best trails.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
La Verkin is adjacent to some of the area's rowdiest bits of riding, including Nephi's Twist, a freeride/downhill trail with easy access that is very shuttle friendly.

Washington County sits squarely on a rare and spectacular convergence of land along the meeting point of the Mojave Desert, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin. There is much to take in in terms of the geology of this particular point on the planet, and my inner amateur-geo-nerd could have happily spent a week hunting for fossils, or ogling at the layers of sediment visible among the stunning rock features that abound, or even scrambling up and down the Basaltic lava flow formations that surround St. George. Fortunately I had my bike with me, and to be quite honest, was still only able to sample a small dose of the massive amount of trail on offer in and around the greater St. George region despite being in town for a week.

The diverse geological spread and vast amounts of open space mean that there is a staggering quantity of incredibly high-quality trails between St. George on the western edges of the riding region, to Virgin, 30 miles to the east. The freeride scene is alive and well here, and I'm not just talking about Red Bull's annual huckfest.

Brice Shirbach // Local Flavors
Age: 35
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Industry affiliations: Pivot Cycles, Maxxis Tires, Stans No Tubes, Kali Protectives, MRP, Julbo, Deity Components, EVOC, Shimano, 9point8, Topeak
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite Trail in the Area: Nephi's Twist
Riding Style: Whatever's Clever


Local Flavors St. George UT
We ain't in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Local Flavors St. George UT
The Pine Valley Mountains flank the northern edges of Washington County in a very dramatic fashion.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Snow Canyon doesn't offer much for mountain bikers, but this state park north of St. George offers up an unforgettable sunset.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Zion National Park is a bucket list place for anyone with a pulse, and is visible throughout the area, with this view coming courtesy of the Hurricane Rim Trail.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Sometimes you need to stop and make some calculations when weather and exposure mix.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
Huffing your way to the top of a stunning freeride trail is much easier when you know you have plenty of shuttle vehicles awaiting you in the neighborhood below.

St. George has Barrel Trail, La Verkin Nephi's Twist, and Virgin Flying Monkey just to name a few. The Mesas offer up plenty of technical, XC oriented riding throughout the area, and while places like Moab and Sedona are more famous, southwest Utah has all of the world-class slick rock you could ask for. What's more, I couldn't find a single trail that didn't offer up some kind of impressive view, with the Hurricane Rim trail providing what, in my own estimation, might be one of the most scenic rides in North America, with views of the Mojave, Pine Valley Mountains, and Zion from a singular vantage point.

The value of this region extends well beyond the scope of mountain biking, as evidenced by the immense popularity of hiking, camping, off-roading, and other recreational pursuits so many engage in here. Much of Utah's open space, like other parts of the American West, is largely governed by the Bureau of Land Management, an agency formerly known for its "extraction management" and now largely responsible for access to outdoor adventure of many sorts. The relationship between mountain bikers and the BLM in this corner of Utah has been strong for decades, and that dynamic is perhaps the biggest factor behind the amazing array of riding opportunities you'll find here, and we have the Recreation Enhancement Act to thank for that.

"With the money we make at this office," Dave Kiel tells me from the St. George BLM field office. "The nice thing about the Recreation Enhancement Act is it can't be spent on anything other than recreation, and it can't be spent outside of this office, so that's our money. That's how we build new trails, that's how we build new trailheads, that's how we do everything. That's why recreation is really the driver here, because we're the only ones who have money."

Dave has been the Recreation Planner at the St. George BLM since 2004, and has been a mountain biker for nearly 3 decades. Dave hails from San Diego, but came to St. George after spending the better part of two decades working for the Forest Service in Juneau, Alaska. He explained to me the role of his BLM office, which compared to the millions of acres typically covered by these agencies, covers a scant 629,000 acres and whose boundary roughly corresponds with the entirety of Washington County.
bigquotesWe're left with a plan that will include 208 miles of singletrack to be built over the next 10 years.

The role of the BLM has been considerable in the legalizing of many trail networks that came into existence long before his arrival in St. George, and has in his time with the office profoundly affected the quality and quantity of riding opportunities available in this part of the country. When our conversation shifted towards the future for Washington County, my jaw hit the floor when Dave Kiel told me what was in store here.

