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Tour De Southern Utah - We have barely scratched the surface

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
The last 2 days we did some really amazing riding around Cedar City, and St George. The scenery was amazing, the flow was unmatched. But above the uniqueness of each ride was just so cool, only a couple hours apart each.

The first ride we did was on Thurday was Thunder Mountain. Thunder Mountain is a 100 percent singletrack trail that runs for 8 miles though a canyon very much like Bryce Canyon National Park. Claron Formation is the type of soft red rock that your riding on on this ride. Its alot rough than it looks in the pictures, and its not that gripy. In fact its quite slippery.

http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/thunder.htm A great trail guide and despription if your ever in the area and you want to do it yourself.



We climbed up the paved trail(the singletrack is really too steep for enjoyable climbing so we took the easy way out) and rode the singletrack back to out car at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead. 8000 Feet to 9200 feet 1800 feet of climbing, 16.1 miles of riding. Not that much be we are here for the uniqueness and scenery the fact that the riding is actually really good as well is just a bonus.

Starts off simple enough some singletrack pass the trail sign


Me on the start of the ride outside of the canyon, still really fun singletrack


Jtrue enjoying the start of the ride


More of the start flowing singletrack for mile



As you get in to the canyon the views change and the riding surface turns
red.



Jason


Me with Hoodoos in the back



Lonnie climbing up with a great view behind him


Seth on the endless flow


Me on the spine, pretty cool eh?


Jump for joy


yeah weird


the only 2 bikes we caw in about 50 miles of riding in 2 days, we call them the most hardcore biker we have ever seen. I couldnt ride a comfort bike around thunder thats for sure


I cant believe trees actaully grow up here.


Lonnie knew he wanted to turn left to get a better view here.


why we barely scratched the surface here? there is 20 more miles of riding right accross the street here, but we wanted to ride the famous gooseberry mesa as well, and we had to get going.

Driving though Zion National Park


When you following directions on how to get to Gooseberry you suppose to a go south on Bridge Road in Rockport. The sign sucks for bridge but just look for the grafton mesa sign


Eventually you will see this sign


which takes you to this view

and some of the most fun riding you will find anywhere. there is no elevation change at all here just quick up and downs and lot of tight turns. its techie east coast riding on top of mesa in southern Utah. being able to see more than 20 feet in front of you is a rarity, and you will ride steeper uphills than you could of ever imagined. Slickrock = Griprock.

Compared to slickrock in Moab, Gooseberry Mesa is more fun, not as scary, more techinal, and alot less work. a average bike could ride here and not be scared they wont clear everything but there is not one point where your thinking about being hurt here.

If you want to go here is how you get there and more about this great trail system.

http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/goose.htm

another view from the top


the pictures of the riding we took dont do this place justice, plus with the sunsetting we werent stopping as much

Lonnie getting ready for some burst strenght up the next hill


Jtrue showing why it really is grip rock


griprock rocks


The light was really cool


2 foot ledge up to this point then you drop back down and go right back up a 3 foot ledge


thats all from gooseberry next post will be of the Virgin River Rim.
post #2 of 19
Thanks for the awesome pictures!!!
post #3 of 19
looks like you found goosberry. sweet TR.
post #4 of 19
Nice guys! Must've been hot at Gooseberry. I had one of the best campsites ever there a few years ago, looking north to Zion. I've also done Thunder Mountain a couple of times, the canyon scenery is sureal. I'm looking forward to your report on Virgin River. We did a few sections, camping one night at Cedar Breaks & another at little Navajo Lake near Brianhead with a cool loop trail around the lake for evening fun.

Thanks,
JF
post #5 of 19
Wow, just wow.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Day 2 - Virgin River Rim trail

If Gooseberry Mesa is the most fun stunxts country trail I have ever ridden. Virgin River Rim is the best XC epic trail I have ever ridden.

1. Flowing Buff singletrack check
2. awesome views
3. pleasant weather(high of 74 degree!!)
4. rock gardens, fun rock gardens
5. up and down and all round trail is never boring
6. Log crossing
7.creek crossing.

this will be new camp/bike mini vacation sight. We rode roughly 25-30 miles of trails down there between VRR and the Navajo Lake Loop. There is alot more riding to do VRR by itself is 33.6 mile and 8000 feet of climbing. to do it as out and back means 67.2 miles and 16000 feet of climbing all on technical singletrack(make the TDF seem easy doesnt it?). Also there are tons of other great singletrack around the area and we rode one of them hte Navajo Lake Loop. A must ride just to see the Lava flows and mini(10 feet tall) volcanos that are there.

About 40 percent of the trail looks like this. Jason FS bike doesnt seem to care though.



the other 60 percent is buff a rama


I had fun on some of these


I even destroyed this one so the next guy can ride it easier


look at the log now, boy I showed it !!!!


Seth enjoying the buffness


100s of miles of this are in a place you never even heard of


Me looking down about 6000 feet of so..


In the woods


there are switchbacks


Seth likes it


then we reached Navajo Lake loop which is fun, and alot less technical than the VRR trail. Plus you get to ride though a Lava flow in a utah pine forest how cool is that?

there is actaully warning signs telling you not to fall on the Lava rock cause it will cut you, really? I didnt know




wildflower seem to like the ignesous rock


Lava Rock, Mountain Biking, Navajo Lake, Navajo Peak(elevation 9700 feet)


after the lava flow you ride the fastest, flowiest singletrack for about 3 miles. talking tallest sproket pedal to medal stuff here folks


thats all folks peace
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
Nice guys! Must've been hot at Gooseberry. I had one of the best campsites ever there a few years ago, looking north to Zion. I've also done Thunder Mountain a couple of times, the canyon scenery is sureal. I'm looking forward to your report on Virgin River. We did a few sections, camping one night at Cedar Breaks & another at little Navajo Lake near Brianhead with a cool loop trail around the lake for evening fun.

