Repairing or upgrading your bike! Look for items on UMB site Discussion board for bike fanatics! Visit the UMB store!
Css Menu Javascript by Vista-Buttons.com v4.3.0
Goosebumps and Cryptobionic

These two trails were added to the Hurricane Cliffs trail system in 2014. Neither is a stand-alone trail, as you must combine other trails to create a ride. From either end, you'll need to do a portion of JEM to reach them. A map is highly recommended as you navigate these trails for the first time. We're considering Goosebumps and Cryptobionic together on this page because you can't ride one without a piece of the other. In January 2015, Goosebumps continues as Dead Ringer -- a great trail that may affect your ride plans.

Looking north from Goosebumps in the badlands on the edge of Gooseberry Mesa. Review and photos by Bruce on August 6, 2014.

Cryptobionic is 3.6 miles long, descending 250 feet from its south end on Goosebumps to the Hurricane Rim trail on the north at the toilet and hiking trailhead on the edge of the Virgin River gorge. Cryptobionic is a fairly easy trail to ride.

"Cryptobionic" is a play on the term "cryptobiotic soil." The lumpy black "dirt" in many spots along the trail is composed of microorganisms that are critical to the desert's health. Don't walk on it.

Looking north while descending Cryptobionic toward the Hurricane Rim at the hiking trailhead.

 

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

Goosebumps is 5.1 miles long. On the south (downhill direction) it forks off JEM about 1/3 mile after you drop off the cliff. There's a lot of quick up-and-down work, and a few plunges that you can ride around. After leaving the skirts of the mesa, it follows dirt road and wash-bottom until it ends on Cryptobionic.

"Goosebumps" refers to the bumps you ride over on the skirts of Gooseberry Mesa, called The Goose by locals. Or, maybe it's the fear or excitement of the tech options giving you goosebumps. Or maybe it was cold when they dug the trail. Hey, I'm just making this stuff up.

Goosebumps undulates eastbound over ribbons of clay. The cliffs of Zion National Park is on the skyline.

 

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

These trails offer variations on the classic rides. Examples:
Hurricane Loop, easier and shorter - use Cryptobionic (and the southwest end of Goosebumps) to bypass a tough techy section of the eastern Hurricane Rim.
Hurricane Loop, longer and harder - use the entire length of Goosebumps and just enough Crypto to rejoin JEM, where you continue the usual loop.
JEM downhill - continue onto Dead Ringer from the top of Goosebumps for an easy trip to the upper JEM trailhead.

Starting a ride from the JEM Sheep Bridge Trailhead, we're looking west as the gorge of the Virgin River deepens.

And lot of riders like to start at the Sheep Bridge trailhead for a JEM out-and-back. With the addition of China Wash, this offered a lariat loop. Now there are several new loop and figure-eight combinations using the new trails.

To get you started, I'll describe the best navigation to climb or descend on these trails.

Finishing a figure-eight ride as we coast along the edge of the wash toward the river.

Climbing Cryptobionic and upper Goosebumps
From the JEM Sheep Bridge trailhead, climb JEM 1.8 miles along the edge of the Virgin River and the Wash, then fork right onto Hurricane Rim. You'll soon hit the most techy section of the trail system as you slam over rock slabs.

View east into the Virgin River Gorge as we head west on the Hurricane Rim trail.

At mile 3.6, you'll reach the Virgin River Gorge hiking trailhead, with a toilet and a couple of picnic tables. Turn left off the Hurricane Rim trail to the dirt-road loop around the toilet. Go right (counterclockwise) on the road. Just as you're approaching the fork that starts the loop, turn right into singletrack. It's the Cryptobionic trail.

Pedal south toward Gooseberry Mesa. After a short gentle climb, the riding is fairly flat as the trail winds southbound.

Looking back north after starting Cryptobionic. The toilet is your landmark.

The first trail fork (unmarked as of 2014) is an A/B line. Right is the climbing route, left takes you up the little slope (easy to ride up if no one is coming). The trails rejoin after the top. (There will be three more of the A/B options -- one more on Crypto and two on Goosebumps.)

Cross the JEM trail at mile 5.6. When you reach road 1/10 mile later, keep pedaling straight. (If you look, you can spot the carsonite trail marker for the continuing ST in the distance.) The trail will cross two forks of doubletrack, then follow a smaller dirt road about 150 feet. The continuing singletrack is on the right. 

Cranking over some slabs of limestone as Cryptobionic rolls over a low hill.

Now keep left as Dead Ringer comes in on your right.

After 1/3 mile, you'll note a smaller trail forking to the left. Stay right. (The smaller trail cuts over to the wash-bottom ride at the north end of Goosebumps.)

