Skip navigation

Gooseberry Mesa is a must-ride for any rock-wrangling masochist who wants to get a hefty dose of minerals while giving death the finger at the same time.  It is a worthy test of a rider’s skills, endurance and courage while offering some priceless views and candy-sweet fun along the way.


Route ridden: South Rim trail -> Point trail -> North Rim trail -> Windmill trail (Also known as “Rim Job.” Basically, I only took left turns, taking the recommended clockwise approach, around the mesa’s rim.

Distance ridden: about 13.5 miles.

Finding Primo

The trailhead is pretty easy to find, just follow highway 59 out of Hurricane, Utah. After passing a Chevron on your left, there will be a brown sign for the Gooseberry Mesa. Follow a bumpy dirt road until you see the Gooseberry trailhead sign. I’d recommend driving all the way up to the White trailhead and parking in the fenced-in lot with the red gravel.

Maps at the trailhead offer a little help, as do markers at trail junctions. The trail itself is dotted on the slickrock with white splotches of paint that careen left, right, up and down — leaving you to wonder if you’re following a bike trail or a squadron of drunken pigeons with diarrhea on a death march to nowhere.

Follow the pigeon poop road.

Follow the pigeon poop road

Necessary equipment:

I’d recommend full-suspension bike on this one. Pads aren’t absolutely necessary, but you won’t look like a sissy for wearing them on this savage ride. Bring plenty sun block and water. I drank about a half-gallon and wished I had more. As always, tools, tubes and a helmet are a no-brainer.

Here lies little Timmy, who thought he could ride without a brain bucket.

Here lies little Timmy, who thought he could ride without a helmet to hold his brains in.

Skill factor: 8 of 10

This trail is ROCKY. Rolling slickrock, loose sandstone and gnarley roots make for a technical ride, but one that is manageable for advanced riders. According to signs, trails on the mesa range from intermediate to expert rankings. I’m inclined to agree on the grounds that it wouldn’t be fun for beginners, since they would likely spend most their time hoofing it over obstacles. There is the white trail (double track) for beginners.

Watch that edge. Redbull doesn't really give you wings.

Watch that edge. Redbull doesn't really give you wings.

Sweat factor: 7 out of 10

While there are no long climbs or big elevation changes, plenty of ups and downs will work your legs, especially if you ride the full outer loop. There’s plenty of spurs back to the trailhead if you run out of gas. Pushing and pulling the front wheel over obstacles will work your upper body as well. Overall, Gooseberry mesa is the total body workout Chuck Norris can only dream of.

Fear factor: 8 out of 10

While the trail doesn’t really allow you to reach breakneck speed, rolling and swooping that close to the cliff’s edge makes for some hair-raising moments. Especially if you hit your pedal on a rock or veer towards the edge when hit by a gust of wind.

Fun factor: 7 out of 10

Although tight turns and formidable bumps don’t really allow you to let go of the brakes and really open up, the trail makes brilliant use of the natural contours in the slickrock. This makes for some smooth dishes, fun rolling whoops and banked turns. Thrill seekers can hit drop-offs to the sides of the trail.

Bottom line:  If you make it to the area, this one is certainly worth riding. A great ride for the rider who’s done it all, it offers Moab-quality riding without the crowds and traffic. A little something for every kind of advanced rider.

Here’s a good site for more information. Happy trails.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: