East of Hurricane and southwest of Springdale, Gooseberry Mesa is one of the most popular mountain bike destinations in Utah. The looping trail system consists of nine trails totaling 18 miles with minimal elevation change. It offers technical mountain biking on red slickrock and soft singletrack. The singletrack sections pass over a loamy pine-needle carpet while rolling through a mixed pinyon, juniper and ponderosa forest.
The best place to start is on the Practice Loop. It follows a brief section of the North Rim Trail before returning towards the parking area. The Gooseberry Mesa Practice Loop is good for those who have never ridden slickrock or singletrack.
The backbone of Gooseberry Mesa is the White Trail, which is a 3.5 mile doubletrack heading out to the view point. It is typically used to form shorter loops with the two side arms, the South Rim Trail and the North Rim Trail. This doubletrack is open to motorized traffic. While it is technical, it is considered the easiest mountain bike ride.
After you’re warmed up, you’ll want to head out on the 10 mile Gooseberry Mesa Loop, which combines the South Rim Trail and the North Rim Trail. The loop is blazed by white dots on the slickrock and is best ridden clockwise. This route is the official Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail. Most riders will head out the South Rim Trail to the point (about 5.9 miles), then return via the North Rim Trail. The South Rim Trail is considered to be difficult with very steep dropoffs, short steep climbs and narrow ledges. The North Rim Trail is considered to be intermediate but there are some exposed sides and narrow ledges. Of course, once you’re at the point, you can always take the White Trail back to the parking area.
If you’re looking for something even more challenging, the 14 mile Big Loop combines the South Rim, North Rim and an out-and-back on the Windmill Trail.
To reach the Gooseberry Mesa mountain biking trailhead from Springdale, head west to Rockville. In Rockville, turn right heading south on Bridge Road (small sign on small road). About 0.25 miles after crossing the Virgin River, turn right heading west on Grafton Road. At 1.5 miles, keep left at the fork in the road and head up the mesa. Continue to a total of 6.2 miles to the top of the mesa. At this point, there will be a dirt road to the right passing through a fence. Turn right here. After another 3.6 miles, take the left fork. Now ignore any smaller branching roads. At 1.1 miles later, you’ll cross a cattle guard. Look for the White Trailhead parking area. The trail begins along the fence on the left side of the road.
To reach the Gooseberry Mesa trailhead from Hurricane, head east on SR59 passing Apple Valley and also Little Creek Station. Watch for the Gooseberry Mesa sign on the right, and then turn left heading north on Smithsonian Butte Backcountry Byway. After 2.8 miles, turn left heading west for 3.3 miles to the Gooseberry Mesa Trailhead, which is used by many motorized users. Most mountian bikers continue on to the White Trailhead.
Overall, Gooseberry Mesa is the 6th most popular mountain bike trail of all 73 mountain biking rides in Utah.