Thanks,
JF
best XC trail anywhere, hands down not even close. do you think you would be in for an out and back, 66 miles?
post #8 of 19
Wow! Yet another awesome trip report.



By the way, the Utah Travel Council called....They want to hire you
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
best XC trail anywhere, hands down not even close. do you think you would be in for an out and back, 66 miles?
I might make it out, but I don't think I would make it back :. I don't think I've ever done more than 50 miles on a Mt. bike, & certainly not with that kind of climbing. I do know people who could & would, I'm just not one of them.

Great pic's & trip though,

JF
post #10 of 19
Ok, so after 30 mins of working on this before, here is attempt #2. Too Lazy and Too Tired to make a real go of it again, so this is what you get.

Me, Bushwacker, Jtrue and SpicyThaiSausage took off for Thunder Mtn, Gooseberry Mesa and The Virgin River Rim. In true team shitshow fashion, what we lacked in preparation, we more than made up for with enthusiasm.

Part 1. Thunder Mtn.

Jtrue On Thunder


Bushwacker. All Smiles All The Time.




See What I mean?


Seth. He's been in UT a week.


Hummm. I'm not sure Bushwacker was smiling after this.


JTrue Plays Photographer


I think we took a wrong turn...





























My favorite photo of the whole trip.






post #11 of 19
Part 2.

After riding Thunder, the plan was to pack up, run through Zion NP, ride, turn around buy some food for breakfast and head up to Navajo Lake and camp, get up and ride the VR rim.

A few things we didn't take into account.

1) We didn't calcualte on the $25 per car to travel through Zion.
2) That it would take so long to drive through zion NP with all the turons
3) Lonnie didn't print the instruction on how to get to gooseberry
3a) The sing to bridge road, is invisible.
4) That it was so far up to the mesa from the road.
5) The road up to the mesa would be jacked.
6) Lonnie's Subbie with 4 bikes on the roof, gear and 4 guys in 100 Deg heat wouldn't be happy.
7) Every where you could buy food for breakfast in Springdale UT shuts down at 9:30.
8) 30 miles on improvped dirt road to navajo lake takes a LONG time.

I knew we were in "trouble" when we arived at gooseberry at 7:00 pm. I think we all enjoyed this one the most, which is why there are so few pics. Anyway, a good time was had by all.

The "sign" to bridge road....


Must be getting closer.


MADE IT! (it's a GPS, not a cell phone...)
















Team Shitshow at Sunset with PBR's
post #12 of 19
Part 3 Virgin River Rim.

So after a pricey pizza and some free garlic bread in Springdale, we blew back though Zion NP in the dark, picked up Jtrue's ride head up the road and found the "shortcut" road up to navajo lake. Bushwackers estimate was "around 25 miles". No problem. A hour and 15 mins later we made it. I've driven on lots of backroads in my life, and this one was pretty "back". When we forded the stream, I'm sure J and Seth were wondering what was going on. Bushwacker slept for the end of it.

So we rolled into camp sometime after midnight and crashed. Woke up the next am to this.




The Breakfast of champions.


Undetered we rolled on. Bushwacker playing with some Lincon logs





It was like a mini bryce canyon in places.


We found a few rock gardens...




And some Buff single track






















And a few really BIG trees.


After we rode part of the Virgin River Rim we talked to some other bikers and said that the navajo lake loop trail had some really nice sections on it. We used that to get back home. They were right.

Lava? Is this UT or Hawaii?


A few flowers for Jtrue






SO Buff!



JTrue Kills It.


And that, was that!
post #13 of 19
Very nice gentlemen....

I may have to gather up a few HillBilly Mountaineers and head west this fall!
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post
Very nice gentlemen....

I may have to gather up a few HillBilly Mountaineers and head west this fall!
just let me know when you comin I am coming your way end of sept
post #15 of 19
Let me know where and when. The week of Sept. 13 - 21 is out for me. My colleague is on vacation.

As far as Utah? Don't know yet, Negotiations are underway. Perhaps mid Oct. around 24 hours of Moab time.

This is my favorite...





Nice hat!
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post
Let me know where and when. The week of Sept. 13 - 21 is out for me. My colleague is on vacation.

As far as Utah? Don't know yet, Negotiations are underway. Perhaps mid Oct. around 24 hours of Moab time.

This is my favorite...





Nice hat!
as long you guys arent just riding Moab I would love to ride with you. In fact I should be driving back across the country around that time and would be game for a stopping and riding along the way.

as for those people they thought the ride was an easy 25 minutes ride on easy trail. they had slick tired comfort bikes and I didnt see them shift at all.

We filled up there water bottles and gave them a cliff bar and were snet with a message to thier teenage childern that they were ok but were going ot need sometime.

honestly if you come to utah dont just ride Moab, Moab doesnt have the best trails they have the best marketing. they dont even have the best slickrock trail in utah. Rockville does
post #17 of 19
& where is this Rockville place? Inquiring minds want to know!

Thanks,
JF

Nevermind, found it on the map & yes it is a great place!
post #18 of 19
It looks bad for a UT trip this fall. I made some calls last night. I couldn't get much support.

If you are in WV area., let me know. I know most of the trails in the state and surrounding areas. I could take some time off, Miami John said he would too. It would definately be worth your while. I find these group rides, shall we say, Inspiring!

Some dates to consider: Oct 18th Bridge Day, Sept 5th - Oct 19th fall Gauley Rafting season!
post #19 of 19
Great pix, Josh.

Michael
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