Hurricane is not HURRUHCANE it’s HURRAH-KIN. Spend any amount of time in Utah and you’ll quickly learn that. After our exceptional romp in St. Geezy, we loaded up our Yotas with our bikes and drove an hour to Hurricane, home to arguably the best trails in Southwestern Utah. We had a few days to explore with not a lot on the agenda, other than Gooseberry Mesa and the IMBA Epic Rim Trail. IMBA Epics are just as they sound, epic rides categorized by IMBA. It’s not often you come across one of these treks, so when you do, you’d better do your best to ride it.
Once we decided on a campsite – there’s tons of free, dispersed camping in the area, just make sure you pack it in and pack it out – we unloaded our trucks, tuned up the bikes and cooked a meager dinner. Our rough plan was to awake with the sun as it rose over the pastel-colored mesas and take off to the Hurricane Rim Loop.
Mornings in Utah this time of year are cold, making early starts very difficult. Even crawling out of the roof top tent was particularly difficult that morning as a eagle’s call screeched through the Virgin River Valley below. Everything had a layer of frost covering it, even the coolers had a plane of thin ice encapsulating their tops. Coffee. Breakfast tacos and yes, some bourbon warmed spirits and body temperatures. A little chain lube later and we were ready to roll.
Camping close to the trails is key and in Utah, it’s almost always a possibility. Most of these trails are on public land, so finding a secluded area to set up for the night is easy. Ours happened to be close to the start of the Hurricane Rim Loop, so we took off towards the singletrack.
Now, this loop is composed of the Hurricane Rim Trail, the Goulds Rim Trail and JEM, along with one potentially sketchy, quarter mile descent on a busy highway. We used the MTB Project app on our phones, which were on airplane mode to conserve battery life and our common sense to complete the ride without any major hitches.
Along the way, we caught up with a father and daughter on a tandem and met up with David, a tourist who just happened to be riding the trails that morning as well. David would hang with us for the remainder of our stay in the area and was a super stoked and capable dude. Unfortunately, I fucked up and my only photo of him didn’t come out, so you’ll have to take my word for his handsomeness… ;-)
Back to the ride. Look, this is not a rowdy trail. While it has plenty of fun moments, it’s primarily an XC loop. However, where it lacks with drops, booters and other features it makes up for in scenery and views. Particularly the Hurricane Rim Trail. It’s breathtaking. Other fine moments include the ripping, smooth descent down to Goulds and the few rocky sections on JEM. We opted out on riding other sections nearby due to the recent rain making the terrain a bit muddy.
After re-locating camp to a nearby rocky outcropping overlooking a wash, we decided that camp dining had worn out its welcome and headed down into “town” to get some “real food.” That’s where we stumbled into the Cactus Room and met Bob, who served us the best Buffalo Burger I’ve ever had, as well as a plentiful dose of humor and local atavism.
The evening came fast and my special dessert in the desert made me turn in for the night just after sunset. Hey, chasing these dudes all day with a heavy camera pack is exhausting!