"What we're right in the middle of right now," he says."Is a master plan for our transportation system, and it basically encompasses everything from full-size four-wheel drives right down to the hiking trails. The population has doubled since I moved here, and the use numbers are absolutely staggering, so we had to acknowledge that the current transportation system isn't big enough, and we need to have more. We sat down and we mapped it out, we received a bunch of requests, we produced loads of KMZ files, and we went through several versions of a plan. It took several months to get through it. But, what we're left with is a plan that will include 208 miles of singletrack to be built over the next 10 years."

Local Flavors St. George UT
Dennis Rhodes drops into Nephi's Twist, a trail that rather conveniently ends at the top of his neighborhood.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Alex Miller enjoy a breath of fresh air high above La Verkin.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Trent navigates a steep and exposed ridgeline midway down Nephi's Twist while the weather swirls menacingly in the distance.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Trent, Alex, and Dennis work their way along a ridge in some gusty winds.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Dave Kiel pictured at his office of the Bureau of Land Management in downtown St. George.
Local Flavors St. George UT
Cimarron Chacon runs GRO Promotions alongside her husband Bryce Pratt.

The relationship between mountain bikers and the BLM is peachy for the moment, with the exception of the rogue trail here or there, which to be fair can be said for the vast majority of communities where mountain biking is such a prevailing force. The roots of the sport in this region are a bit more tangled, and a lot of the detangling came courtesy of Cimarron Chacon, owner of GRO Promotions, an event promotion, marketing, and trail design consultation company famous for the True Grit Epic and 25 Hours in Frog Hollow endurance races. She founded the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association in 2010, and prior to her self-employment, preceded Dave Kiel's role at the BLM as a landscape architect for the region. Cimarron was in graduate school at Utah State when she began to hear grumblings of discord among the BLM in St. George over rogue trails being built by mountain bikers in the area. She interviewed and was hired by the St. George field office right out of school and on her first day of employment was tasked with "figuring out this trail thing", as it was put to her.

"The first trail I assessed," she tells me over a beer in her living room. "Was the Bear Claw Poppy Trail it was an editing project. It was a mishmash of cow trails and all sorts of crazy stuff that mountain bikers were just going all over the sensitive habitat. We got a group together and picked the best route, and to this day it can put a smile on your face whether you're 7 or 70."

In her time with the BLM, Cimarron helped to grandfather in formerly rogue trail networks such as Gooseberry Mesa and the Jem Trails, provided the environmental assessment for the first ever Red Bull Rampage and helped to get that event off of the ground, and left her post at the St. George office with funding, a trail crew, and two people to manage the responsibilities she was handling on her own in the form of Dave Kiel and his wife Lynn, the current landscape architect. Cimarron spent some time in Tucson, Arizona following her time at the BLM before eventually moving back to St. George and forming her own company. She was made aware of the 10 year trail plan, and knew that there would be value in forming an organization of mountain bikers to comment on and provide input for the plan as opposed to operating as an individual, which is how the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association was formed. She stayed on as president while she and the DMBTA figured out the nuts and bolts of being a non-profit, and also made sure submissions for the travel management plan were submitted before stepping down and allowing Lukas Brinkerhoff to take over. DMBTA is now on its 3rd president, and while Cimarron has plenty on her plate with GRO Promotions, her involvement is very evident, as is her pride in the growth and maturation of the mountain bike community.

"I think what's really great," she continues. "Is that the mountain bike community is growing and it has become really dynamic. We used to just be a handful of people that just knew each other and rode together, but now we've got mesa riders, and racers, and families out riding together. You've got the high school mountain biking scene which is really big in Utah. All of these groups are really unique, but everybody gets along, and we have so many trails to ride. Despite all of the people who are here to ride, you can go out and have a trail all to yourself if you want. We're not a major city, so our mountain bike community really encompasses more than the St. George area. It includes people from Vegas, and Salt Lake City, and Cedar City. People head here throughout the year from those places, and they've just sort of expanded our little family."

Mountain biking has, in just a few short years, become a real commodity for St. George and the rest of southwest Utah. It has become more than just a tourism boon as well, although that is certainly an economic driver here. More than that, it is now recognized as a credit to the quality of life for locals. Ryan Gurr can speak to that with a great deal of authority. As the owner of Red Rock Bicycles, Ryan has seen firsthand the reciprocity that exists between mountain biking and community, with his own business seeing the kind of growth and development that quite frankly, I'd never expect to find at a bike shop. When Ryan purchased the store 10 years ago, the floor space was nominal, and the employee count was 5 in all. He now has upwards of 30 employees, including a marketing director, events coordinator, and several of the region's top bike mechanics, and the store appears to occupy half of a city block. The growth of Red Rock seems to parallel the growth of mountain biking in and around St. George, and while much of that success can be attributed to visitors to the region, Ryan credits the integration of cycling into the fabric of St. George's local culture.

