Chasing Epic in St. George

Living in Boulder, CO the last two months have been rough as a mountain biker. We received big snow just before Christmas and in an uncommon weather pattern, it took forever to melt off. We’re left riding spin bikes in our basements, and the occasional dirt road lunch ride if we’re lucky.  Because of this, a few of us made the relatively easy- and picturesque- nine hour drive down to St. George, Utah for a few days of cleansing the soul; aka riding world class singletrack.

St. George sits in an incredible location, sitting in a valley between the Pine Mountains, Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and empty desert to the south. Everywhere you look, you have a beautiful view.   The riding in St. George is unique as well, with no major climbs; here, you’ll find mostly rolling terrain with technical, twisty singletrack to keep you on your toes.  

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There are numerous trail systems either in town or within a 15 minute drive, and you’ll want someone local to show you the ropes.  With our timing, we unfortunately weren’t able to ride the “bucket list” trails like Gooseberry Mesa; but make no mistake, even the lower elevation rides in the St. George area are incredible fun.  This makes St. George an absolutely perfect spring trip destination.

Santa Clara Trails: Barrel Roll, Sidewinder, and Suicidal Tendencies

Despite the name, there’s nothing serious to worry about here.  In fact, for a trail system so close to town, these should be on everyone’s must-visit list.  Despite literally being on the western edge of St. George, this network is built on a series of anticlines that allow you to feel like you’re away from it all. The trails are intermediate in both physical and technical ability, something any mildly-experienced rider can enjoy for hours.  The loop we ended up riding was about 15 miles and climbed only 1500 feet with no steep or extended climbs anywhere to be seen; a breath of fresh air for this Front Range mountain biker.StGeorgeDay1-3Hurricane Rim and the Boy Scout Loops

In the days leading up to our St. George trip, we had heard mixed reviews on the conditions for the Hurricane Rim loop (an IMBA Epic, by the way), so we decided to check it out for ourselves. We parked at the far western lot just off highway 59; after climbing the 1-2 mile dirt road, we hit Goulds Rim… all was well. 

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Heading east on Goulds, we were mostly in good spirits because while soft, the trail was still rideable. However, as we finished Goulds and headed north on the dirt road towards JEM, our luck quickly changed.  Once we saw the JEM trail, we made a no-brainer decision to cut our ride short (about 15-miles including the highway ride back to the car), minimize our losses, and head elsewhere.

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After cleaning off our bikes at the do-it-yourself car wash in Hurricane, we grabbed a bite to eat and made our way over to the Boy Scout Loops on the west side of town. These loops were designed and built by the crew at Over the Edge, and they’re a great addition to the local trail options. 

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The layout of the loops is such that you can pick your ride length – and your poison, by the number of loops you choose to ride. The rides are fairly technical in nature, with quick punchy climbs followed by short bursts of downhill; a nice contrast to the smooth trail of Hurricane Rim.  We managed to add another six miles of riding before sunset, but on these trails it felt like twice that!

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The Zen Trail

This trail is known for being one of the more fun in the area, and it’s well-deserved. The Zen Trail has a great mix of flowy singletrack, technical rock sections, sustained downhills, and incredible rock formations. If I was a St. George local, I’d be a regular on the Zen trail.  It sits on the western edge of town (and civilization) but despite being so close, we didn’t see another soul during two hours of riding.

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Experience St. George the Right Way

A brand new local adventure travel company- Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures– offers three and four-day all-inclusive, guided trips across the western US, and St. George is their first trip of the year from April 8-11.  They’re changing the game when it comes to all-inclusive mountain bike travel; not only do they bring you the staples like boutique lodging, meals, and guides, but they also include high-end carbon mountain bikes (from Ibis and Niner), customized training programs from Training Peaks, ride nutrition, and lots more.  They offer 20 scheduled trips between April and November, plus they have the option to book fully customized, private trips if your crew is big enough (6 or more).  2016 destinations include:

Crested Butte

Durango

Fruita

Park City

Sedona

St. George

Telluride

With so many trip options, which will you choose for your next adventure?  Chasing Epic is offering all Elevation Outdoors subscribers and readers a special promotion:  use code ELEVATION100 for $100 off your next Chasing Epic trip!

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