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Desert Canyons
Secret Sauce and Claim Jumper trails

There are two mountain biking loops -- new in 2018 -- along the Southern Parkway just south of the St. George Airport. These are part of the Desert Canyons subdivision but are open to the general public. There's just under 6 miles of trail. The Secret Sauce loop is suitable for beginners; Claim Jumper is intermediate.

View to the west from the upper mesa on Secret Sauce. Photos and ride description by Bruce on May 31, 2018.

Both loops start as the same trail from the northern Desert Canyons trailhead. To get there, take the Desert Canyons exit from the Southern Parkway (Highway 7). Turn north (left if you're eastbound from St. George or Bloomington). About 1/10th mile from the Parkway, the trailhead is on your right. It's marked by a couple of flags in May 2018.

Trailhead for both loops, looking north. Not the same trailhead as for Pushing Tin.

Secret Sauce

The Secret Sauce loop is easily done by beginning riders. The ride out to the loop, around and back to the trailhead is 2.9 miles with 200 vertical feet of climbing. This ride is suitable for beginners. The terrain is wide-open, with views in every direction. There are no trees; just a bit of low brush among the rocks.

Looking north from the top of the hill, with the airport nestled in front of the Pine Valley Mountains.

The trails are general purpose and have been worked-over for ride-ability and run-ability. Areas with loose desert dirt have been hardened with a layer of road base. So even though brand new, the riding surface is firm. No fishtailing around in soft red desert-slop.

Note the different dirt colors. The trail has been reinforced with road-base crush -- so your tires won't dig into the fresh desert dirt.

The first trail fork, a bit less than 1/10th mile from the trailhead, is the return path for the Claim Jumper trail on your right. Keep straight for the Desert Canyons lariat loop.

The next trail fork is the Secret Sauce loop itself, coming at mile 0.4 from the trailhead. The trail is ONE-WAY and runs counter-clockwise. Make a hard right turn to begin your climb along the edge of the mesa. As you approach the top, the Claim Jumper trail forks away on your right at mile 1.4 from the trailhead. Keep left to continue your Secret Sauce loop ride.

Looking south toward the Desert Canyons development as we climb counterclockwise.

There's a viewpoint at the top with 360 degree desert views. Of that, about 90 degrees is the St. George airport to the north. But enjoy the Pine Valley Mountains behind the airport.

The trail begins a steady and gentle winding descent back to the trail fork. Make another loop, or keep straight to finish up.

Descending southbound.

Claim Jumper

Claim Jumper is 2.9 miles long, joining the stem of Secret Sauce (at 1/10th mile from the trailhead) to the eastern side of the Secret Sauce loop. Because you'll need to ride half of Secret Sauce in order to ride Claim Jumper, the minimum ride is 4.3 miles with 250 vertical feet of climbing.

Looking northeast as we ride on the shoulder between mesa and wash.

Claim Jumper is an intermediate ride, but can be done by experienced conditioned beginners. The intermediate rating is because there are some tight squeezes between boulders, little dips, and tighter turns than Secret Sauce.

The southern side of the Claim Jumper trail forks away from Secret Sauce just after you cross Ft Pierce Wash. Then it follows the shoulder between the mesa and the wash, winding around and dodging boulders. After about a mile, it begins to climbs uphill to the mesa.

The Rocky Mountain takes a breather at one of many tight spots where the trail threads the needle between boulders.

Claim Jumper reaches Secret Sauce just below the upper viewpoint. From here, it's 1.5 miles around the second half of the Secret Sauce loop and back to the trailhead. 

Heading uphill toward the mesa top.

Getting there, Desert Canyons parkway trailhead:
Southbound o