Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail
By Kristi Bray, Recreation.gov
With spectacular views, Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail in southwestern Utah provides a unique setting for technically challenging mountain biking. (Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA)
Surrounded by red rock mesas, colorful slickrock and the sentinel spires of Zion National Park, experienced mountain bikers consider Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail (NRT) to be world-class riding. Whether on a cross-country or downhill bike, riders are in for fast dirt single-track with limitless views, tight turns and technical hard rock trails sure to take your breath away.
Expertly designed, Gooseberry Mesa trails (PDF) are a series of interconnecting loops that allow cyclists to customize the length and technical difficulty of each ride. Choose an “out-and-back” or combine the loops for over 18 miles (28.9 km) of riding.
This is considered to be challenging mountain bike terrain. With obstacles, drop-offs, ledges and slickrock, riders should be well-versed in difficult to extreme mountain biking. Not to mention, the climate can be extreme as well—quickly changing weather can occur in this desert environment and with a dirt access road, travel can be difficult during bad weather.
There is no water available in the area—bring plenty of drinking water for your visit (and then some, just in case!).
Camping and Adventures in the Area
Just over an hour away, Zion National Park beckons visitors to explore the park and enjoy the amenities of the Watchman Campground. Book ahead for this campground; its stunning views of the surrounding sandstone walls and cliffs are hard to resist!
If a stunning red sandstone backdrop is appealing, try camping at Sand Hollow State Park. The campgrounds offer amenities like electricity and water hookups and rentals are located at the south end of the lake (kayaks, paddleboards and more). If you’re looking for adventure, try renting an off-highway vehicle and explore the dunes of Sand Mountain.
Although there are no designated campgrounds at the Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail, dispersed camping is allowed; please use sites where previous camping use is evident.
Try the White Trail to Get Started
Considered the “easiest” ride, the White Trail is just over three miles on an old jeep trail ultimately taking riders to “the point” of the Mesa Rim and connecting to various loops in the middle of the trail system. Consider this trail for the quick return portion of your ride back to the parking lot.
Gooseberry Mesa is a fragile desert environment—please stick to the trails and ride only on signed and designated trails. When riding the slickrock, look for a reflective light-colored dot to help guide the way.
- Spectacular Red Rock Country and Sweeping Mesas
- Singletrack and Slick Rock Mountain Biking
- Nearby Zion National Park
- Hurricane, UT (45 minutes)
- St. George, UT (1 hour)