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Country Club Trails
(Bull Mesa riding area)

The Country Club trails are on Bull Mesa south of Helper. The trails vary in difficulty from easy-intermediate to expert. As the trails circle the edge of the mesa, expect great views. At an altitude averaging 6000 feet, the riding season will be mid-April through November.

Bruce cruises the cliff edge on the Driver trail. Photos, video, and review by Bruce on June 1, 2017.

First, understand that despite the name, the trails are NOT in the country club. Nor do you drive through the clubhouse area to reach the trails. But the trailhead parking does happen to overlook the Carbon Country Club golf course.

You reach the trails from Carbonville Road, taking Chapman Lane (2500 North) to go underneath US-6, continuing around the border of the golf course on Rim Rock Drive. The road then climbs Bull Mesa. There's a small parking area on the first "shelf" of the mesa, marked by a very short carsonite post.

Leaving the parking area. You can see a hint of the golf course below.

The riding is similar to other trails in the Price area, but higher voltage. The trail twists -- tightly -- through pinion pine and juniper on a base of pastel dirt littered with chips of rock. The track is narrow and the soft trailside dirt will bring you to a quick stop if you bobble or overshoot a turn. 

The trail alignment occasionally has "flow" issues. For example many turns wrap too closely around trees. A large rider will be unable to avoid taking dozens of branch-hits on the arms. Momentum Killer turns galore. OK, that's my quibble. Otherwise the area earns a recommendation for the views and the rock riding on the south rim.

Approaching the mesa edge on Driver.

The ride starts by pedaling further up the dirt road. Turn right uphill at the first road fork, then keep left at the next fork. You'll find the entry to the singletrack Driver trail 0.7 miles uphill from parking, on your right. Driver starts the counterclockwise ride on the northern rim.

If you want to start with the technical stuff on Cliff Burton on the south rim for a clockwise ride, pedal past Driver. After 1/2 mile, also ride past the entry to 3 Wood (on your right). After another 0.4 miles climbing uphill on the gravel Bull Mesa road, veer left onto Cliff Burton.

Bruce rolls around a turn on the cliff edge.

The loop ride...
If you're riding counterclockwise, Driver will skirt the mesa edge above Garley Canyon for 1.1 miles to reach 3 Wood. At the trail fork, go right -- the left spur connects to Bull Mesa road.

3 Wood is 2.1 miles. It follows the mesa edge for a time, then climbs south through juniper, pinion, and grass. At the trail fork in the meadow, fork right to 5 Wood. (Again, the left spur takes you to the mesa road.)

Drone shot, looking east as I pedal south uphill along a side-canyon in the cliffs.

5 Wood descends north to the cliff edge, then turns back south. Here there's a trail fork labeled "Out of Bounds." But after wandering around in the trees I wasn't able to identify a trail I could follow here. So Out of Bounds isn't included on my map or tracks. If you want to include it in your ride plan, check with the local bike shop for its current status.

From the northern cliff edge, 5 Wood now climbs south through pinion and juniper. At mile 1.7 from 3 Wood, it ends on the Bull Mesa road. Across the road is Putter.

Trail fork between 3 Woods and 5 Woods, looking west. This is an area where there's a lot of plain dirt singletrack.

Putter is an easier trail. The surface is almost all soft dirt. Riding east to west -- counterclockwise -- it's gently downhill. (Beginners can reach this trail by riding west on the mesa road. There are a few tight turns around trees that could give beginners trouble.)

Putter is 1.7 miles long, ending at a doubletrack. To the right, the doubletrack takes you back to the mesa road. Straight ahead is the Cliff Burton singletrack.

Looking north from the Putter trail. The Book Cliffs are in the distance.

Cliff Burton starts westbound, then turns back east along the cliff edge above the Gordon Creek canyon. This trail is moderately technical, with open rock outcrops, ledges, and cliff exposure. I thought it was the most fun trail on the mesa. Watch for thin paint stripes and arrows on the rock. In the dirt sections it was harder to follow, as there were no tire tracks evident since the last rain.