"We're actually at a point," he says. "Where the city and the land management agencies are actually working together to make mountain biking better. The city sees it as a quality of life endeavor, as does the county, and they're actively working to improve facilities. One example would be this community trail called the Bear Claw Poppy Trail, and it's literally right in the middle of a neighborhood. The city, the county, the BLM, and our state trust land are actually working together and have co-funded a project to build bathroom facilities, parking facilities, and garbage facilities at the trailhead. This level of cooperation has never been done in this town before. Every land agency used to just work on their own with no co-op, no thought of bathrooms, and certainly no thought of improving the non-trail aspect of the facilities. Now they're looking at it saying, We need to make these better. We need to make them feel more like parks. The city and the county are building a bike park this winter, and they're both paying for it, and they're using it as a quality of life project. So yeah, everybody's into it right now."

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
No bad views from the Hurricane Rim trail.

Local Flavors St. George UT
50 degrees and overcast might feel like winter to locals, but coming from the east coast, I was appreciative of the 'shorts and a tee weather'.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
Ryan Gurr and his shop Red Rock Bicycles juggle retail and advocacy roles for St. George.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Trent Stallard drops in on the Barrel Trail in St. George.

Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT
Zen Trail is a 6 mile slice of slick rock heaven with a stunning red rock backdrop.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
If you come from a land of dark dirt and trees, following the trail on slickrock can be a challenge at times. The other side of the coin is that the grip is endless here.

Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT
Trent, like many locals, is as talented on a bike as he is nice a human being.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
Talented bike mechanics and baristas alike will keep you rolling along happy.

Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT
You might be in the desert, but you're still in Utah, so don't get caught too off guard when the weather can't make up its mind in the winter.

It might seem strange to hear that mountain biking wasn't instantly held in high regard by the any and everyone in and around Washington County, given the abundance of opportunities as well as the high profile nature of the people and trails here. I certainly found it to be a bit of a head scratcher. But that's just how it goes sometimes; mountain biking might not be underground, but it's still very niche and a bit nebulous to those who aren't participants. During our chat, Cimarron told me about her first trail assessment while working for the BLM, and the armed guards that accompanied her during her initial field visits. It seems that her bosses weren't sure just what they wanted to do with the trails at that point, and they also weren't sure how mountain bikers might respond. Like I said, nebulous to say the least.

It's safe to say that mountain biking has been demystified in Washington County since the days of armed guards at the trailhead, and that wouldn't be possible without the stewardship of many different people. Southwest Utah is a singular riding destination, but within the region are several pockets of sub communities who not only work to cultivate a strong mountain biking culture throughout the region, but also take ownership of the trails in their respective backyards. It's a logical and effective means of delegating responsibility that seems to keep progress moving throughout the area, as opposed to going after one singular objective after another. This is great news for locals and visitors alike, as the trail count and quality shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

"Yeah, it's Southern Utah and it benefits everyone because there's more to ride." DJ Morisette notes. "It keeps people in the area for longer and it builds synergy so it's not like anybody competing against anyone in that matter at all."

DJ is the co-owner of Over the Edge Sports in Hurricane, alongside her husband Quentin. Their shop was the second of the famous chain of OTE chain of stores, and has been an integral component to life on and off of the bike in Hurricane. The couple's work in the region precedes their ownership of Over the Edge. DJ was the trail boss during construction of the Hurricane Rim Trail, and their shop location was chosen due to its proximity to so many different trail networks. While their responsibilities at the shop certainly keep the parents and business owners busy, their work on the trail is seemingly never done, with the two of them leading the effort on an incredibly fun and technical network of non-BLM trails at Quail Creek State Park.

Being a parent is as good an excuse as any to pump the brakes on trail work and riding, as is being a business owner, especially when your business is mountain bikes in a mountain bike mecca. In spite of the many opportunities they have to pass on any number the abundance of roles they have assumed in the region, the enthusiasm for their work is palpable, and when I asked them pointedly what it is about this place that makes it so special in their eyes, their response came easily enough.

"I love the variety of the terrain." Quentin Morisette says without hesitating. "Whenever you have the chance to get out on the slick rock, you get to be as creative as he is you want. Up there on the mesas you always tell people that the only rule is don't make tracks in the dirt. But when you're on the rock, you can really get out and be creative and be in the flow and be in the moment."

DJ agrees. "The diverse riding here is amazing. If you want to get out and to see a beautiful landscape, you're going to see that. You're going to get both. You're going to get a fun ride and you can get beauty all around you, which is awesome. Whatever your skill level is, there are different lines you can take in which is awesome.

"It's southern Utah, and it's all here. It's awesome. It is nice to go on ride other places, but when you're busy sometimes you can't get away that far. Even when we do ride other places, to be honest, you're like 'Wow, we're really lucky, you know?' I certainly know that there are a lot of really cool places to ride, but whenever we come back from a trip, we're just reminded of how good we have it here."

That they do. Interestingly enough, I left what had up until that point been a colder and snowier than average winter in the northeast for what I was hoping would be sunny and warm conditions in the Utah desert. In what some might have considered an ironic twist of fate, my week in Utah saw me leave behind spring-like conditions in southeastern Pennsylvania for what would prove to be the only week of "winter" Washington County locals had seen all year. Did it matter in the end? Not one bit. For me, it just contributed to an overwhelming sensory overload of sights, smells, and sounds, with dramatic weather rearing its head on occasion. But by and large, the not quite wintry week in St. George would have been considered prime autumn conditions by many others, myself included, and the imprint I'm leaving with is that of stunned reverence.

My flight out of St. George was early, and this time I made sure to grab a window seat to avoid any further neck craning. 10 minutes into the flight, the sun made its appearance just as the Grand Canyon was disappearing from view behind the plane. The plane bucked a little as I scrambled to grab my camera from my pack and shoot the scene below. For the record, I didn't need that reminder of my departure from this stunning natural playground, but I appreciated it nonetheless.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Local Flavors St. George UT
Parents, business owners, stewards, purveyors of stoke; Quentin and DJ Morisette are commodities for the community of Hurricane, Utah.

Local Flavors St. George UT
Over the Edge Sports in Hurricane is, as Quentin likes to put it, there to save your bike trip.

Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT

Local Flavors St. George UT
Click here to check out the full gallery of images.

Presented by Visit St. George

Local Knowledge

Travel Information: Please check out Visit St. George for a comprehensive set of travel information.

Bike Shops: As you might imagine, there are a number of reputable bike shops in the region. Over the Edge in Hurricane, and Red Rock Bicycle in St. George are standouts.

Favorite Eats: If you're planning on spending most of your time in between Hurricane, La Verkin, and Virgin, you could and should do breakfast, lunch and dinner at River Rock Roasters. Their coffee is amazing, and they have a really tasty menu good for any time of day. St. George is the population center of southwest Utah, and therefore offers up the greatest selection and variety of dining and drinking options. I thoroughly enjoyed the espresso and snacks from the Affogato Food Truck parked in the Red Rock Bicycle lot. George's in Ancestor Square gets solid reviews as well. Utah is famously conservative when it comes to drinking and night life, so don't expect much of that while you're in town. You'll have to bring the party if that's what you're looking for.

Area Digs: I stayed in La Verkin during my time in the area at the La Quinta Inn. I was at the bottom of Nephi's Twist, 5 minutes from both Hurricane and Virgin, and another 25 to St. George. St. George offers up the most lodging options in the area, and an Airbnb search will yield dozens of options for you.

Local Mountain Bike Club: The Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association have been at it here for a decade, and have fostered a great relationship with the area BLM.

Brice's Key Tips:
1: First, I'll suggest using the St. George Regional Airport if you're flying in. Many people will fly into Vegas International, but it's a couple of hours from the area and is a massive airport, so getting in or out can take a while. SGU is tiny, which means that you can have your luggage and be on the road 10 minutes after your plane touches down, and on the trail an hour later.
2: Also, remember to hydrate. This is a year-round riding destination, and while the temps are fairly comfortable during the winter, there's not much in the way of moisture in the air here, and I made the mistake of ignoring hydration needs and suffered accordingly for a few days. Drink water. Oh, and stretch.
3: Finally, "Zen" trail is among many of the area's must-rides, just make sure you ride it counter clockwise. Trust me.





