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Gooseberry Mesa - The big loop

Consensus:    (details)
 4.8 from 14 votes
  Difficult from 4 votes
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Rank: #1 in the Zion National Park area
#4 in Utah
#21 Overall
Featured Ride near Virgin,  area, 
“A local and global favorite - longer and more difficult than the South Rim and Hidden Canyon Loop.”
Kevin Christopherson on Sep 29, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
12.620.3 milesKilometers 541’165 m Ascent 5,402’1,646 m High 1.6% Avg Grade
100% Singletrack -541’-165 m Descent 5,066’1,544 m Low 5.5% Max Grade
Overview
2:36 average ride time for 15.3 miles. Details

Gooseberry Mesa is a world class trail. You'll literally meet people from all over the world riding here. It's one of the best technical trails anywhere with rolling slickrock, twisty singletrack, and vistas to die for. I rated this loop black diamond overall, but there are some sections on the South Rim Trail that are double black diamond.

There are many different ways to ride this trail network, and they are all awesome. The trail is marked with white paint dots on the slickrock and signs at the junctions. It is a difficult trail, but there are no surprises. If you don't feel comfortable riding a section, simply walk it.

The loop described here starts on the South Rim, follows the rim around to the North Rim Trail, to the Windmill trail, back to Bowls and Ledges, and ends on the Practice Trail. If this is your first time, you may want to ride the Practice Trail first to get your Gooseberry groove on. Bring lots of water. There is no drinking water available on the mesa. There is primitive camping in the area.
Need To Know
There is no drinking water available on the mesa. Do not attempt to drive on the road after a storm. This road becomes impassable to 4x4 vehicles when it is muddy.
Description
The turnoff to Gooseberry Mesa is about 15 minutes east of Hurricane, Utah on Highway 59. There is a large sign on the highway directing you to Gooseberry Mesa. Turn north here onto an unpaved road. Follow the signs for about 30 minutes to the White Trailhead. The road is a little bumpy in places, but I've seen all types of cars at the trailhead. Just go slow if you are driving a low clearance vehicle. You can ride this trail year round, but do not try the road after a storm. When muddy It is impassable, even for 4x4 vehicles.

The Gooseberry Mesa trail network sits at 5200 feet elevation on a slickrock mesa and it's like a giant urban bike park. The trail is marked with white paint dots on the slickrock and signs at the junctions. The network is a bit of a maze, but fairly easy to follow. The trail undulates up and down house size sandstone mounds and twists through tight rock canyons. It's the perfect technical mountain bike trail. There are many ways to connect the various trails to make it longer or shorter, harder or easier, and they're all good. The loop described here is technical because the South Rim Trail has several double black diamond sections.

This ride starts heading south on the South Rim Trail that leaves directly from the White Trailhead. The sequence of trails going clockwise is; South Rim Trail - (view point) - North Rim Trail - Windmill Trail (out and back) - Bowls and Ledges - Practice Trail. This loop is only 13 miles, but don't be fooled. It will take most people around four hours to complete. This loop takes in all of the network except Hidden Canyon and part of the Practice Trail. This ride can be ridden either direction, and easily modified. For example, you can cut off the out and back on the Windmill Trail and go directly onto Bowls and Ledges; or instead of backtracking on the Windmill Trail, you can loop around on the dirt road back to the White Trailhead.
History & Background
This trail was created by the Harris brothers over 20 years ago. Morgan and others still work to maintain it. The effort that went into this trail, and still goes on, is a testament to the positive vibe of the mountain bike tribe. In 2006 it was granted National Recreation Trail Status. The BLM does a good job maintaining, and improving, the infrastructure associated with this trail network.
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Jun 21
dry and nice weather 90 degrees.
May 21
a bit windy otherwise perfect
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COMMENTS
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
4.8 (9)
It's Gooseberry baby. One of the most famous trails in mountain biking.
near Virgin, UT
4.5 (6)
A popular loop that combines three fun trails with easy climbs, fast descendi...
near Virgin, UT
4.1 (8)
A local favorite with easy climbs and fast flowy descents.
near Virgin, UT

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PHOTOS of Gooseberry Mesa - The big loop
 5.0 from 5 votes
Checking out the views of distant Zion National Park from the north rim ... (Virgin, UT)
 4.3 from 3 votes
Practice Loop with Zion National Park in the distant background. (Virgin, UT)
 3.7 from 3 votes
the scenery along north rim is spectacular (Virgin, UT)
 3.5 from 4 votes
One last climb. (Virgin, UT)
 3.3 from 3 votes
South Rim scenery and a nice view of Zion National Park (Hurricane, UT)
 3.3 from 3 votes
View towards Zion. (Virgin, UT)
 3.0 from 3 votes
slickrock on bowls and ledges trail (Virgin, UT)
 3.0 from 3 votes
On the edge. (Virgin, UT)
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