Richmond Mountain Bikers Go to Hurricane, Utah

By Kathi Sanders, Women's Multisports of Richmond, Inc

Last month, some of my fellow Women's Multisports of Richmond team mates and a few friends had the opportunity to mountain bike in Utah. We flew to Salt Lake City and then drove a little over 4 hours to the sleepy town of Hurricane, located in southern Utah. Not as popular as the intensely hyped mountain bike mecca of Moab, Utah, which is located approximately 100 miles to the east, Hurricane has a population of approximately 14,000 and lies in the shadows of Zion National Park.

What drew us to Hurricane initially was a mountain bike festival hosted by the local bike shop, Over The Edge Sports. The festival started on a Friday but we arrived in Hurricane on Wednesday. Some of us rented a bike for the entire trip but others took advantage of riding the demo bikes that were available during the festival, which featured Pivot, Yeti, Liv/Giant, Rocky Mountain, Knolly, Evil and Trek bikes. Shuttle service to various trails was available, and there were several skills clinics over the Friday-Sunday festival. We'd rented a truck to transport ourselves and our rented/demo bikes but a lot of people used the shuttles and seemed very happy with the service.

The trail system in Hurricane is some of the best in the United States, as epic as Moab, and certainly much less crowded. The JEM (named for Trail Blazers John, Ellen & Mike) Trail is a 21 mile long loop trail that features dessert, as well as canyon rim, riding. Our first ride was on JEM and included Gould's Rim, Hurricane Rim (an IMBA Epic trail) and 3,500+ of elevation. The terrain is mostly packed clay but the tight switchbacks are full of loose sandy soil, round smooth loose rocks the size of softballs, and random boulders to navigate. It's pretty tough stuff and lots of fun. The views are as epic as the trails. Next up for our group was the Prospector and Church Rocks trails, which are 80% slick rock, fast, and oh-so fun. An off-day took us to Zion National Park and the town of Springdale for a day of hiking and shopping. Our final day in Utah was devoted to the Wire Mesa trail. Not as well-known as the more popular, Gooseberry Mesa, Wire Mesa was less crowded and a better trail for the diverse skill levels of our group. Wire Mesa is challenging - the terrain is so different from what we have here in Richmond, and the views were the best yet. That same day we headed back to JEM for one final ride on the Goosebumps and Cryptobionic trails before we headed back to Richmond the next morning.

I hope I get the chance to ride in Utah again at some point in my life. The challenging terrain, the beautiful views, and friendly atmosphere are hard to beat. Over The Edge Sports offers great bike rentals. We all rented fantastic bikes (my rental was a 2017 Pivot Mach 4) and that helped to make our trip a great success. The staff at Over The Edge was knowledgeable and helpful about bikes, gear and the local trails. The food in Hurricane was pretty good. River Rock Roasting Company offers great coffee, beer and food, plus the outdoor patio has fabulous views. Muddy Bees Bakery has yummy breakfast goods, sweets and bread. The Stage Coach Grille was another favorite for dinner options.

If you ever get the chance, go to Hurricane, Utah. It may be off the beaten path by a bit, but so are most really great rides. Ride on.

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