Little Creek Mountain
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||Little Creek Mountain is a flat-top mesa 18 miles east of Hurricane, 10 miles
south of its more famous twin Gooseberry Mesa.
Like Gooseberry, Little Creek has technical singletrack mixed with areas
of open rock.
Hunter pauses his K2 on the edge of the Shinarump caprock at the
mesa's west end. To the north, Gooseberry mesa rises above the valley
floor. Photo by Bruce Argyle November 11,
| There are two well-traveled interconnected loops of 10 and 6
miles, plus an awesome out-and-back off the Sandstone Canyon Loop. Linked
together, a big loop offers 15 miles
of advanced riding. At 5600 feet average elevation,
there's little vertical change over the course of the trail.
|The open rock is rolling sandstone and conglomerate of the
Shinarump member of the Chinle Formation (Triassic Period, about 245
million years ago). This is great rock riding, without the brutal climbs
that are seen at Moab's Slickrock. Everything
is on a smaller scale here, making for a gazillion stunt opportunities.
Jon, Jamie, and Keith cross a typical section of Little Creek's rock.
||The singletrack portions wind through pinion, juniper, gooseberry,
and manzanita. The trail zigs and zags over small outcrops of rock, and is
fairly (but not horrendously) technical.
In summer this area is hot (although about 10 degrees cooler than the
valley below). Take plenty of water. In the winter, the trail is open all
but a handful of days.
Typical singletrack trail section
shows firm dirt base alternating with sections of rock, as the trail winds
through pinion and juniper.
|This trail system is new, and can be a little difficult to
navigate. The trail is marked by cairns (small rockpiles). If you don't
have a guide, allow extra time to find trail markers -- and carry a GPS so
you can walk the bike back to your car if you're totally lost.
View down the slickrock canyon. Stunts
galore -- pick your level of difficulty.
West Mesa Loop was fairly well-marked. The Slickrock Canyon Loop has been
easy, or extremely hard, to follow. Riders mark the trail with cairns,
then buttwipes come along and toss the rocks aside to hide the route. It
can be very
hard to navigate if you don't know where you're going.
Ride Notes Caveat! You may spend a bit of time rolling
around in slickrock areas, looking for the next trail marker. Or you may play on
the rock a bit. So your mileage may be substantially higher than what I've
listed. I suggest you take a GPS unit and periodically "recalibrate"
||Ride Notes, West Mesa Loop clockwise:
0.0 Continue south on doubletrack from parking
0.2 Singletrack forks right, uphill and into trees
0.6 Just after crossing doubletrack,
open rock on left
trail forks here N 37° 03.821' W 113°
Go Left = singletrack to west edge of
(Straight = to slickrock loop)
1.1 Return trail comes on right at wash bottom
Go straight N 37° 03.737' W 113°
4.0 Subtle fork on rock; if you reach cliffs going
south, go back 1/4 mile
Chad rolls down a Shinarump ramp.
4.2 Reach western edge of mesa, ride north along cliff
N 37° 04.166' W 113° 15.154'
6.0 Leave cliffs to head east
8.1 Trail forks, go right to complete loop
N 37° 04.488' W 113° 13.405'
(Left = to slickrock loop, see
9.1 Trail crosses open rock canyon to your left
9.4 Join doubletrack, straight downhill
N 37° 03.797' W 113° 13.792'
9.5 Hard left in bottom of wash, onto rock
9.9 Back at first trail fork, right uphill into trees
10.5 At parking
Chad takes a wheelie-drop off a ledge
(while the rest of us take the easy way around). November 11, 2001.
||Big Loop (Sandstone Canyon) Option:
8.1 Fork left from West Mesa Loop (see above)
8.7 Slickrock canyon, fork north for out-and-back
to north edge of mesa
(Nov 2001 - poorly marked,
10.5 Arrive at cliff edge at north end of mesa, turn back
12.2 Fork left (east) uphill to leave slickrock canyon
Wind around and turn back
N 37° 04.719' W 113°
around canyon back to east
Drop into slot
Flygare drops off a ledge. November 23, 2001.