116 Comments

  • + 34
 Love it but can tell you're not a local - it's HER - IH - KIN Smile
  • + 5
 Haha yeah I heard that a bunch while out there
  • + 7
 You can also make the IH silent.
  • + 7
 And it’s not Zi-On, it’s Zi-un!
  • + 5
 @wannabeabiker: Nails on a chalkboard for me.
  • + 2
 @dirtnapped: try listening to the Philly accent on the daily. (like this guy)
  • - 9
flag preach (Apr 5, 2018 at 16:46) (Below Threshold)
 any idea where I can pick up some Mormon repellant... asking for a friend
  • + 9
 @preach: any liquor store
  • - 2
 @preach: you can get it at any liquor store.
  • + 3
 @preach: bring trees from Colorado Wink
  • + 1
 y’all are hilarious. Love it :-)
  • + 2
 @preach: Sounds like you might be enough of a bigoted blowhard that you may not need it Wink PS: I am not Mormon.
  • - 2
 @joeypancakes: yep you’ve totally got me figured out
  • + 1
 @Proskiemt: It's legal here!
  • + 3
 @joeypancakes: yes lets all be more tolerant of an intolerant religion
  • + 1
 @wiscobiker: I'm bummed you perceive it as an intolerant religion and hope that feeling is in the minority.
  • + 0
 @wiscobiker: Yep! Intolerance is intolerance, period. I am intolerant of intolerance. I hate to break it to you, but ALL religion is intolerant.
  • + 16
 Great article on one of my favourite places to ride.

I guess the secret is out now. I've been every March for 6 years, and once in October. Once thing that I find makes this are great is that you can drive to the respective trailheads and then ride 6, 12, 18+ miles of singletrack. You don't' have to ride double track and roads to get to the goods.

Late summer and Fall riding will also give you access to training at Brian's Head Mountain, and Thunder Mountain and a few other trails in Bryce canyon. There is a cool North Grand Canyon Rim trail a few hours away and Kanab is also working hard to build a new destination.

Over the Edge is my go to shop in Hurricane; great guys and gals, exceptionally good rental fleet and some nice product.

For primo accommodations, check out the rentals at Coral Canyon Resort. It's midway between St.George and Hurricane.

River Rock Coffee Shop is great for sandwiches, pizza and beer. Lupina's cantina (near OTE) is great for Mexican Food.
And after a tough day of riding, I heavily suggest at 10-piece dark meat box of chicken from Lin's Grocery; just to make it until dinner.

M.
  • + 1
 Kanab huh? I haven't heard anything....do you have any trail recommendations there?
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ:

Only thing I've seen so far is this:

www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/kanabST.htm

Not much, but a start.....maybe.
  • + 1
 Story of the story
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ:

Kanab has big aspirations. They currently have just shy of 5 miles of trials and a great pump track. There is a solid core of riders lobbying for
more trail opportunities but progress is slow in rural areas.
  • + 14
 Dang @briceshirbach stepping up the photog game to another level! Without question your finest photos to date. Great piece, as usual! Keep 'em comin!!!
  • + 5
 Cheers, Tim! Great light and great landscapes are served up on a silver platter out there!
  • + 12
 Very good article and shout out to Trent for hucking his meat! Looking good.

Not gonna lie though. Wish the city/BLM (not #blacklivesmatter) had more "approved" flow and intermediate/advanced jump and drop features. Barrel DH is the only semi-approved flow trail in St. George proper with added features, features that have been tamed down significantly from years past. The Pacific northwest and BC areas have larger features on public land that has been approved by cities. They all have alternate paths for those not looking to ride anything out of their comfort zones. They haven't been altered/dumbed down because some riders are too scared to hit them and riders there exercise common-sense on whether they should hit it or not; look before you leap. Although I wish it wasn't the case, if you come to St. George to "send it" for the boys, plan on spending 1.5 to 2 hours round trip heading out of St. George to get to those trails, trails which could ever so easily be found in St. George proper if the mentality of "catching air" was changed.
  • + 8
 We've got a machine built flow trail, and bike park coming this year!
  • + 1
 I am really hoping that bike park makes me eat my words but am somewhat skeptical. Will it have lines with >30' mandatory gaps, drops, step-ups, and step-downs?

