Note from the Editor: We’re not sure if evdog was a professional photographer in a past life, but lucky for us he is not only an outstanding photographer but as well an amazing mountain biker. Enjoy the read and eye candy that Evan brings to the imtbtrails plate! Enjoy! ~ imtbtrails
Thanks to Dell as well for setting this trip up! We had been going to Sedona a lot the last few years but it has turned into a bit of a circus, now that all the trails have been adopted and signed they are overrun with hikers. So it was nice to get back to Hurricane where there were pretty much no hikers on any of the trails. Plus they are constantly building new trails… and they are fun/techy new trails.
First day we did Hurricane Cliffs system. There are a bunch of new trails since my last visit so we explored some of those.
A few of us did a quick lap while waiting for everyone else to show up. Top of JEM was up first. The upper part is now downhill only
A little ways down JEM we turned R onto Goosebumps. Pretty fun trail, lots of undulation and G-outs with a few alternate lines. It sort of hugs the bottom of the cliffs below Gooseberry.
At the bottom we got a little lost as the trails aren’t all marked and there are a few alternate social endings. We found the bottom of Dead Ringer and climbed that all the way back to the trailhead.
Dead ringer is pretty cool. It hugs the side of some steep canyons. Little room to pass if you meet other riders. The bike shop recommended this trail for climbing only.
By the time we got up top most of the group was there and Dell’s vehicle was just a few mins out. Not long after that we were back off down the trail for another loop.
Started with top of JEM again, and then crossed over to descend Dead Ringer. That trail has some smallish jumps on it, and climbing it meant we were going the wrong way on our first lap. None of them were really that fun, mostly a bit awkward.
We rode DR and Cryptobionic all the way down to Hurricane Rim and took that trail back over to JEM. From there it was JEM – Crypto – Goosebumps- DR back to the top.
Most of the group had done More Cowbell while waiting for others to show up. Gil, Rob and I did a quick lap on it at the end. Its a ~2mi trail with maybe 100ft total gain/loss, but has some awesome views. Looking down over Goosebumps:
Trail follows the edge of a mesa for a while
A few were done for the day, others wanted a bit more. A few descended Dead Ringer down the the next road crossing. Gil and I decided to ride Goulds Rim back into town instead. I had never ridden it that way before and it would be mostly downhill. It is definitely more fun riding it back toward town!
We checked out a new connector trail near the bottom that would cut off the final bit of the ride on Hwy back into town.
We found a super primitive trail along the top of the cliffs, heading south. It was actually hard to follow
Then, it finally ended. We searched around for a bit trying to figure where it went. When we looked over the edge we spotted freshly built switchbacks down below, and a line of pin flags going up the hillside. So, the trail is so new it is not even done yet! Should be a good one when it is done, it will mean riding singletrack right from town!
Day 2, Gooseberry Mesa:
For me Gooseberry is the main must-do ride in the area. I like it a lot better than Little Creek.
We started at South rim TH. I have actually never started from there before, there is a massive new TH and parking area. We got right into the meat of the system
Being a few years since I’ve been to Goose, some of the lines were forgotten. Some, like this one, always stand out
After S Rim we headed up Hidden Canyon
Lots of time was spent playing around
Then over to the point
Next it was back on South Rim along the south side of the mesa
The group split soon after. Some had already gone back from the point. Some continued on Hidden Canyon and some continued onto a secret trail
I have always liked this one as it is tougher and much less ridden than everything else. Lots of deep sand this year made it more work and less fun than usual.
Our group got really spread out, and Jfsh and I ended up waiting a few mins for Danno and the other Evan to catch up. The rest of our group who were ahead, didn’t wait.
Ending of Secret Tr
Day 3 people were looking for some “easier” miles so we started with Grafton. Jay offered to run the shuttle for us as he didn’t feel like riding, so it was 2 trips up in Jeff’s truck to get everyone to the top.
Within minutes of rolling we were in sessioning mode. No pressure!
Gnarly run out
Jeff pioneered a lower line which seemed smoother and more direct
Mike takes the original upper line, required a quick turn at the bottom
Nice view to the right, but don’t take your eyes off the trail for long
Andy dropping in at the larger roll
Rob takes it with a bit of speed
The other Evan on a nice air
One of the most recognizable features on Grafton
This used to be a nice, mandatory huck. Hard to see but there is now a ramp built right to the top. Boo!