13.7 Just after climbing tough switchback, trail forks right
N 37° 04.418' W 113°
(Left = alternate loop, see at
14.7 Back at first trail fork, straight uphill into trees
15.3 Back at parking
|Notes on alternate loop, clockwise:
Going straight (left), trail turns right (south) at 0.1
N 37° 04.387' W 113° 12.882'
At mile 0.8, critical fork N 37° 04.154' W 113° 13.165'
(hard to see!) go right and up (left = trail to northeast)
At 0.9, rejoins other route at N 37° 04.157' W 113° 13.255'
|Ride Notes, Slickrock Canyon Loop counterclockwise:
0.0 Continue south on doubletrack from parking area
0.2 Singletrack forks off right, uphill and into trees
0.6 Just after crossing doubletrack, open rock on left
N 37° 03.821' W 113° 13.606', keep
( Left = singletrack to west edge of
1.1 Fork at end of rock area, keep left
N 37° 04.157' W 113° 13.255'
(Right = south end of alternate loop,
see below right)
There are many opportunities to try
stunts of various difficulty. Matt does a
bunny-hop with a twist.
1.6 Fork in trail, go left and downhill
N 37° 04.714' W 113° 13.019'
(Right = north end of alternate loop)
1.7 Up into canyon (left)
1.8 Around slot canyon, follow opposite side northeast
|Notes on alternate loop, counterclockwise:
Riding north, trail forks 0.1 mile later
at N 37° 04.154' W 113° 13.165', keep left
(Right = trail heads east then north, fairly technical)
Turns left at 0.8, N 37° 04.387' W 113° 12.882'
to rejoin the other route at 0.9 (keep right)
2.0 Large open rock area, follow contour north
(This area is poorly marked - Nov
2.5 Turn left and drop into slickrock canyon
N 37° 04.719' W 113° 12.754'
Left and up = return loop
Across wash then right = to Point
1.75 miles to
Point, add 3.5 to mileage below
GPS N 37° 05.240' W 113° 12.339'
3.1 At top of canyon, south over summit
N 37° 04.714' W 113° 13.019'
Chad drops six feet off the roof of a
cave. Little Creek offers more varied terrain, bigger spaces of open rock,
and a greater variety of stunts than Gooseberry.
3.7 At trail fork N 37° 04.488' W 113° 13.405'
Left = return
(Right = to West Mesa Loop in
4.7 Trail crosses open rock canyon to your left
5.0 Join doubletrack, straight downhill
N 37° 03.797' W 113° 13.792'
5.1 Hard left in bottom of wash, onto rock
5.5 Back at first trail fork, right uphill into trees
6.1 At parking
Here Chad shows the mere mortals how one
descends from the rock.
Note, Summer 2002: While the two basic
loops are well-marked, the cairns that mark the route from the slickrock canyon to
The Point are sometimes tough to spot. (Some bike-haters removed the
cairns in 2003 -- the trail has been re-marked, but there aren't as many
rockpiles to guide you.) If you're not an
adventuresome sort, our suggestion is
that you link up with somebody who knows the route. It can be difficult to find
your way through this slickrock maze.
Note, Fall 2003: A
new trail has been routed to a second "point" at the tip of the mesa.
It continues north from The Point above. It's still a bit soft in the dirt
areas, but not hard to follow. Be warned: there are some dangerous cliff-side
turns requiring expert riding skills. The new trail section ends at cliff's edge
at N 37° 05.692' W 113°
Getting there: On Highway 9 at the east end of
Hurricane, turn south on US-59 and zero your odometer. One block later,
turn left (east) and begin climbing up out of the Hurricane Valley. 13.2
miles later, turn right on gravel road. 14.1 turn right; 14.9 keep right;
16.0 keep left; 16.4 keep left; 18.5 continue straight across cattleguard; 19.5 turn right (critical
turn where corral is on your left, leave the main road); 20.1 bear left. At 21.0, cross 3rd cattle guard; 21.5 road
reaches slickrock, park here (GPS N 37° 03.586' W 113° 13.528'). Begin
the ride by heading down the road (the singletrack forks off on the right
0.2 miles later).
For printable one-page riding guides:
West Mesa Loop and
Big Loop Clockwise
GPS Track files (right-click as
don't include spur to point at this time)
Lodging, camping, shops:
Links to St.
George area resources
UtahMountainBiking.com's Trails Options Page]
Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc