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Fall is for Riding in St. George

Take a little mental road trip with me for a second. Imagine perfect weather. Weather that inspires you to go outside. The kind that you might want a light jacket for in the morning, but the sun warms you through the light layer giving your body a gentle solar snuggle. As you begin getting ready to ride, the warmth continues till you need to take off your jacket and the sun continues to kiss your skin giving you the reassurance that you will not need that jacket again until that big red ball drops into the night sky.

Now that you have a feel for what the weather will be like, imagine that you are surrounded by the beauty of Zion National Park. A place so amazing that traffic has more than tripled in the last couple of years. And one that makes us forget that it’s not just Zion that makes this place pop in every Instagram post. It’s the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve to the north. It’s Snow Canyon State Park in the West with the backdrop of Pine Valley Mountain. It’s Kolob, Gooseberry Mesa, the Hurricane Cliffs. It’s kind of like having the opportunity to sit in god’s art gallery.

And to finish off our trip through your imagination, drop a ton of amazing trails right smack in the dab of that perfectly temperature controlled art gallery and you have St. George.

WP_20161002_12_54_59_Rich__highresLet’s start with the most obvious of those trails, Gooseberry Mesa. Located just outside of Zion National Park’s boundaries, the mesa, or the Goose as locals call it, provides astonishing views of the park. From the North Rim, you can look right into the canyon. And what better photo than you, your bike, some buddies and Zion flanking you. Not only is the scenery top notch, you will be treated to one of the best mountain bike trails in the world. The mesa consists of big, white sandstone patches that provide plenty of play opportunities. Plus, you’ll start to question what can be done on a bike as you figure out the ridiculous amount of traction that rubber can afford you on sandstone. It’s kind of like Velcro.

WP_20160925_10_20_36_Rich__highresParadise and City Creek are a couple of the locals’ favorites. Sitting on the north side of the valley, the trails wind their way through the expanses of the iconic red sandstone. These trails will challenge you. They have some fun downhills, a couple of hairy moves that may make you question the possible outcomes and plenty of chunk for those wanting the tech. Both trails are about 4 miles long making them perfect for a quick escape or linked together for a good ride. Of course, being on top of the red bluffs gives you plenty of selfie opportunities.

WP_20161003_15_15_31_Rich__highresThere exists a smooth dirt road in the heart of one of the most beautiful canyons in Southern Utah. It’s a road that is easily accessible and is open to bicycle traffic, but one that you won’t find too many people on. In fact, me letting you know about it might create some controversy, but it’s too good to keep a secret. Within Snow Canyon State Park lies West Canyon. It is as beautiful, or arguably more, than the main canyon but is only accessible to the public by non-motorized means. When you hit the end of the dirt road, you will most likely be surrounded by silence and if you hit it at the right time of day,  be witness to some pretty stunning sunsets. Just don’t let anyone else know about it.

WP_20160903_16_53_55_Rich__highresAre you into big miles? Like miles that or so big that they might take you a couple of days to finish? There are plenty of places to camp and tons of miles to ride making St. George an excellent place for a bikepacking trip. Pictured above is the Prospector Trail which can be used to access the Red Cliffs Recreation Area and Quail Creek State Park. Both of which have established camping and are a perfect place to visit this time of year. Into something a bit bigger, check out our route to Toroweap or Oak Grove.

_DSC2131Of course, it’s not all just about dirt. There are tons of popular road riding routes as well. The most popular, the Gunlock Loop, was recently designated with signs to help you navigate. The ride takes you from St. George out into some of the rural communities passing by Snow Canyon and Kayenta before heading toward the quaint Gunlock. The Wall awaits you as you leave town and begin the climb up to the mesa above. Once at the top, you will want to stop in at Veyo Pies and grab a slice before descending Highway 18 back to town.

WP_20160826_19_53_00_Rich__highresNovember is one of the best times to ride in Southern Utah. We’ve got the maps, the trail knowledge and everything else you could need. Don’t want to shlep your bike here, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Just snag one of our top notch rentals for your stay and we’ll do the clean up when you’re done. If you would prefer to ride with others, join us over Thanksgiving Weekend for some great group rides and mini-festival.

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