Gooseberry Mesa Beginner Trails
White Trail and Slickrock 101
While Gooseberry is known for its technical rock, there are
opportunities for new riders. The White Trail is a former jeep road extending to the tip of the mesa. It's 7 miles round-trip, and is the
easiest ride on the hill. Slickrock 101 is singletrack and open rock,
forking away from the White Trail and rejoining 1.3 miles later. It's also
known as the "practice loop."
Alex tries out the rock of Slickrock 101 in May 2017.
Original review by Bruce in 2001.
Both rides originate at the White Trailhead, a mile west of
the main trailhead. As of 2017, this trailhead now has extensive parking
and a bathroom. A gate controls vehicle access to the White Trail as it
The White Trail (straight ahead in this photo) exits
the parking area to the west. Slickrock 101 forks away to your right about
1/3 mile down the path.
The Gooseberry Mesa "White Trail" is the old jeep road
that travels east-west on Gooseberry Mesa. This trail is suitable for
beginning riders, even those who aren't in great shape. The trail is 3.5
miles in length. Up-and-down riding is minimal, with short gentle climbs.
The road gains about 150 vertical feet of elevation as you travel
westward, so the return trip is fast and easy.
Kristen and Alex look northwest
towards the Pine Mountains from the North Rim of Gooseberry. Photos June
For the most part, the track of the trail is fairly firm
dirt, with an occasional slickrock area. Here and there, there are
occasional not-too-rough outcrops. Kids can pick their way through without
too much trouble. There are a couple of short sections of shallow sand
(about 100 feet or so) -- most sand-savvy riders can cruise right through.
Some spots are a bit rough for a bike trailer, but it can be done.
Heading back to the east, Jackie the
biker-dog paces the kids.
You'll cruise past, and over, outcrops of chinarump
conglomerate. Juniper, cedar, and pinion pine alternate with shrubs of
manzanita, gooseberry, sage, and ephedra. The scenery gets progressively
better as you move westward.
If so inclined, the braver of your
young riders can try short sections of the North Rim or South Rim trails,
as these trails meet the White Trail in several locations along the ride.
Riding notes, approximate mileage:
0.0 Start west on doubletrack
0.3 Pass Slickrock 101 end on R (good detour for rock-hungry youngsters)
0.6 Cattle Grate Trail on L (advanced tech riding)
1.1 ST connector on R (option of 1-mile intermediate ST ride)
1.3 Keep right at fork (L goes to South Rim trail)
2.0 North Rim Trail connector on R (100 yards to view from North
2.1 Hidden Canyon Maze on L
2.7 North Rim joins on R
2.8 Yellow Trail leaves on L (advanced tech, 1/2 mile)
3.0 Yellow Trail reconnects on L
3.5 At South Rim (head west if you want to go to the Point)
The Slickrock 101 trail forks
away from the White Trail 0.3 miles west of the White Trailhead. As shown
in the photo, the spot is marked by a carsonite post and a rock cairn.
Alex turns north to enter Slickrock 101. These photos
May 9, 2017.
On the open rock areas, the trail is marked by white paint
spots. Just connect the dots. The rock is of varying difficulty, with
little waves and occasional big humps. It helps if you've mastered the
technique of keeping your butt off the saddle.
Handlebar view of a mellower area of open rock. See
the white spots? Keep your eyes high so you can flow with the trail.
Slickrock alternates with dirt singletrack. There are
occasional rough spots and mildly steep ramps that can stop a beginner.
Just walk over what you can't ride, then resume pedaling.
Alex cruises through bumps of sandstone.
A half mile from the White Trail, you'll reach a trail fork
on slickrock. The right-side trail is fairly technical and is NOT a
beginner trail. Keep to the left.
Pick your way over the slickrock. The line of white
dots is not necessarily the smoothest riding line.
Follow the dots through a broad open rock area. Keep to
the left as the technical northern trail rejoins, then as you go through a
dip, keep left again. (The right fork here would take you to the North Rim
and the Windmill Trail. This route is upper-intermediate in technical
Heading west. Slickrock will alternate
with dirt singletrack.
At the next trail fork at mile 1.3, keep left again. (Again
here, the right fork heads for the North Rim.) After 100 yards, you'll
dump out onto the White Trail. Turn left and pedal 0.3 miles back to the
Exiting the singletrack to the White Trail.
Loop of Slickrock 101 and return via White Trail...
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Getting there: As you pass through Hurricane on Highway 9, turn
south 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 at the
bathroom. Now stay on the bigger
road, ignoring any forks. 1.1 miles later, you'll cross a cattle guard. Park there. The
White Trail is the continuation of the road you were traveling. GPS: N 37°
08.491' W 113° 10.299'
Lodging, camping, shops:Links to St.
George area resources Interactive Gooseberry track map: Load