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Hurricane Rim Trail

The Hurricane Rim trail climbs to the cliffs over the Virgin River near Hurricane. It follows the deep canyon of the Virgin River east of Hurricane before ending on the JEM trail. The trail is 7.5 miles long with moderate climbing in either direction. Because there are sections with very rough surface, it's recommended for strong skilled riders.

Bruce climbs along the Virgin River gorge on the Hurricane Rim trail. Original review and photos in June 2003. This picture March 2017. Most recent page update April 2019.

Many riders do this trail as an out-and-back starting from the Hurricane Hill trailhead, often adding the northern 1.5 miles of the JEM Trail. This makes an 18-mile out-and-back with around 1000 vertical feet total climbing.

Picture from June 16, 2003. Bryce, who works at St. George's Red Rock Bicycle Co, heads west on the Hurricane Rim, with Gooseberry Mesa in the background. The guys gave me a guided tour for my introduction to the Hurricane Loop.

Advanced riders do the Hurricane Loop, a 21.5 mile trip that includes Gould's, JEM, and Hurricane Rim. (My favorite starting trailhead for the loop is Hurricane Hill -- the radio tower parking -- on SR-9, but there are lots of fans of the upper JEM or lower JEM trailheads.)

Northbound on Hurricane Rim shortly after leaving the JEM trail. Pretty plus so far. But wait.

Some riders do Hurricane Rim one-way. To ride this trail with a shuttle, the popular routes begin at the upper JEM (SR-9) trailhead and the lower JEM (SR-59 Sheep Bridge Road) trailhead. These options take Hurricane Rim east to west after completing a portion of JEM. You can also access the trail at the Virgin River Dam parking area, which you can reach via a side-road from Sheep Bridge Road.

The trail has some very rough sections. Rock slabs stick up 8 inches. Rock after rock. This isn't a good trail for hardtail bikes or for newbs.

The riding surface is twisting and dipping narrow singletrack. Overall, I'd rank it upper intermediate to early-expert technical. Although there's only about 300 feet of altitude difference, up-and-down riding will raise the climbing total to around 1000 vertical feet.

Reaching the Virgin River on the counterclockwise loop ride.

The trail is a bit more "cindery" with chunky rock than many nearby trails which tend to be dirt and clay. There's also about a mile of trail strewn with rough rock slabs. This is a great place to pinch-flat or break bike parts. 

Cruising along the edge of the canyon westbound. The Virgin River is at flood stage below me.

The trail...  East to West

My favorite riding direction is east to west. That is, start at the JEM Sheep Bridge Road trail off SR-59, then turn west to Hurricane Rim after a mile and a half. On a shuttled ride, this saves you 300 vertical of climbing. (On the counterclockwise loop, you'll continue to Gould's from the lower trailhead.)

Heading westbound. Ahead, you can see a bit of the Pine Valley Mountains. To my right is the gorge. To the north, colorful slopes of Moenkopi clay lead up to Shinarump caprock on the mesas.

Out-and-back riders will usually prefer to start from the Hurricane Hill (SR-9) trailhead at the radio towers. This puts most of the climbing early in the ride as you grind your way to the cliffs above the Virgin River gorge.

 Drone view as Bruce ridges along the gorge. We're about half-way along the trail, westbound.

 An old analog video of the guys riding the Hurricane Loop...

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

West to East
For the west to east ride from the Hurricane Hill trailhead, you'll climb 300 vertical feet in a bit under a mile. After the initial climb to Panorama Point, the trail follows the Virgin River gorge eastward. As it veers south away form the gorge, it ends on the JEM trail  after seven miles.

Riding along the edge of the Virgin River on JEM, headed for the Hurricane Rim trail fork one mile away. This is a bonus for riders who do the trail as an out-and-back.

From this trail fork, you can turn right southbound to climb JEM to Dead Ringer and SR-9 (where you can take Gould's or the pavement back to the trailhead). Or you fork left to follow the lower JEM trail to the Sheep Bridge Road trailhead. This is a very scenic option, as there's more riding along the edge of the chasm.

Lots of rocky slabs to contend with. This is the most-technical trail in the JEM area.

Riding notes, Hurricane Rim eastbound:
0.0 Northeast on ST along fence
0.7 Panorama Point N 37 11.169' W 113 16.179' Alt=3850'
1.9 Keep R (L = Virgin Dam trail)
2.8 Cross wash, then L (R = China Wash)
3.5 Gooseberry Lookout
5.5 Dam trail rejoins on L (toilet)
5.7 Virgin Dam trailhead (toilet)
      Keep L on ST
7.5 JEM trail, fork L
N 37 11.261' W 113 13.862' Alt=3650'
9.0 JEM lower trailhead

 Riding Hurricane Rim from Sheep Bridge to Hurricane Hill...

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

Riding notes, Gould/JEM/ Hurricane Rim Loop:
Start from parking area on US-59 above Hurricane
0.0 R (downhill) on US-59
0.2 L uphill on DT
1.8 Top of DT climb
2.3 R off DT onto ST
      N 37 09.606 W 113 16.330 Alt=4000'
5.4 Trailhead, L on DT, head NE
      N 37 08.142 W 113 16.280
6.2 At corral, find ST rear on R
      N 37 08.310 W 113 15.649
8.0 ST comes in from R
8.3 US-59. For Big Loop, cross to DT
      N 37 08.096 W 113 14.564 Alt=4350'
      For small loop, head downhill on road
8.6   JEM Trailhead, cross cattleguard
        N 37 08.329 W 113 14.527
        Immediate R onto ST
9.0   Cross DT, descend toward cliffs
9.3   Keep R (L=More Cowbell)
        N37 08.863 W113 14.661
        Drop off ledge on switchback
10.0 Straight (R =Goosebumps, L=Dead Ringer)
        N37 09.119 W113 15.103
10.8 Keep R (L = China Wash)
        N37 10.541 W113 15.154
11.0 Cross Dead Ringer
        Cross Sheep Bridge gravel road
11.1 Cross Cryptobionic 
        N37 10.798 W113 14.354
14.0 Fork L to Hurricane Rim
        N 37 11.261 W 113 13.862 Alt=3650'
15.8 Virgin Dam trailhead
        N 37 11.781 W 113 14.109 
        (Cryptobionic start on L)
16.0 Keep L (R=Virgin Dam trail)
18.7 R across Chinatown Wash
        Straight = Chinatown Wash trail
19.6 Dam trail rejoins on R
20.2 Panorama Point
        N 37 11.169 W 113 16.179 Alt=3850'
21.5 Back at parking
Getting there, main trailhead: In Hurricane, turn south on US-59 (towards the Grand Canyon). 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 trail begins along the fence, heading northeast.
US-9 Trailhead: 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. Head up the JEM trail until you reach the Hurricane Rim trail on your right. 

Other Resources for the Hurricane Rim Trail:
Links to other pages:
     Single-page riding guide to Hurricane Rim
     Hurricane Cliffs Trail Summary page
     JEM Trail    Gould's Rim Trail    Goosebumps/Cryptobionic
     JEM DT   More Cowbell    Dead Ringer   Gould's Connector
GPS track files (right-click and "Save target as..."):
     GPX master file of area trails    Loop ride Gould-JEM-Hurricane    Hurricane Rim only
Alternate maps (download to print):
   Large-format topo map of trail system    Satellite view w elevation profile
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to St. George area resources

Copyright 2003 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Updated 2019