Though Northern Utahís mountain resorts still lay claim to some of the greatest snow on earth and consistently find themselves amongst the nationís top winter destinations (rightfully so) for outdoor adventure activities, southern Utah is steadily gaining fame for its year-round access to world class mountain biking.
For outdoor enthusiasts who want to skip the pow and head straight for the sunshine, St. George and the surrounding areas offer myriad opportunities for riders of nearly every skill level to hit the dirt … or sandstone … or both.
Thanks in large part to the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association (DMBTA) and its many partner agencies and volunteers, new trails have been cropping up all over southern Utah.
One of the most recent trail systems to open in the area is the Desert Canyons Trail System which is located just off the Southern Parkway by the Desert Canyons subdivision and the airport.
The system contains a handful of beginner to intermediate trails – Meditation Rock, Pushing Tin, Secret Sauce, and Claim Jumper – that connect via short trails and can all be done together or as sections. For mountain bikers looking for a great way to squeeze in a ride on a busy weekend, or after work when the days are longer, The Desert Canyons Trail System is ideal.
The trails are not the most scenic in the area, but there are some sweet spots, including a bench near the top of the Pushing Tin Loop, to take in sweeping views of the desert landscape and watch airplanes as they take off and land.
Know before you go
Desert Canyon Trail System is open to mountain bikers and hikers. Proper trail etiquette dictates that bikers yield to pedestrians.
The trail system is a singletrack trail with two-way traffic. Riders are asked to stop their bikes and lean out of the way of passing hikers or bikers. In order to protect the surrounding environment and keep the singletrack single, riders should not ride off trail.
Desert Canyon Trail System is a remote desert area; rattlesnakes, trail obstacles and other dangers exist. Riders and hikers are urged to exercise caution and know their personal limits.
The trail system is located in exposed desert terrain. Riders and hikers should bring plenty of water no matter what season they are riding in.
There are no bathrooms at the trailheads.
The trail system has been classified as beginner/intermediate level for mountain bikers. Though most spots are beginner friendly, the system does have some technical climbing, patches of loose dirt, some sharp switchbacks, and a few natural obstacles that will challenge newbies to mountain biking.
The trail contains about 250 feet of climbing.
The Desert Canyons Trail System has about 4.5 total miles of riding or hiking.
Getting there from St. George
Head southbound on Interstate 15, take the Southern Parkway (Utah Highway 7) exit. Turn left onto Southern Parkway and follow it about six miles to the Desert Canyons Parkway exit.
After exiting, turn left onto Desert Canyons Parkway, pass under the Southern Parkway and drive 1/10th mile north to the Secret Sauce/Claim Jumper trailhead.
Riders can also turn right at the exit onto Desert Canyons Parkway and then right onto Deserts Edge Drive to the Meditation Rock/Pushing Tin trailhead.