St George, UT Trails Primer

r.swany

Rising Sun Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Sedalia, CO
We traveled to St.George over New Years... @bassguyry asked about the trails we found that he might be able to hit to or from his Mojave trip. Figured this would be a good place to share what we discovered. Also adding in a few other trip details that might be helpful for you guys that might want to head there to escape Colorado winter for a few days.

THE DRIVE OUT - @Lefty and drove down with our families in our 80s. From Denver it's 4 lane hwy the whole way so it feels super quick and easy. Google shows it as a 9hr drive, but in a pair of 25 year old LCs plus family stops it's closer to 12. The drive out there actually took a bit longer because it snowed non-stop between Grand Junction and Cedar City. The most snow was in Cedar City 3-4" + whiteout conditions. The snow stopped and turned to rain in the last 20 miles down into St. George. The quick change in climate was surprising and amazing. It felt so damn good!

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THE DESTINATION - We stayed at a house in Hurricane outside of St.George. The goal was to get out of the snow for a week and we succeeded. We weren't sure how much different the weather in SW Utah would be from Moab. But as noted above, turns out it's waaaaay nicer. High of 50 and low of 30. There was a light rain the night we arrived but the rest of the trip was dry. Camping would defiantly be possible this time of year if you are prepared for the short days and chilly nights. I can imagine it would be a lot more fun in Feb/March.

THE TRAILS WE DROVE - We decided on the St. George area after reviewing trails on trailsoffroad.com. The first drive we did to Toquerville Falls (Green Route) is pretty well known and can be found on other sites like alltrails.com. The second drive we did up Rattlesnake Gultch (Blue Route) was only listed on Trails Offroad. I don't know why we couldn't find info for it anywhere else, maybe it's just not that well known. Cat's out of the bag now! As a bonus, Hurricane is only 30 min from Zion, which obviously isn't an off-road loop, but it's definitely worth at least a day trip or drive through if you're down that way.

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DRIVE #1 TOQUERVILLE FALLS (Green) - The most popular trail drive down there seems to be Toquerville Falls. It's basically an hour long dirt road out to small waterfalls and a swim hole. Too cold to swim for us in late Dec. The road is pretty easy but there are a couple spots that are just rough enough I wouldn't drive a Sprinter or and Outback out there. Stock Toyota 4x4's should be fine.

DRIVE #2 RATTLESNAKE GULCH (Blue) - There is an alternate 8 mile route to get to the falls heading up Rattlesnake Gultch. This trail starts off much more rough than Drive 1. The full trail is rated a 6 on Trails Offroad but the first half isn't too bad and easily passable with a lift and 33's. Probably even a stock 4x4. The very beginning is riddled with a web dirt bike and quad trails, but once you get past the first 3 miles (Waypoint 6) we found some great camping spots up the valley along the creek for about 1.5 miles (photo). Once you are 4.5 miles in, you get to the first real obstacle (Waypoint 7). After you get through it you basically have a creek with a field of boulders to navigate. The only line we thought we could make it through in our trucks was 80% up the creekbed, which was running too high (from the recent snow in higher elevations) for our comfort. We turned around at this point but we think it would be passable with our rigs with lower runoff in the late summer/fall. The parts of the trail we didn't get to look really cool in the photos we've seen. Even though it's only rated 6 I'd probably not drive anything other than a dedicated trail rig past Waypoint 7. If you want more details the Trails Offroad drive-through is really good. Attached is the GPX file from their site. We were bummed we couldn't finish the route up to the falls but we were happy to find this section of trail. We didn't see anybody else the whole day and the camping options looked great. We will definitely go back and try again.

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TRAILS WE DIDN'T DRIVE - For the most part it sounds like the trails around St.George are either really easy or really hard. We heard about another easy route that goes over the north side of the city called Cottonwood Springs. Highly recommended by a couple different locals. And then Sand Hollow is the playground for quads and crawlers that most of us have heard about before. I talked to a guy named Steve Nantz from a local shop Sand Hollow Offroad Hurricane to get beta on the nearby trails. It was interesting to find out he moved there from Moab because the crawler trails are harder. Not really our style but it sounds like there are some good routes for us 5-6 difficulty types. We didn't explore any of that area on this trip but will dig into it on the next. There are also some moderate rated trails northwest of St George which would probably be fun Fall/Spring camping that we want to go back and explore.

SUMMARY - The best discovery about St. George is that it's an easy destination for Colorado guys to get to and springboard into a lot of other fun SW trail networks pretty quick. Grand Canyon, Mojave, DV, etc are all within easy reach. We are currently planning a Northern Arizona Traverse from East to West and it's nice to know that we can finish in St.George then have a simple 1 day drive home on the interstate once we're done.

Happy to answer any questions about this trip that might pop up. If you have any trail/camping info to share about the St.George area please add it to this thread!
 

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Beach Boy

Cruise Moab Committee
Cruise Moab Committee
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
169
Location
Moab, Utah
Just a little farther (30 minutes) and lower in elevation is Mesquite, NV. For several years (years ago) I used to meet up with the Las Vegas TLCA Club (I guess they have been inactive) for their major weekend event in the mountains just south of Mesquite.
Their were many trails in the mountains and in the desert valleys, with history of mining and historical settlements. I always enjoyed the trips and keep telling myself to get back to that area some day.
 
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