Mountain Biking

In a state that features a town which considers itself the center of the mountain bike universe, all other venues are made to seem as compromises by comparison.  Yet it is the southwestern (not southeastern) corner of the state that features the greatest variety of both trails and styles of riding, and, unlike Moab, has a range of elevations from 2800 ft, to 11,000 feet above sea level. This means that you don’t need to put your bike away for any of the seasons, just adjust the elevation and time of day that you choose to ride on the 300 days of the year when it does not rain. It also means an increased sense of solitude on the trails, hours of riding without seeing another soul, and never having to stop and let someone pass on a narrow single track.

mountain biking virgin river rim trail

riding through the aspens on the virgin river rim trail

Why come to Southwestern Utah to mountain bike?   In a very few words: Variety, Quality and Year- round riding. 

Variety: This means variety both in terms of types of riding; Cross country, technical, trail rides, downhills, or family bike paths. It also means variety in terms of the type of landscape that you are riding through:  low desert, red rock, slick rock mesa tops, spruce/aspen lined lakes and flower covered meadows, hoodoo’s and red rock spires.

Quality:  This means that we don’t ride on gravel roads, farm roads, jeep roads, or double track roads. The trails are hand built single track specifically designed for mountain biking, which means ridable, not push your bike uphill for miles. It also means that we encounter few other users (hikers, horseback riders, motorcycle riders or trail runners) on the trails other than mountain bikers. (no bells required)

Year-round riding: Early morning rides in the summer months mean temps in the 70’s and 80’s moving upward in elevation as the day warms. Winter afternoon rides on most of the trails below 6000 feet is in shorts and t-shirts. Spring and fall when you want to see either wildflowers and blooming cactus or fall colors.

How do I get to St. George?

1. Fly into Las Vegas International airport and either

2. Fly Into St. George municipal airport and rent a car

Should I stay in St. George, Hurricane or Springdale:

  • George offers the greatest choices of accommodations, food, and services than either Hurricane or Springdale, a lower sales tax rate than Springdale, but a small increase in travel times to the trails east of Hurricane of about 20- 40 minutes  Lodging/Camping info
  • Hurricane would offer less travel times to the mesa rides of Gooseberry, Little Creek, and Guacamole as well as the Hurricane rim system, but fewer lodging, eating, or bike rental options. Lodging info
  • Springdale is the gateway village to Zion national park, and would be a good choice if spending several days in the park itself is part of your agenda. Lodging info

St. George Lodging: There are a wealth of lodging options when choosing to stay in St. George itself. From budget motels, to full service options. Snow Canyon state park offers a campground experience, and there are several local holiday resorts that cater to those with either recreational vehicles, the desire to set up a tent or sleep out of their cars. For the ultimate in no cost accommodation the town is surrounded by public lands, and the BLM has designated specific areas north of town that provide the option of dispersed camping available up to 16 days.                                                    St. George Hotel/Motel info   Vacation Home / Condo Rentals   Fee Camping    Dispersed Camping on public lands

 Should I bring my bike or rent a bike?

Bringing your own bike is both a great way to keep the costs of the trip under control as well as giving you the chance to ride on equipment that you are familiar with. Though transporting a bike on an airline does often incur extra costs, and the inevitable deconstruction of the bike and packaging in an airline approved container is both time consuming and also costly. The real question is what kind of cost savings will you realize by bringing your own bike vs renting a bike from a local shop.  I would suggest that for trips where you are going to ride 1 week or less, renting would offer both cost savings as well as convienance, while trips of 2 weeks or more the fees for rental really begin to add up and make it reasonable to consider bringing your own bike.

Local Bike Shops :

St. George has 3 great bike shops that all offer both rentals, as well as reassembly services that will get your bike out of the shipping crate and onto the road.

Rapid Cycling:  On the west side of town off of North Bluff Street, and on the east side near the Red Cliffs Mall.  Rapid Cycling stocks Scott, Kona, BMC and Giant bikes and has a full service shop for repairs and rebuilding.

Bicycles Unlimited:  In the middle of town this is the original shop in St. George with decades of experience and knowledge.  Bicycles Unlimited stocks Cannondale, Trek, GT, and Haro bikes and a full service shop.

Red Rock Bicycles:  In the middle of Bluff Street Red Rock Bicycles is the most upscale shop in the region offering top of the line sales and service on Santa Cruz, Specialized, and S-Works models.

Hurricane has one full service bike shop that offers rentals, repairs, and a shuttle to the mesa rides just outside of town.

Over the Edge Bicycles: On the way up the hill to the JEM, Gooseberry, and Little creek this full service bike shop features Rocky Mountain, Ibis, Pivot, and Nooby Bikes.

Cedar City has 2 year round bike shops that offer both seasonal rentals as well as sales and repair.

Cedar Cycle: Full service sales, rentals, repair in the original Cedar city bike shop. Specialized, Trek, Jamis, and Diamondback bikes are featured.

Cedar Sports:   A new shop in Cedar City specializing in rental equipment.

Getting your bike around town and out to the trails

While all of the local shops rent great bikes, once you rent one they kind of leave it up to you to get it around town, and out to the trail head. It is very common to see very nice bikes being pulled out of car trunks on out the back of SUV’s at the trail heads.  Paragon Adventures offers a full range of mountain bike services:

-Free advice on the trails,  how to get to them, and how best to ride them

-Bike rack rental

-Shuttle services

-Full service guided programs where all the guest has to do is pedal and smile.

 Bike Shuttle Services:

While many of the riding options here are loop rides, and some of them are also fun to ride as out and back, most of the downhill rides are trails that are really only feasible with a shuttle drop off, or pick up.

Rides best done with a shuttle:

  • Thunder mountain
  • Blowhard mountain
  • Dark Hollow
  • Bunker Creek
  • Hurricane rim- to ride all the sections in the best direction
  • The “C” trail

Companies that offer shuttle services:

  • Paragon Adventures
  • Mountain Bike Buddies

Guide Services:

Sometimes you want to leave everything but the pedaling to professionals. Hiring a guide eliminates all of the logistics from the mountain biking experience leaving the guest with nothing to do but enjoy the riding. Full service guiding should also provide instruction on riding technique, offer the ability to handle any on trail breakdowns or maintenance issues, and be a resource of information on the natural history, geology and environment that you are riding in and over. A really outstanding guide service will also help you preserve the experience to share later with friends and family in the form of digital photos and videos.

Full Service mountain bike guiding companies:

  • Paragon Adventures
  • Bike Zion
  • Zion Adventure Company
  • Utah Mountain bike Adventures