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
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.
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
||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.
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
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:|