At mile 1.7 of Cliff Burton, you'll find yourself at a doubletrack. The trail seems to flow to the left, north. But that will take you to the mesa road. Instead, turn hard right and follow the doubletrack back to the cliff edge. Enjoy another 0.9 miles of cruising before Cliff Burton ends on the Bull Mesa gravel road.

Eastbound on Cliff Burton, on Bull Mesa's south rim.

At this point, a counterclockwise ride has two options:  (1) return via Driver for a longer "rope" on your lariat, or (2) drop down to the singletrack of Meander.

To return via Driver, ride downhill on the mesa road 0.4 miles. Find the singletrack entry to Driver on your left, then fork right after 50 feet. When Driver puts you back on the mesa road, coast down to parking. This ride is 12 miles with 1100 feet of overall climbing.

Looking to the east as we follow Cliff Burton.

To reach Meander, you'd also go downhill from Cliff Burton 0.4 miles on the gravel mesa road. But just before the Driver singletrack spur, fork to the right and drop down a steep doubletrack. After the initial plunge, the road will flatten. At mile 0.3 from the mesa road, veer right and you'll find yourself at the top of Meander along the cliff edge.

Meander is 1.9 miles long. After a circling around the cliff edge, it meanders up and down. The riding here is slow and technical. Not a quick way back to the car. When Meander ends on the dirt road, turn right and descend. Keep straight until you're back at parking.

Near its bottom, Meander enters a rock wash. Techy riding here. (There's a confusing trail split here. The "E" option is easier than "D".)

Bottom Line:
Great views, beautiful in a desolate-sort-of-way. Enough riding of varying difficulty to satisfy most riders. During my check-out ride, I found some issues with trail alignment, such as tight momentum-killing turns around trees. (Pinion branches frequently raked across my arm during turns. I had a couple dozen bleeding spots on each arm. I'm a big guy on an XL bike with a tall seat-post. Smaller riders might not have as much trouble.) The riding lines will improve with time -- and more riders. And tree branches can be cut off. For now that shouldn't stop you from enjoying this ride.

Notice how the trail winds around this tree. Impossible to avoid branches scraping across the arm.

 

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Riding notes, counterclockwise lariat ride:
0.0   Out of parking southbound
        N39 38.269 W110 51.991
0.2   Fork R uphill on road
        N39 38.104 W110 51.964
0.4   Keep L on DT N39 38.180 W110 52.034
0.7   R to Driver N39 37.966 W110 52.144
1.8   R on 3 Wood (L = to road)
        N39 37.602 W110 52.240
3.7   R on 5 Wood (L = to road)
        N39 37.418 W110 52.936
4.6   Keep L (R = Out of Bounds)
        N39 37.808 W110 53.046
5.5   Cross road to Putter
        N39 37.392 W110 53.333
6.9   Straight to Cliff Burton (R = DT to road)
        N39 37.409 W110 54.582
8.7   Hard R uphill (L = DT to road)
        N39 37.159 W110 53.423
        Start DT portion of Cliff Burton
9.6   R to join Bull Mesa road
        N39 37.372 W110 52.648
10.0 L on Driver, 50 feet, then R
        N39 37.598 W110 52.228
11.1 L on mesa road
        N39 37.967 W110 52.145
11.6 L at road fork
11.8 Back at parking.

Getting there:  On US-6 eastbound, drive through Helper. Just after crossing the Price River, turn left onto the Carbonville Road. Around 1/10th mile later, turn right on Chapman Lane (2500 North). Ignore the "Dead End" sign. Turn right past the storage buildings, then follow the road as it turns under US-6. It will become Rim Rock drive as it circles around the south end of the golf course, then turns west and climbs up the mesa. As you reach the flatter area above the cliffs, turn left into a small parking area. The ride starts by pedaling up the dirt road.
Riding resources for this trail:
 
One-page riding guide
      Counterclockwise lariat loop as above  
 GPS track files (right-click link, then save as a file:
      GPX Bull Mesa with individual trail tracks
      Lariat CCwise loop     Loop, through Meander
 Map for printing
      Aerial view as above      High-res area topo
 Lodging, camping, shops     Links to Price area resources

Camping:  No campgrounds
Water:  None
Bathrooms:  None
Bike services:  Price

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