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Mountain biking in Hurricane, Utah has become increasingly popular over the past few years. With amazing views out of Zion National Park, super fun slickrock riding on Gooseberry Mesa, and fast, flowy stretches of singletrack, Hurricane is a must-visit destination for any rider.
If you’re into IMBA Epics, you’re also in luck. The 24-mile Hurricane Rim loop is a scenic cross-country ride that showcases some of the best views and pedaly singletrack in the area.
So if you’re planning a trip to Hurricane and you want a big day out on the bike, read on to learn more about the IMBA Epic Hurricane Rim loop.
Hurricane Rim Loop at a Glance
- Mileage: 24 miles (depending on where you start)
- Elevation gain/loss: ~ 2,264 ft
- Elevation high: 4,518 ft
- Route type: Loop
- e-bikes allowed? Yes
- Time needed: 4-6 hours
*These numbers are approximate and measured by my Garmin fenix watch
Hurricane Rim Loop Map
What to Expect
The Hurricane Rim Loop is a 24-mile mountain bike ride that runs along the mesa rim above Hurricane, Utah (pronounced “Her-ah-kun”). The trail showcases incredible views out over Zion National Park and the rugged Virgin River as well as a striking pedal along the rim of Goulds Canyon to the west.
The main appeal of this ride are the vistas, which are absolutely stunning. Red and white mountains set against a blue sky, vibrant green shrubs and wildflowers dotting flat mesa tops, deep canyons, and rolling hills. The views are amazing throughout the entire loop.
However, the appeal – for me at least – mostly stops there. The riding, to be quite honest, is a bit boring and very cross-country which is not really my riding style. That being said, I could see how some people would absolutely love this loop for its mellow terrain and big mileage.
If you consider yourself a cross-country mountain biker, you’ll probably enjoy it. But if you’re looking for the more iconic Hurricane riding, skip this loop and head up to Gooseberry Mesa.
Where to start
Hurricane Rim is a loop, so technically you can start anywhere along the route. The IMBA recommendation is to start on the north rim near La Verkin, which will reward you with a long, fast downhill finish.
Another good place to start is at the Hurricane Hill parking area. Starting here gets the long Goulds Doubletrack slog out of the way, but there’s a pretty hefty climb at the end before descending back down to the car.
If you’re camping up on the mesa, my recommendation would be to just start from where you’ve set up camp. For us, this was along the Goulds Rim trail. The doubletrack climb at the end wasn’t ideal, but it beats breaking camp to drive to a different trailhead.
Clockwise or Counterclockwise?
The route can be ridden in either direction, but I highly recommend riding it counterclockwise. This will give you a super fun descent down either the Jem Trail or Dead Ringer (see trail descriptions below).
If you ride it clockwise, your ‘fun’ descent will be down the Goulds Doubletrack fire road.
Trails That make up the Hurricane Rim Loop
If you’re starting from the North Rim trailhead, pedal up Jem for a mile and a half then hang a right onto the Hurricane Rim trail. Hurricane Rim is the longest trail segment of the loop. It traverses along the beautiful and rugged rim of the Virgin River with amazing views out over Zion before pulling inwards to climb and descend along rolling, hilly singletrack.
The Hurricane Rim Trail is 7 miles in length with about 500 ft of climbing (the elevation profile on TrailForks is wrong). There is a steep climb up to the top of Panorama Point toward the end and then a switchbacked descent down to the Hurricane Hill parking area.
**If you do not start at the North Rim parking area, the lefthand turn onto Hurricane Rim from Jem trail is VERY EASY to blow past. Slow your speed and watch for the Hurricane Rim trail marker on the left or else you’ll need to climb back up.
From the Hurricane Hill Parking area, follow the main paved road downhill for a quarter of a mile and then cross over the tarmac to huff and puff your way up the short steep fire road on the left. This is the start of Goulds Doubletrack and that first steep pitch is the worst of it.