After a bit of climbing, you'll reach a fence with a ride-over cattle guard (mile 7.2). 20 feet later, keep straight, and you're now on Goosebumps. Pedal another two miles, and you're at the intersection with JEM.

Near the south end of Cryptobionic, the terrain changes from white clay to salmon-colored dirt

Continue straight across JEM to climb up Dead Ringer. This trail will deliver you to the top of JEM at the Highway 59 trailhead. If you're not in a hurry, you can fork left at the cliff-top to add a couple of pleasant miles on the More Cowbell loop over cliffs of Virgin Limestone.

NOTE:  The upper portion of JEM (from the Goosebumps intersection to the Highway 59 trailhead) is now one-way, downhill only. To get from the valley, you must climb Dead Ringer on the west or the JEM Doubletrack on the east.

Southbound on Goosebumps, which is significantly more technical, but do-able for intermediate riders.

Descending Goosebumps plus lower Cryptobionic
We'll assume you've passed through the Highway 59 JEM trailhead and have just dropped off the cliff northbound on JEM. Keep heading north until you exit the small canyon. Now watch for a singletrack crossing 1.7 miles from the highway. That's Goosebumps on your right. Goosebumps will head eastbound along the lower badland skirts of the mesa.

Eastbound on Goosebumps shortly after leaving JEM.

The trail will pump up and down as it rolls over fingers of clay. After 0.4 miles, you'll hit the first A/B option. Left is easy, but the right isn't that tough for an experienced intermediate rider.

The next A/B is the hairy spot you've heard about. If you don't consider yourself an expert, stay to the right on the easier path. On the left route, you'll climb up a fin then descend steeply. Keep your speed up, because you've got to rocket up to the top of the next fin. Here it gets fun. The trail follows a teeny ribbon on the top of the fin, then plunges 30 feet at 45 degrees. Do not stop. Seriously, just do it. Trying to stop or to slow down can get you hurt.

Almost to the plunge. Stay a bit left as you drop off the top. (Cowards tend to walk to the right, tearing up the dirt.)

1.7 miles from JEM, you'll approach a fence with a ride-over cattle grate. That's the Cryptobionic trail. Don't go there (unless you're looking for an easy cruise down). 20 feet before the fence, fork right to stay on Goosebumps.

That's Cryptobionic at the cattle grate. Instead, we'll fork 90 degrees right to stay on Goosebumps.

The trail will continue to bob up and down eastbound, then turn south for a moderately tough climb up and around a wash. At the top of the wash, the trail climbs a bit onto the steeper slopes of the mesa as it continues east.

When the trail hits a wide spot in a dirt roadway at the top of a small hill, cross the open area northbound -- climbing slightly -- to a doubletrack heading north. (Do not descend on the road. The road you just crossed is the climbing route for the old classic JEM loop from 15 years ago. You could turn right on this road to go further up the slope of Gooseberry, then back west to the Highway 59 trailhead.)

Hugging the slope as the trail winds around the wash.

The doubletrack will become braided singletrack, heading straight as an arrow downhill. The trail then drops into the bottom of a wash. It will alternate between dirt road and wash. In 2014, there were some little flags to mark the correct option. But I still found myself wondering (often) if I was really on the right path. Just keep heading generally north and follow the tire tracks. If the rain hasn't washed them away...

Go north through a gate in the road/wash when you pass this old corral.

At mile 5.1 from JEM, while on a small dirt road, you'll pass a singletrack on your left. That's Cryptobionic, and you've now joined it. Stay northbound. At the road fork 150 feet later, keep straight. Cross the finger of dirt between the fork and find singletrack on the far side of the two roads. Cross JEM 1/10 mile later.

Continue north on Cryptobionic until you hit the bathroom on the edge of the Gorge. From here, your ride goes east or west on the Hurricane Rim trail.

A rare rocky section as we descend Cryptobionic (we're looking east).

JEM-Up -- Figure 8 on a stem, includes all of Goosebumps downhill:
Climb JEM, descend Goosebumps/Crypto to Hurricane Rim

