Mountain Biking on Gooseberry Mesa in Utah
After hearing a lot of great things about the mountain biking on Gooseberry Mesa, we decided that would be our destination. With the car already packed, my friend Sean got off work at 11pm and we started the overnight drive through the Nevada desert. After multiple cups of coffee, several delirious 4am conversations and 11 hours later we pulled into camp. Sean and I set up camp and slept for the better part of the day - not too late though, since we had to fit in an afternoon ride.
Once we awoke we got the bikes unloaded and headed out to see what all the hype was about. Within 10 minutes I could see exactly why we had heard so many good things about the biking on the mesa - IT WAS EPIC! Extremely technical slickrock combined with a mix of singletrack provided some of the most fun I've had on a bike in awhile. The unobstructed view of Zion National Park in the background wasn't too shabby either.
Over the next couple days we really gave the place a going over. It took a little bit to settle into the kind of technical riding style that Gooseberry demands. It is completely different from any type of riding that I have ever done. In Lake Tahoe you become accustomed to long climbs with fast moderately technical descents. Because of it's extreme technical nature, Gooseberry riding is much slower and precise. Fast short sprints up very steep sections of slick rock, mixed with tight corners and sharp turns keep you on your game 100% of the time.
One of my favorite parts about riding on Gooseberry Mesa has to be the camping. Because the mesa is on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land the camping restrictions are very loose. You can pretty much camp wherever you want and it is all free of charge. It is important though that you bring enough supplies with you. There is no running water or much else in the way of home comforts on the mesa. The only facility in the immediate area is a lone toilet that is, sometimes, stocked with toilet paper.
The biggest benefit to camping on the mesa is that all of the rides are accessible from camp. You can simply crawl out of your tent, make breakfast and get on your bike and ride. There is no need to drive anywhere. Within minutes of riding on one of the several double track roads you can be at the entrance to all of the trails.
The possibilities on the mesa are endless and the trails are still definitely in the baby stages of development. The appeal for a strong intermediate rider will be the ability to ride a lot of the terrain and simply have to walk sections one is not comfortable with. On the other end of the spectrum Gooseberry has terrain for the most advanced rider with stunt possibilities that range all the way up to the extreme. It all depends on how creative you want to get. Our favorite trails included: God's Skateboard Park, South Rim Trail and Hidden Canyon.
"Corey on the South Rim Trail"