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Secret Harris Trail
Gooseberry Mesa east and southeast rim
Note: This trail is not part of the official Gooseberry system. The eastern end lies on private property.
Until all issues are resolved, obey any posted restrictions and private property signs.

The Harris Secret Trail is one of the toughest trails on Gooseberry. It's 6.2 miles in length, but the shortest ride that incorporates the trail (assuming a DT bailout) is at least 10 miles. There's about 1000 feet of climbing, in short brutal bursts. The trail is narrow, twisting, overgrown, and has non-stop technical features. No cruising. And on the south rim, there's soft surface and some boggy sand between tech features.

The track is narrow, the turns quick. Original ride 2007. Updated February 2011.

So if the "regular" Gooseberry rides seem old and tame to you, consider the Secret trail. If you're just getting acquainted with the Goose, ride the classics. The Secret Trail will kick your butt. And scratch your arms -- over the last three years, the gooseberry bushes, pinion and juniper have grown into the trail. As of 2011, consider arm and shin protection. The ride described below is 13.3 miles. You can do a longer ride by heading west on South Rim after completing Secret.

This is the spot where the Secret Trail forks off the South Rim Trail. It's the first time you spot the cliffs. Photos by Gene Poncelet.

The trail is hard to find. You'll need a GPS unit, or excellent navigation skills and an odometer. (It's the "SECRET" trail.) Start on the Cattle Grate trail from the main Gooseberry parking. Ride 2.2 miles. The Secret Trail forks left, just before a 4-foot uphill rock ramp, 1/4 mile past the long steep staircase climb. If you're cruising juniper-covered singletrack, you passed it.

Two miles at the western end have soft dirt and a few patches of ugly sand. Trailside vegetation is close, with juniper (soft), pinion (occasional sharp dead branches), and wild gooseberry (very scratchy).

To find the south end (easier) for a counterclockwise ride, stay on the South Rim trail. 1/4 mile past Hidden Canyon, just as you see the edge of the cliffs to your left, drop off the rocks at a cairn. The Secret Trail heads east, while the South Rim continues west and turns slightly away from the Rim for a short distance.

Bruce fails to clear a ledge with a scratching spinout.

For the clockwise ride, exit the South Rim trail at mile 2.2. Head straight east, watching for the small white paint dots on the rock. After about 1/4 mile, drop off the rock (straight east) on a dot-marked ramp (shown in the photo with the rider going the opposite direction). Now follow the singletrack.

At mile 7.7, you'll reach doubletrack. The continuing ST is left along the cliff edge. The DT shortcuts to the South Rim trail (and continues to the main mesa road if you want to bail out). If you take the DT, keep L at the first fork at 1/2 mile.

Open rock area showing the ramp to descend to singletrack.

Assuming you took the sandy ST along the cliff edge, at mile 8.8 veer right toward some white sandstone humps. On the top of the hump, you'll find the South Rim trail. Right takes you toward Hidden Canyon and the bailout DT (and parking). Left continues with the South Rim for a longer ride.

For the loop through Hidden Canyon and the North Rim, head right (northeast) on South Rim. At mile 9.0, fork left on Hidden Canyon. Follow Hidden Canyon to the main mesa road (White Trail), jog right 200 feet on the road, then catch the North Rim trail to complete your loop.

Secret Trail - Hidden Canyon Loop, clockwise:
0.0   Depart main parking, south on ST
        N37 08.519 W113 10.286
2.2   Secret Trail on left, head east
        N37 08.114 W113 10.995
7.7   Cross DT, keep L N37 07.433 W113 11.098
8.8   R away from cliff onto rocks, R on South Rim
        N37 07.771 W113 11.846
9.0   L on Hidden Canyon N37 07.791 W113 11.713
10.9 Mesa Road, N37 08.324 W113 11.763
        R 150 feet on road, then L 150 ft
        R (east) on North Rim N37 08.388 W113 11.691
11.5 Fork R (L=Bowls and Ledges)
        N37 08.553 W113 11.251
11.8 Keep L (R=bail to road) N37 08.508 W113 11.078
12.3 Straight (L=Bowls and Ledges)
        N37 08.662 W113 10.633
        Fork in 40 ft, either route OK
12.5 Routes rejoin N37 08.780 W113 10.507
13    L on mesa road N37 08.477 W113 10.600
13.3 Parking
Getting there from Hurricane or St.George: As you pass through Hurricane heading east on Highway 9, turn right at the Highway 59 sign. One block later, turn left and drive out of town. About 15 minutes later, you'll pass a gas station on the left-hand side, then some fields. Watch for a "Scenic Byway" sign, and turn left onto a dirt road (14.8 miles from the turnoff in Hurricane). Two miles later, just as you reach the mountain, the Gooseberry Mesa road turns off on your left. Another 3.6 miles after the turnoff, take the left fork. Now stay on the bigger road, ignoring any forks. 1.1 miles later, you'll cross a cattle guard. Park there. The South Rim trail begins along the fence on the left side of the road. Trailhead GPS: N 37 08.491'  W 113 10.299'
Riding resources for this trail:
One-page printable guide
GPS track files and waypoints (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Gooseberry Classic            Garmin     GPX
    Gooseberry NE        Garmin     GPX
    Windmill / Bowls&Ledges Loop      Garmin     GPX
    Tour de Rim (Whole Gander)        Garmin     GPX
    The Works        Garmin     GPX
Interactive Gooseberry track map:  Load
High-res topo map for printing:  View 
Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

Other Gooseberry Pages:
   Gooseberry Classic
   Gooseberry NE Rim (status pending!)
   Windmill Loop (with Bowls and Ledges)
   White Trail
   

Copyright 2008 Mad Scientist Software
Updated 2011.