First off, whatever you do, make an effort to pronounce Hurricane correctly. If you don’t, you’re bound to be the subject of some heckling. If you say it more like “Hurri-kin,” as opposed to “Hurri-cane,” you’ll find yourself much better off and spare yourself a good deal of public shaming.
The main reason for our visit was simple enough. The Color Country Cycling Club, AKA the CCCC, has adopted and maintained many miles of trails in southern Utah. While the local area is known for the epic known as the Gooseberry Mesa, one of their favorite local rides is the mesa across the way known as the Little Creek Mesa. Unlike Gooseberry, which received an official trail designation in 1999, (and is complete with signage and other amenities) the Little Creek trail system is still being reviewed by the BLM. While the area is legal place to recreate, it does not have signs, and is not a recognized trail due to a lack of funding for environmental assessment. Much of the trail runs through areas recognized as archaeological sites, home to a number of Anasazi ruins. In fact, much of the current route is littered with pottery shards and Anasazi art.
There currently are no official trail markers, only piles of rock and tracks. The club had a minor success recently with the placement of a sign that signifies the non-motorized status of the area. Unfortunately, that is currently as far as they have been able to go. The area is confusing to navigate for visitors from out of town- I know that personally, I was disoriented several times, and that was while riding with a large group!
Unfortunately our meeting with the BLM re: the Little Creek Trail system didn’t fare well. The Little Creek area, while long recognized by IMBA and the CCCC as a valuable addition to the Southern Utah trails network, is low on the BLM’s priority list citing low funds and resources needed to complete a NEPA.
Following our meeting with the BLM, we met with city council representatives of Hurricane, Cedar City, and St. George and did a presentation of the economic benefits of multi-use single track tourism. Thankfully, they were very much engaged and interested in doing what they could to push forward in promoting sustainable recreation. The Little Creek area remains a high priority for the CCCC and IMBA, and we hope get an established trail system re-routed through non-sensitive areas as quickly as possible.
Following the presentation we met up for a social with members of the CCCC and the local community at Over the Edge Sports. The BBQ was delish.
While in town, the Color Country Cycling club took us on guided tours of both the Little Creek and Gooseberry Mesa. We also hiked part of the Jem Trail. The Hurricane area offers incredible riding that rivals Moab as a destination. It doesn’t hurt that Virgin, the site of the Red Bull Rampage is but minutes away. Gooseberry is a must ride trail, worthy of any top ten list. Thanks again to John, Steve, Stu, Quinn, Chandra, and Ron for their hospitality during our visit. If you are visiting the area and interested in meeting up with the CCCC for a ride, check out their website.