Okay, we’ve all heard of Moab, Utah and know it is a mecca for mountain biking in Southern Utah. There is no denying Moab and what it has to offer, it truly is an amazing place to ride… But, as I found out during my mountain bike research, there is another “mecca” in Utah called St. George. Now I’m sure many of you reading this are saying, “ya we know, we’ve been there, live there”, but for a Canadian like myself, I had never heard of St. George and am very glad now that I’ve not only heard of St. George but have been there and done that, well did a small portion of that. I’m lucky enough to live in beautiful Kimberley BC, which has great local mountain biking trails with a tonne of other areas around hosting some of the best riding in Canada. But, St. George is a totally different place with slick rock, red rock, lava rock, and desert like conditions, great trail builders, which all adds up to world class mountain biking. We went down for the last week of March, 2018 and found not only the riding to be spectacular but the temperatures to be just about perfect. I’ll break down our road trip day by day and give you a brief overview of each ride. I’m planning on creating a review with more details on each ride we did in the coming days. If you’re looking for a great Mountain Bike adventure/trip then hopefully after reading this you will consider St. George as we can’t wait to go back.
Google Maps showed us that our drive would be 16.5 hours from Kimberley BC, to St. George Utah. We left on Thursday March 22, 2018 at 8:30 am and headed south. We crossed the boarder at Rooseville, Montana and had probably the best/funniest US boarder guard I’ve ever seen, and I’ve crossed the boarder a few times. This guy had on not only the uniform, but his leather bomber Jacket with his US Customs hat and Aviator glasses because it was overcast and raining…. Anyways after getting question as to our reason for entering blah, blah, blah he stood there with our passports and stared into the truck with his Aviators never leaving his face, looking at me then the kids in the back, then at me, then at the kids in the back. After what seemed like an eternity and me trying my hardest to not laugh or even crack a smile as this dude was obviously very serious, he finally handed back our passports and said we were free to go. As soon as we pulled away the family all had a good laugh and carried on southbound. We stayed on Highway 93 all the way down to Missoula, Montana where we hopped on the the I90 east toward Butte where we jumped onto the I90 south. We pushed all the way down to Idaho Falls, Idaho were we found the Fairbridge Inn and Suites with a room for only $59. It had been cloudy and raining most of the way down but the views were still pretty nice as it was all new territory of us. We were all bagged from sitting in the truck and ate the hotel restaurant, Bees Knees Pub, which was really good. After this it was pretty much bedtime.
Day two started off with a little less rain and everyone keen to get on the road. The hotel (for only $59) provided an average continental breakfast as well which was good enough to get us on the road. We loaded up the bikes from our room, filled up with gas, and hit the I90 south by 8:30 am again. As we pushed south through Idaho the kids spotted the sign for the “Patato Museum” in Blackfoot, Idaho and wanted to stop as my oldest son is in love with Potatoes and all the greasy foods they create. I promised them we’d stop on the way back, but today we were pushing through to St. George. Not long into the drive we crossed into Utah State and everyone started to get a little more excited. It was raining on and off and we sailed right through Salt Lake City stopping on the south side for lunch. After a quick stop we were back on the road and pushing to St. George. You could see the landscape start to change into more desert like conditions and the mountains starting to change colour a to a bit more red in places. The temperature was slowly starting to rise as well now heading into the double digits (Celsius). As we drove closer and closer you could really start to see the change in the landscape and again watch the temperature rise. The last half hour or so you really start to drop down as you go through Zion National Park and finally into St. George which sits at just below 3000 feet. The rocks/mesas/mountains, were all different shades of read, cream, black, and grey. Some had extraordinary shapes and texture which really put us all in awe. We had rented a condo Washington which is really just a suburb of St. George only a few miles from the town centre. We rented a 3 bedroom Condo in which worked out great. It had a heated pool and hot tub which we utilized every day. The hotels were really expensive in St. George and if you are planning on staying more than a couple of nights this is the way to go. A fully stocked condo allows you to do laundry, cook your own meals and everyone to have their own space. It also had a two car garage which was great for storing the bikes. The condo we got at Choe’s Casita through VRBO was about $140 US per night and definitely worth it. If you have a nice camper it would also be a good option as there is a lot of free camping near the Mesas. Once we were settled in we bought some groceries and beers. On the way back we stopped at Red Rock Cycle in St. George and found some great deals on gloves and also bought a few souvenirs. Once back at the condo we cooked up some dinner and then hit he pool and hot tub.
Well, here we are, finally ready to ride in Utah and thanks to the Mountain Bike Project App we located a ride right across the highway from our condo. We rode the Church Rocks and Dino Cliffs trails which are rated blue trails and a perfect first ride of the year ride for us. Not a tonne of climbing but enough to wake up your legs. It took us about two hours to ride but that included a lot of picture stops. I’ll let the photos below do all the talking. Once back at the condo we ate some lunch and then hit the pool and hot tub.
Riding Day #2. Now that we have the “warm up” ride out of the way it’s time to hit some “must do” rides in St. George. So we headed to the Zen Trail. This rated as a black diamond trail and has more climbing than our first ride. The Zen Trail did not disappoint. It had amazing views (as did almost everywhere we went in the St. George area), assume slick rock to climb on and some great technical areas throughout the ride that would challenge any level of rider. I would say this ride took us just over two hours to complete but again we stopped for a lot of pics, views, and admittedly to walk a few of the techy areas. Everyone loved the ride even thought there were a few challenging areas. And here are some picks to give you an idea of how fun this ride is.
Day 5 was to be a rest day, but, we decided to ride because it’s sooo good… We thought maybe an easier trail, so again with the help of our Mountain Bike Project App the kids chose to go to Quail Creek. Today was very windy as it does tend to get a little bit windy through the hole valley. This was a great 3rd day ride for us. Again, not a tonne of climbing, mostly on red dirt with a little bit of rock riding, made this a great trail, and you guessed it, it had amazing views. Here are the Pics to prove it.
Ok, Day 6 was a rest day from biking…. NOT… Again we were having so much fun biking we decided to keep going and do another “must do” ride, the Wire Mesa. It did not disappoint. This is a must do ride. It was very, very, very scenic and flowy. It took us about 45 minutes to get there from our condo as it’s up near Hurricane. About half the drive was on dirt/red sand roads. If there has been a rainfall these roads were not recommended to travel on. There is a bunch of free camping up near these Mesas and would be a great way to stay cheap and enjoy the area. Enjoy the pics.
Our last day of riding and we saved one of the best for last, the Gooseberry Messa. This trail is rated as one of the best in Utah and if not the country and it didn’t disappoint. This trail is right near and overlooks Zion National Park. We rode up and back along the north rim trail. It is close to the Wire Messa we road the day before. It has two dedicated parking areas and took approximately 45 minutes to get there from our condo. It felt like we were riding on the moon at times. There are different loops you can take throughout this ride all with varying levels of difficulty. The family was pretty worn from our big week of riding and we opted to not do the more technical loop. I could go on and on about how great this ride is but I’ll just let you check out the pics.
This was drive home day. On the way we decided to take a quick look at Cedar Breaks Park which was just off the highway at Cedar City. We drove up through Brians Head Ski resort, which was still open with snow to the look out point. More amazing views all around. Another place I’m sure you could spend days on end hiking around.
I think the photos of this trip say it all. If you are looking for an amazing bike trip with world class endless trails, St George Utah is for you. We did a little bit of hiking but didn’t even scratch the surface of what this place has to offer. If you are a roadie, there were miles of paved trails through some very scenic parks for you too. In short, St George is highly recommended and we will definitely be going back.