Any concrete info on what features it have will be much appreciated.
  • + 2
 Yeah, rode a few of those trail systems when visiting for rampage, the hurricane IMBA epic loop was very much green xc trails that get boring quick. If you fly into VEGAS and it isn't too hot out and you want some super fun techy downhill gnar make sure to hit up bootleg canyon, the dh trails there can be shuttled (short hike from the top lot) and are super fun.
  • + 5
 I completely agree. The terrain is absolutely amazing, so why not have more trails that have better turns and some features? I'm not talking smooth sidewalk flow trails, although I like riding those too. I lived in Vegas for 5 years and hands down Bootleg has some of the best trails in the area. Just build the trails like they did at Bootleg.
  • + 7
 This article talks about how the city, BLM, and individuals representing mountain bikers are working together to expand and improve the trail systems. Funding and constructing a bathroom facilitate at a major trailhead is great and all but nothing motivates trail riders to come from far and near more than showing co-workers photos of riding down a techy rock shoot or launching off a massive rock to rock double. Not saying St. George lacks some of these features, but the current features absolutely don't live up to the potential the area has to offer. Maybe, just maybe a little more time and effort can go into making more exciting and advanced trails/features in addition to the "trailhead luxuries."
  • + 3
 @joeypancakes: Any news on when this will be open?
  • + 0
 Why would anyone think you're referencing Black Lives Matter?
  • + 10
 come to Ogden Bike Park a few hours north. "City Approved" 60 foot booter and a 65-70 footer in the works. On city land. LMAO
  • + 2
 @jdbrill: No kidding! Can we please recruit at least one of your city councilman?!
  • + 2
 grab your big bikes and head for virgin
  • + 1
 @dirtworks911: Yeah but its out of necessity. I've never been anywhere with so many resorts/mountains but with so little chair lift access/bike parks. Thankfully a few towns are killing it with allowing that stuff to be built.
  • + 2
 This is the same area that Jeff Kendall Weed did a video of last year, right? That looked pretty wild, especially the road gap. Are those trails not part of the BLM trail system?
  • + 0
 @dirtworks911: Probably nothing that gnarly. You should check out AMA trail. Also the old Rampage site.
  • + 1
 @InstantBreakfast: Looks like they are breaking ground November. So 1 year?
  • + 0
 @James2785: If you're referring to the Grafton Mesa road gap which is a hip to the right and now a sizable step down to the left, yea same area.
  • + 1
 @joeypancakes: You talking Brian Head and lava flow it will be years before that place is devoled as canyons, deer valley or angle fire!!!!! and lava flow is a joke
  • + 0
 @nate0852: LOL the Canyons is a joke and Vail is no longer funding it so that's shutting down regardless.
  • + 12
 This place sucks. Don't bother
  • + 7
 I'm going to disagree with Brice on the flight info. LAS to Gooseberry Mesa (on the far east side of St. George and Huracun') is only 2 hours 30 minutes drive. It's 2hrs even to downtown St. George. You will likely rent a car, which will be cheaper in Vegas. Vegas has some great riding as well. The drive up to St. George is easy peezy. While up there, you may want to go to Zion or Bryce Canyon. My thought: save money on the cheap flight to Vegas, spend it on renting a van you can sleep in as well as a good rental bike in Vegas or at Over The Edge St. George.
  • + 1
 There are 2 Shuttle companies that run from the Vegas airport to St George. If you do not mind a 2+ hour car ride you could save big $. The Gorge is pretty neat to see,and has an interesting history.
  • + 5
 A timely article as the very trails (Zen, Barrel) that made St George a mtb destination are under review as there’s talk to expand conservation area for the desert tortoise.

www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/04/05/point-counterpoint-letters-st-george-resident-mayor-face-off-on-desert-tortoise-habitat-conservation-plan-expansion-act/#.WsZbcxpMHmo

