Sunday, February 26, 2012

St. George Riding

The advantage of having a son who lives in St. George, is that when the weather is wet and cold in Corvallis, you can go visit him.  That is just what I recently did. While the Saturday ride group were finding rain, mud and snow on Forest Peak, I was in clear blue and 65 degree weather in St. George.  Started the trip by riding the Green Valley trail system which is just south of St. George in Bloomington.  This is a great system of rolling trails and a great way to get acclimated to the riding style needed for this area.

The next day, we drove about 30 minutes from Hurricane to the Gooseberry Mesa trail head.  We then climbed the dirt road up from the first parking lot and had one of the best rides ever coming down the North Rim trail, the Practice trail system, Drops and Ledges, and finished with the Windmill trail (this is a bucket list).  Coming from the Northwest where you lots of fire road climbs and sweeping downhill runs through the trees, this was more rolling terrain over "slick rock" (sand stone) that worked through the natural obstacles and along the North rim. The interesting thing is that a lot of the trail is marked by white dots on the rocks. You can't climb the rocks in Oregon like you can in St. George.  It was all it is advertised to be and more.  Just a great event.  Like riding in Bend, when you can hit these trails about a 5 days after a rain storm, the trails are in perfect condition and no dust.

The final ride is the Jem loop, which starts at the Over The Edge (OTE) bike shop in Hurricane ( which is a great place to get supplies and your bike fixed.  They also have an espresso machine. This is about a 20 miles loop with a little double track.  It is a very exposed ride, so it a good morning or late afternoon ride.

St. George also has some great bike shops like Red Rock (Specialized) and Bike Unlimited (Trek).  Pick up one of the great color trail maps at any of the bike shops.
Balancing Rock on the Green Valley Trail

Painted Hills - Green Valley Trail

1st Parking Lot sign

North Rim Trail as the sun is coming up, looking over the valley

Breath taking views - Gooseberry Mesa North Rim

Windmill Trail Head

Go Beavers!

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