Secret Sauce and Claim Jumper trails
There are two
mountain biking loops -- new in 2018 -- along the Southern Parkway just
south of the St. George Airport. These are part of the Desert Canyons
subdivision but are open to the general public. There's just under 6 miles
of trail. The Secret Sauce loop is suitable for beginners; Claim Jumper is
to the west from the upper mesa on Secret Sauce. Photos and ride description by Bruce on
May 31, 2018.
Both loops start as the same trail from the northern Desert
Canyons trailhead. To get there, take the Desert Canyons exit from the
Southern Parkway (Highway 7). Turn north (left if you're eastbound from
St. George or Bloomington). About 1/10th mile from the Parkway, the
trailhead is on your right. It's marked by a couple of flags in May 2018.
Immediately after the stepover gate, the 2/3-mile connector to Pushing
Tin forks away on your left. Keep straight for Secret Sauce or Claim
Trailhead for both loops, looking north. Not the same trailhead as
for Pushing Tin.
The Secret Sauce loop is easily done by beginning riders. The ride out
to the loop, around and back to the trailhead is 2.9 miles with 200
vertical feet of climbing. The terrain is wide-open, with views in every direction. There are no
trees; just a bit of low brush among the rocks.
Rolling a turn while climbing Secret Sauce.
The trails are general purpose and have been worked-over for
ride-ability and run-ability. Areas with loose desert dirt have been
hardened with a layer of road base. So even though brand new, the riding
surface is firm. No fishtailing around in soft red desert-slop.
Note the different dirt colors. The trail has been
reinforced with road-base crush -- so your tires won't dig into the fresh
The first trail fork is just a few feet north of the
step-over gate. The trail on the left goes 0.7 miles to Pushing
Secret Sauce and Claim Jumper are straight ahead. A bit less than 1/10th mile
trailhead, the Claim Jumper trail is on your
right. Keep straight for
the Secret Sauce lariat loop.
Looking south toward the Desert Canyons development
as we climb counterclockwise.
The next trail fork is the Secret Sauce
loop itself, coming at mile 0.4 from the trailhead. The riding direction
for the loop is counter-clockwise. Make a hard right turn to begin your climb
along the edge of the mesa. As you approach the top, the Claim Jumper
trail forks away on your right at mile 1.4 from the trailhead. Keep left to continue your
Secret Sauce loop ride.
Leaving the viewpoint.
There's a viewpoint at the top with 360 degree desert views. To the north
is the St. George airport. Escarpments and cliffs line up across the
valley. The Pine Valley Mountains form the skyline behind the airport.
The trail now begins a steady and gentle winding descent back to the
fork. Make another loop, or head uphill to Claim Jumper, or keep straight to finish up.
Claim Jumper is 2.9 miles long. On the downhill (southern) side, if
forks off the stem of Secret Sauce (at
1/10th mile from the trailhead). Uphill, it forks away from the eastern side of the Secret Sauce
loop near its highest elevation. Because you'll need to ride half of Secret Sauce in order to ride
Claim Jumper, the minimum ride is 4.3 miles with 250 vertical feet of
Looking northeast as we ride on the shoulder between
mesa and wash.
Claim Jumper is an intermediate ride, but can be done by
experienced conditioned beginners. The intermediate rating is because
there are some tight squeezes between boulders, swooping dips, and quick turns.
On a clockwise ride, we're at one of many tight
spots where the trail threads the needle between boulders.
For a counterclockwise ride, using Claim Jumper as the
uphill, the southern side of the Claim Jumper trail forks away
from Secret Sauce just after you cross Ft Pierce Wash. Then it follows the shoulder between the mesa
and the wash, winding around and dodging boulders. After about a mile, it
begins a gradual winding climb uphill to the mesa.
Heading uphill toward the mesa top on a
At the highest point of Claim Jumper, there's a fork with
a short spur to a viewpoint. It's on the right as you ride
counterclockwise; on the left if you climbed Secret Sauce to reach Claim
Jumper. In 2018, there's a bench at the viewpoint.
Claim Jumper reaches Secret Sauce just below the upper
viewpoint. From here, it's 1.5 miles around the second half of the Secret
Sauce loop and back to the trailhead.
Claim Jumper on a clockwise ride.
Claim Jumper makes a fun descending route on a clockwise ride. After
climbing Secret Sauce, fork to the right as you reach Claim Jumper. Make a
quick visit to the viewpoint, then fly downhill. Once you reach the
shoulder of the hill, the trail gets interesting. Lots of humps, dips, and
As Claim Jumper traverses the hillside above Ft.
Pierce Wash, there's a stretch of rolling twisting trail that's lots of
Video of Secret Sauce and
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browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking
Getting there, Desert Canyons parkway trailhead:
Southbound on I-15, take the Southern Parkway (Utah Highway 7) about a
mile from the Arizona border. Keep left on the exit off-ramp to pass under
I-15. Drive around 6 miles to the Desert Canyons Parkway exit. Turn left
on Desert Canyons Parkway, pass under the Southern Parkway and drive
1/10th mile north to a trailhead on your right.
The Meditation Rock trailhead for Pushing Tin is on the opposite side
of Southern Parkway (see map and directions on our Pushing
Tin page). Or you can take the connector trail from the Desert Canyons
trailhead. It forks to the left about 50 feet from the trailhead.