Goulds Doubletrack winds up a canyon for about two miles and it’s actually a nice spin if you go slow and enjoy the view. At the top of the climb, there’s still another half a mile of dirt road until you see the Goulds Rim singletrack to the right.
Goulds Rim is a mellow, meandering pedal through beautiful rolling hills and along the stunning rim of Goulds Canyon. Take a moment to stop and look at the myriad of rock and wildflower colors lining the bottom of the gorge!
Goulds Rim dumps you out into an open dirt area and it’s a little hard to see where the trail leads. Head straight across the main dirt road toward the fallen down corral and you’ll see the trail wind back in-between some dirt piles. Gould is a fun section with lots of flow if you keep your speed!
Jem or Dead Ringer
Gould ends at the main highway. Cross the road and pedal down the dirt track to the trailhead parking area. You have options here. The ‘traditional’ Hurricane Rim route follows Jem all the way back down to the North Rim Parking, but I think it’s more fun to hop onto Dead Ringer and then connect back into Jem farther down.
They’re both fun, but Dead Ringer has a bit more flow and whoop-de-whoops to play on!
Things to Consider
- This is a big ride. 24 miles may not sound like a lot (or maybe it does), but this ride is pretty much ALL pedaling. There two big climbs (Hurricane Hill and Goulds Doubletrack) and the in-between is very cross-country with not a ton of flow. The good news is that there are several places to bail, so make sure you have TrailForks or MTB Project downloaded on your phone and be realistic about the mileage you can safely and comfortably cover.
- THERE IS NO WATER ON THE TRAIL. Do not underestimate how much water you’ll need. Take at least 3L in a hydration pack and a water bottle in the cage.
- The Hurricane Rim Loop is best ridden during the cooler winter months of November-April. Hurricane does occasionally get snow and adverse weather during the winter, so make sure you check the forecast and bring an extra layer for ‘just-in-case’.
- There is some minor exposure on the Hurricane Rim Trail. It’s nothing compared to the exposure on Gooseberry Mesa, but if you’re overly concerned about heights, this may not be the trail for you. Most of the exposure is on the eastern portion of Hurricane Rim.
- Allow for at least 4-6 hours to complete this ride. You’ll want to stop to take pictures, eat snacks, and rest at the top of the climbs. We rode it in just over 4 hours. Our moving time was quick, but we took plenty of breaks and photo ops.
- While the loop is mostly well-marked, it is essential that you bring some sort of navigational guide like the TrailForks app or a printed map.
What to Pack
The biggest concerns for the Hurricane Rim Epic are water and heat, so make sure you bring plenty of fluids with you and be aware of the expected temperature. Here’s what I recommend bringing with you for your ride:
- Hydration pack with 3L water bladder. I like the Osprey Raven (women’s) or Osprey Raptor (men’s). Bring at least a liter of water per hour you plan on being out.
- Spare tube and/or tire plug kit
- Hand pump w/ CO2 cartridges
- Sunscreen (it gets hot out there!)
- Snacks/lunch and hydration powder (the Skratch single packs are great)
- Medical kit (you won’t need it unless you do!)
- Cell phone with TrailForks or MTB Project downloaded
Hurricane Rim is worth doing once, in my opinion. The views are unrivaled and the long pedal is unique, but truthfully you’d be hard-pressed to get me to ride it again. There are so many other amazing trails and networks in Hurricane that offer similar views, but more engaging riding. Gooseberry Mesa, Guacamole, Little Creek, and Wire Mesa all have better routes and more interesting features like rock slab riding and creative alt-lines.
If you only have a few days in Hurricane, I’d say skip this IMBA Epic and focus your time and energy on the other zones.
Looking for more fun things to do?
Check out these popular tours in Hurricane
Related IMBA Epic posts:
- The Buffalo Creek Loop in Colorado
- The Tahoe Flume Trail in Nevada
- The Palm Canyon Epic trail in California
- The South Boundary Trail in New Mexico
Have you ridden the Hurricane Rim Loop? What did you think about it? What other tips or advice would you add? Let us know in the comments!