Bryan hits the double roll
Not a bad view
Gil rolls the top of Grafton descent
Jeff followed me down
One of my favorite sections of trail anywhere…
Andy near the bottom of the rocky section
The background landscape is almost mesmerizing
Aaron rides out the bottom rocks
There are a lot better things to ride out there than the climb back up Crybaby hill. Like Guacamole….!
The group split up after Grafton. I think some went to hike in Zion, some were done for the day. Jeff piled in with Gil and Rob and me and we headed over to Guacamole. This is one of the most fun trail systems in the area. It is somewhat of a lollipop, with a main route out, and then a few alternate loops you can do toward the south end of the mesa. They seem to be building new stuff each year so it is always worth going back.
Lots of petrified wood. A lot of the trail cairns are made from this stuff. Some nice big pieces seem to lie all over the place.
Typical view off the side of the mesa as we ride out
Then it is onto slickrock
It is more of an open canvas than Gooseberry and you have to watch for cairns at times
The area burned ~10 years ago and is still coming back
Tons of optional lines, as hard as you want. Not always as easy as you might want, though
But its fun as you get to use your imagination
We check out a loop that is new since my last trip
This one is the best loop out there by far IMO
Tons of good rollers, techy bits and variety, and gets all the way out to the east and south ends of the mesa
We eventually start running out of light and need to head back
But a few more features to play on, on the ride back
We get going at a nice pace but have to stop to check this guy out, trail side. First time I’ve seen a rattler in UT. Nice colors!
Last day! We had a few options. One of the main ones was to check out the new system over at Quail Creek reservoir. I talked everyone into checking out R&B trail first, it is a couple mile long trail squeezed onto a tiny patch of land next to Hwy 9. Unfortunately a few riders were done after that short trail. A few others rode over to check out Quail Creek overlook (the new system) while the rest of us checked out Quail Creek trail that takes off from R&B trailhead.R&B is a really short but cool trail system that undulates and switchbacks constantly below a higher ridgeline.
It takes about 30-45mins for a lap. They’ve added a second trail in the middle of the original loop now for a second option.
We headed onto Quail Cr trail next, which goes from the same trailhead a couple miles up the reservoir
Most did it as an out an back rather than ride back on pavement
Pretty fun trail, there are a few steep climbs otherwise it flows pretty well
Dell & co went over to Quail Cr overlook system while we did this. Gil and I went over after. Rob opted out, and we busted Dell & Aaron cheating with a shuttle back to the TH. Someone needs to flag their STRAVA run, those cheaters!
Quail Creek overlook was fun, tough and scenic
It is comprised of a long ridge line with four fins. There is a loop up and around each fin.
The first and fourth loops are the toughest
Switchbacks “down” the first one. There seemed to be a lot of pedaling for a downhill
Lots of views of the reservoir
The description of the 4th loop read long techy climb to shorter steeper descent. We HAB’d up the shorter climb which turned out to have some fun, legit technical sections.
Looks inconsequential, but it had a nice double roll
Another one near the top
Doing it again I would probably ride up the long techy climb. There was a fair amount of climbing out the way we went so it wouldn’t be a hard climb up, good value IMO and the shorter descent seemed better optimized than the way we went down.
The way back, you can see the final two fins
Fun system, good for a couple hours at R&B and at Quail Creek overlook.
It has been a while since I rode Zen Trail or Barrel Roll but I would say Quail Creek overlook is very similar to those both in difficulty and in ride length. Views are pretty good at all of them too as they all follow a high line along a ridge. It is great there are more and more options in the area. I am hoping they will keep building more trail. The map by R&B showed another trail higher up on the bluff above Quail Creek trail that would turn that into a loop rather than out and back. Hopefully they will build a trail all the way around the reservoir, as that would make for an excellent loop ride.
Another fun trip in the books. Thanks for setting it up Dell! I will not let as much time pass before going back to Hurricane. For me right now Hurricane has risen back above Sedona as a better ride destination.