From the Mayor’s response, this maybe be bad for the MTB scene in St George. Finalization is still to come so keep our fingers crossed.
  • + 9
 There is some bad information going around. The trails are not, nor have ever been in jeopardy. Read here for more info: portal.washco.utah.gov/tortoise
  • + 1
 if the conservationists has their way, all public lands (and any private lands they could get their hands on) would be shut off from all human access.
  • + 1
 Don't touch it, don't even look at it! We need to let it be for nature... Although it doesn't directly relate to St. George, that mentality worked out extremely well for Brian Head, UT as more than 70,000 acres were burnt last year due to conservationist influences.
  • + 3
 @dirtworks911: I don't think it was conservationist influences that started the BH fire. Just an ill prepared man trying to burn weeds to avoid a forest fire. He definitely didn't take the, "don't touch it" approach. I'm guessing he wasn't political or trying to make a statement. Just had a big problem when he used a torch in a tinderbox. www.reviewjournal.com/news/nation-and-world/utah-man-charged-with-starting-brian-head-fire
  • + 2
 @econ2001: It related to conservationist actions, as people wanted to keep nature how it was, not thin out the trees etc..., which then lead to a tinder box of dead wood that went up super quick.
  • + 0
 @econ2001: They didn't start the fire but they were sure insistent on giving any fires plenty of fuel so they'd quickly grow out of control. A fire that should have burnt hundreds of acres burnt tens of thousands. Normally, fires promote regrowth but thanks to their "preservation of nature" mentality, the fire burnt so hot it destroyed the soil's ability to grow anything in certain areas. It will take years before anything can even begin to grow in those areas.
  • + 1
 I'm sure you know that "beetle kill" trees have to be harvested within a year to be of any construction value. It would have taken a modern "Manhattan Project" to get all those trees out of there. Climate change, maybe. Just saying. No matter, I'm gonna ride me some Bureau of Land Management non-motorized trail! Thank you all!@dirtworks911:
  • + 6
 Gotta say I wasn't a fan of Zen in either direction, but Barrel was incredible. Basically rode it twice since we hiked all of the jumps twice. But nothing beats DH bikes at the old rampage site.
  • + 5
 This area is my go-to road trip from SoCal that I make 3-4 times a year. Quentin, Clayton, DJ and the entire staff at Over The Edge are great and on top of that, they are fantastic riders. I'm know there are plenty of excellent female riders out there but DJ is the best I've personally ever ridden with. When you combine their personality, shop selection, willingness to hand out out trail advice in an encouraging manner (never act as if you're bothering them) and their advocacy/trail work efforts, OTE in Hurricane is the best bike shop I've encountered.

Some dude from SoCal
  • + 1
 THANK YOU for the kind words! We love having you here in the area!
  • + 5
 Can't thank Quentin enough for the hospitality, bikes, and best espresso of my life. OTE is amazing, great location, great people. Good Mexican food right around the corner. I will be back!
  • + 2
 I will make sure Quentin sees this. We appreciated the kind words.
  • + 3
 OTE looked after me big time this week, they fixed my shock and put me on a wicked demo bike - basically saved my week. We stayed a week here in Hurr I Kun and were in OTE at least 5 times, and yes, wicked coffee if you don't make it up to River Rock Roasters, can't prop them enough.
  • + 5
 Grafton, then Flying Monkey. Finish it off off with some old Rampage site sessions while drinking beers (to rehydrate) in between all of that, that is my little slice of heaven!!
  • + 3
 Just got back from there. Right when their fat tire fest was happening. Riding with the gf and 9yr old kiddo, but we were able to sample lots of the trails and it is amazing. Brought the RZR too and promptly broke it at Sand Hollow
  • + 5
 Dennis youre a stud! Quentin and his shop OVER THE EDGE is also very studly. Good work guys, love me some Utah riding.
  • + 2
 Had the pleasure of being guided by Bryce Pratt when I was in St. George last October. He and his wife have helped greatly in the youth racing scene and trail development of the area. The whole area was a blast to ride and definitely gives you an "out of this world" feel since every view is amazing and the terrain so varied. Great article!
  • + 2
 Good review.
Just came back from a week long trip there. For 3rd year on a row now. Packed in about 20 hours of riding and 150 km single track this time. Expect temperatures in high teens to high 20's. Epic rides all around, must be willing to sweat it to enjoy it though - no shuttle service here, you usually finish where you started. JEM - Hurricane Rim is the only exception I know but even there you get to earn your turns. We used to combine it with Sedona and/ or Moab for a two-week epic but this seems to be the one place we kept coming back to most often.
  • + 3
 Fantastic pics Brice, really great stuff! I heard a story on NPR the other day that St. George is the fastest growing population center in the entire nation, yikes! Hope it doesn't ruin the vibe.
  • + 3
 My time living in st George introduced me to the freeriding that I love now, surly cowboys, beerless weeks, and too many teenagers looking to “settle down”. Bottoms up st George, and yes I ordered food with my drink.
  • + 3
 Also: Brice, you're photography is getting great. I remember years ago when you were still starting out (before South Bound). You'll hear no more criticism here. Looks awesome.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the great photo essay. Just one correction: the photo with "Zion" in the background was actually Hurricane Mesa (Flying Monkey mesa) although the snow covered domes in the far background are probably in Zion. Nonetheless, those are beautiful images of my second home. Just got back from there with the Knolly group and had an absolute blast. It was fun showing some of the PNW guys around the desert. Thanks to Quentin for showing us the cool lines on Little Creek Mesa and his OTE shop guys for leading us down Flying Monkey.
  • + 1
 We are happy to do it any time we can get away. Riding bikes is Awesome, sharing that experience is even better.
  • + 6
 Utah riding is no good. Please head to Canada.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the article and video! Loads of detail. I tried to make it out last year while I was in Cali but ended up at the beach instead. It's on my bucket list for sure, no so even more!
  • + 1
 Looking for a place in St George area to set up a 65ft air bag....we need a piece of property we can rent for 6 months with a massive hill for an in run and options for some dirt ramps......anyone know of anyone with some space.....?
  • + 1
 Yeah I would try and connect with the folks at Red Rock Bicycle if you're looking specifically in St. George!
  • + 1
 @briceshirbach: found one thanks!
  • + 3
 Dennis Rhodes, fighting fires and saving lives by day, shredding freeride trails by..um.. day.. Such a boss and a genuinely nice dude!
  • + 1
 Spent time here last spring... it was an amazing place. We initially visited OTE for some local trail knowledge and they were super helpful. Came back in the next day and we were hit with the “shop bro” who was extremely unfriendly and not interested in helping us out. Just saying this for the OTE folks whom might be reading this...

Can’t wait to return again and hit more of the trails.
  • + 1
 Great piece, and excellent photography--really well done. Excited for the new trails in the works. And I 100% agree with your statement that Zen should be done CCW. That's probably my favorite trail in Southwest Utah, and Zen followed by a Barrel loop gives a taste of just about every aspect of mountain bike riding.
  • + 1
 I wouldn’t put red rock as the best shop in town the employees can be cocky and arrogant sometimes definitely go with rapid cycling for friendly service and advice they have it going.
  • + 0
 River Rock Coffee in Hurricane and Bit and Spur in Springdale are the ONLY places worth eating at in the area. Everything else is a complete freak show. Made the mistake of eating at Barista's on main street last trip down and wow, it was so f'd up like a David lynch movie.
  • + 2
 Im from Utah, I laughed everytime he said the name of a city becasue he said them like all the asian tourist that don't know crap.
  • + 4
 I'm not an asian tourist, but I'll admit to not knowing crap
  • + 4
 @briceshirbach: Funny thing is, you said the words correctly. The people who live here don't know how to pronounce them!
  • + 2
 @joeypancakes: 100% true
  • + 3
 Sterling qualiry as usual Brice
  • + 4
 and because RAMPAGE!
  • + 2
 off-topic question: do you Americans call a water laced espresso "Americano" as well?
  • + 2
 Some of us call it "an abomination".
  • + 2
 Yeah...what is it called in Euro-land?
  • + 2
 @briceshirbach: in Austria you would order a "verlängerter", means something like extended. the italians (and probably the rest of euroland too) call it americano as well.
  • + 3
 My country. Hayduke country.
  • + 3
 Make "Barrel Trail" great again!
  • + 1
 The SG area has some amazing trails and so many that are super accessible. Hidden gems.
  • + 2
 Gooseberry Mesa took my breath away !
  • + 1
 Great work Cimarron Chacon, the BLM is one of the best things to ever happen to mountain biking.
  • - 2
 You can also ride in Colorado City, which is only 20-30 minutes away. While you're there you can pick up some women and Marry as many as you like. (notorious Polygamist town)
Also dont go in the summer. It's 100+ degrees and it feels hotter than that.
Beautiful in the fall and spring though.
  • - 3
 This guy is a joke can we please get some to write this article that actually knows about Southern Utah and not some douche in a douche beanie thank you. So much that he missed, but this dude seems to think he knows this place hahaha, my nephew could write a better article/produce a better film than this joke of a guy.
  • + 1
 I might be headed out that way this year on my way to moab
  • + 1
 shout out to all the brice/bryces!!!

-another brice
  • + 1
 St. George is a shit hole.
  • + 1
 Gotta tick this off the bucket list soon!
  • - 2
 4 minutes of talking for 2 minutes of GoPro footy... at least the article was good.
  • + 3
 Hahaha well you’re gonna hate these videos...not everything needs to be a sheddit Wink
  • - 1
 It's pronounced "Hurrikuhn" not Hurricane.
  • + 6
 "...but it's pronounced throat warbler mangrove"

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyQvjKqXA0Y
  • - 1
 Yes, and Zion is Zi-in not Zi-on.
  • + 10
 I don't care how the yokels pronounce it. The town was named after a strong wind, not unlike a hurricane. And we all know how hurricane is pronounced. I refuse to participate.
  • + 9
 While I'm there, I like to pronounce La Verkin "La VER-ih-cayne", just to f*ck with people.
  • + 1
 No, it's not.
  • + 0
 only positive comments!!
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