We’ve returned to Goosberry Mesa multiple times over the years with our son. When we first started going, he was just a little guy on a balance bike. Today, he’s a very capable rider that can hit any of the trails.
For those who aren’t familiar with Gooseberry Mesa, near Hurricane, UT, it is well known in the mountain bike community as a technical, must-ride trail system. It is not well known as a family-friendly destination, but thanks to the fun slickrock, it’s a blast for kids too.
Here are some of our tips for taking your family to Gooseberry including what trails to ride and where to stay.
What To Ride
Even very young kids and beginners will have fun on the White Trail and Practice Loop. Everybody should start here before branching out.
Both trails have plenty of features to play around on. Young kids will have fun just sessioning slickrock features and adventuring. My advice would be to skip a long ride and just let kids practice their skills here.
If your kids have mastered the practice loop, than you can venture out further. Windmill, Bowls And Ledges, and North Rim trails are good next bets. Although they are marked blue on Trailforks, keep in mind that these are definitely technically challenging trails.
In addition to biking, kids will have fun hiking, digging, building ramps for toy cars, collecting rocks, and all those things little kids love to do in the great outdoors. We’ve also had fun doing geo-caching up here.
In this way, Gooseberry Mesa isn’t so different than any place you could go camping. The real draw is the gorgeous scenery, the feeling of adventure, and exploration of a new place.
Where To Stay
We’ve stayed multiple places when visiting Gooseberry. Our very favorite are the Gooseberry yurts.
There are four yurts and some are VERY close to the edge of the mesa. The closest is the Rampage view and the furthest away is Temple View.
We stayed at Rampage View when my son was TINY. This made my mom-heart panic a bit, but we had a long conversation about not getting close to the edge, and Little P seemed to understand the danger. We were careful never to let him out of eye-sight and someone was with him at all times when we were outside the yurt.
The benefit of being right on the rim was the amazing view. We could see Zion National Park and a number of other beautiful cliffs and mesas in the distance. The yurt had a lovely deck that we ate all our meals on it and watched the sunrises and sunsets.
If you can’t handle the exposure or risk with kids, then pick a yurt further away from the edge.
There are no developed campgrounds on the mesa, but there is dispersed camping. If you are the type that doesn’t mind roughing it, find a spot off to the side of the road and set up camp.
We’ve done this a couple of times and it’s worked out great. You do need to make sure that you bring plenty of water. There are bathrooms at the trailheads, but otherwise, you need to pack out all of your waste and trash.
Staying In Hurricane, UT
The other option is staying in Hurricane, the nearest big-ish town. There are plenty of places here to stay including hotels, motels, Airbnbs, etc.
Hurricane is a fun town with a great bike shop (Over The Edge) and some good places to eat.
Things To Keep In Mind
The road to Gooseberry Mesa has improved in the last few years, but it’s still a LONG quite bumpy dirt road to get there. You want to make sure that you have a vehicle that’s mechanically reliable and don’t attempt to drive it when it’s been raining. The mud becomes impassible!
The fact that it’s a long drive from nowhere also means that you need to be self-sufficient. Make sure to bring plenty of water, tools for fixing your bikes, snacks for your kids, and a first aid kit.
Other Places Nearby To Ride
If you’re heading to Gooseberry Mesa on a vacation, don’t stop there! There are tons of great places to ride with kids in the St. George and Hurricane area. In fact, we generally head down here at least once a year we love it so much.
The closest family friendly trail system are the JEM trails. You can find other options in our guide to mountain biking St. George with kids.
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The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.
Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.
If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!