Gooseberry Mesa, located in Utah’s southwest corner, is simply one of the most magical places I’ve camped and ridden in the American west. Granted, there’s a lot of territory I haven’t visited, but there’s no denying the worthiness of this destination.
Having been constructed over 20 years ago by the Harris brothers, the Gooseberry Mesa trails were granted National Recreational Trail Status in 2006. Not only that, but Gooseberry Mesa is on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) list of “Backyard to Backcountry” treasures. Just look at these photos to understand why.
Before you ride, you’ll need to get there. Gooseberry sits just east of Hurricane, Utah, off route 59. You’ll need to drive along a couple of dirt roads to access the trailhead, but don’t try to do so after any substantial rain. The road up on the mesa becomes a sticky, slippery mess when wet.
It’s worth noting there’s no water available up on the mesa, so plan accordingly. Dispersed camping is permitted on BLM lands and there are indeed some incredible campsites along the main road. There’s even a pit toilet at the trailhead which is a big deal if you want to hang out for a few days.
Gooseberry’s slickrock riding is best described as punchy. There’s not a great deal of elevation gain and loss, but there are tons of short, steep climbs and descents. In total, this 13.1-mile ride has less than 600 feet of climbing, but the intensity of the riding more than makes up for it.
Be sure to check out all the details of this ride on MTB Project and get busy planning your trip. Plan to hit JEM and the other awesome trails between Gooseberry and Hurricane as well as the Little Creek Mesa trails while you’re there.
There’s more than enough riding in this area to stay for multiple days, possibly up to a week if you incorporate nearby Zion National Park into your itinerary. Seriously, put this place on your bucket list and make it happen!
Photos courtesy of MTB Project.