I just got back from an extended weekend camping trip with my son right outside Zion National Park. We were amazed at the beautiful landscape and biking trails located between the park and the town of Hurricane, Utah.
Our campsite was nestled inside some of the finest public lands the BLM has to offer. Nearly every direction you looked featured a mountain-top, crag, or butte, with some of Utah’s best singletrack less than 100 feet away.
Here’s one of the overlook points along the trail. It was fairly easy to connect with 4 different hiking and mountain biking regions for plenty of nearby riding.
Most of the trails in the Hurricane Cliffs and Gooseberry Mesa area can be navigated by an intermediate rider and/or experienced children. This cliff-side switchback was not one of them, so my son got to enjoy lunch under a shade tree while I ripped down this downhill-only, double-diamond section of the famous Jem trail.
One of my favorite areas was the Margarita and Guacamole trails, with a little Salt on the Rim diamond B-loop in-between. A mixture of slickrock, red dirt trail sections, and short technical areas combined with amazing views of Zion and no crowds made for a perfect father-son afternoon.
The terrain diversity in Hurricane was also a great opportunity to demo a new bike, the Ibis Riply LS (now on the shortlist for my next bike). A quick, single-sentence review: this bike climbs like the 120 travel, 29’er tire spec, launches in the air with ease, and rolls down techie terrain with the confidence of a 150+ travel setup bike.
On the third day, we wound things down by riding the Parus Trail along the Virgin River inside of Zion National Park. My son wasn’t ready to give up his full suspension demo bike, a Rocky Mountain Reaper, so he bunny hopped along much of the perfectly flat trail. The only way I could tear him away was the promise of homemade ice cream at the Virgin Trading Post. He seemed to have completely forgotten about the bike after finishing that desert, telling the lady behind the counter, “our 7-hour drive was worth it just for this ice cream!”