0.0   West on ST from Sheep Bridge Parking
         N37 12.007 W113 13.059
1.8    Straight (L) to stay on JEM
         (R = Hurricane Rim)
         N37 11.265 W113 13.860
2.5    Cross Cryptobionic N37 10.800 W113 14.355
2.6    Cross DT N37 10.757 W113 14.406
         Cross Dead Ringer
3.5    Keep L (R = descend China Wash)
         N37 10.547 W113 15.163
5.3    L on Goosebumps N37 09.111 W113 15.109
7.1    R on Goosebumps (straight = Cryptobionic)
         N37 09.782 W113 14.519
9.0    Dirt road. Veer L uphill to small DT
         N37 09.750 W113 13.606
         DT becomes ridgeline braided ST
9.8    Drop into wide wash bottom, veer L
10.1  Out of wash on DT N37 10.449 W113 14.272
         (ST on L connects to Crypto
         N37 10.385 W113 14.334)
10.5  Cryptobionic joins DT
         Keep straight, cross forking DT just L of fork
         N37 10.710 W113 14.330
         Find ST trail as you cross 2nd DT
10.6  Cross JEM (stay on Cryptobionic)
         N37 10.800 W113 14.355
12.6  L downhill on road toward BR
         R on ST below the road loop (Hurricane Rim)
         N37 11.784 W113 14.108
14.4  L on JEM
         N37 11.265 W113 13.860
16.2  Back at parking
Crypto-Up -- shorter Figure 8 on a stem:
Climb Cryptobionic and upper Goosebumps, descend JEM

0.0   West on ST from Sheep Bridge Parking
         N37 12.007 W113 13.059
1.8    R onto Hurricane Rim
         N37 11.265 W113 13.860
3.6    L up to bathroom loop, R on DT loop
         N37 11.784 W113 14.108
         R on Cryptobionic before loop closes
5.6    Cross JEM  N37 10.800 W113 14.355
5.7    Keep straight, cross DT after it forks
         N37 10.724 W113 14.352
         Keep straight on DT 150 feet
         R on continuing Cryptobionic
         N37 10.692 W113 14.307
6.2    Keep R (L = to wash) N37 10.410 W113 14.409
6.8    Take climbing route
7.2    Cattle guard through fence
         Straight to join Goosebumps
         N37 09.782 W113 14.519
7.5    Take climbing route
8.6    Take climbing route
9.2    R downhill on JEM N37 09.111 W113 15.109
9.8    Cross Dead Ringer, cross road
10.9  Keep R (L = China Wash)
         N37 10.547 W113 15.163
11.9  Cross road
12.0  Cross Cryptobionic  N37 10.800 W113 14.355
12.7  Keep straight (L = Hurricane Rim)
14.5  Back at parking
For a  nine-mile loop ride on Goosebumps from the upper JEM trailhead, see the JEM DT page. This popular loop uses the upper-mountain doubletrack, Goosebumps, and upper Dead Ringer to form a loop ride.
Getting there, Sheep Bridge Road trailhead: From I-15 north, take the La Verkin exit on UT-17. From the south, take the Hurricane exit on US-9 and go through Hurricane towards Zion National Park. At the junction of US-9 with UT-17, turn east towards Zion. 4.8 miles after the turnoff, turn right (south) on a gravel road signed "Sheep Bridge Rd." 0.5 miles later, you'll cross over the Virgin River. Just uphill is a cattleguard, then a doubletrack on your right 0.1 miles after the bridge. Take the doubletrack 0.2 miles to a turn-around overlooking the Virgin River. The singletrack is at the end of the turn-around.

Upper JEM trailhead: In Hurricane, turn south on US-59 (towards the Grand Canyon). Drive exactly 5 miles uphill. Turn left on cindered doubletrack right as you approach the base of Gooseberry Mesa. Drive another 0.3 miles to the parking area and head northeast on JEM.. N 37 08.329' W 113 14.527'

Highway 59 Sheep Bridge Rd:  Drive toward the upper JEM trailhead on Highway 59 as above. But at mile 3.3 (while still on the flat area), turn left on gravel road. Immediately park on the right, just inside the fence. Pedal 0.4 miles northeast to where the JEM singletrack crosses. Navigate to your destination trail.

Hurricane Hill trailhead:  As above, turn south in Hurricane on US-59 Follow the road uphill 0.9 miles, then turn left into the trailhead parking near the cell phone towers. GPS N 37 10.740' W 113 16.601', Alt=3650'. The Hurricane Rim trail begins along the fence, heading northeast.

Other Resources for the JEM Trail:
One-page riding guides:  JEM up, Goosebumps down
        Cryptobionic up, JEM down
Connecting trails:
     Hurricane Cliffs Trail Summary page
     Hurricane Rim Trail   Gould's Rim Trail   Gould's Connector
     JEM     JEM DT   More Cowbell    Dead Ringer 
GPS track files (right-click and "Save target as..."):
     Goosebumps only    Cryptobionic only
     Crypto climb to JEM
     Figure-8 JEM-up   Figure-8 Crypto-up-JEM-down
     GPX master file of area trails  
Alternate maps (download to print):
    Large-format topo map of trail system 
Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

Shop on-line at Bike Parts Express
to support this web site!

Copyright 2014 UtahMountainBiking.com