Exploration page. For internal use only. This page contains information saved for possible future trail designations. It is NOT part of the web site, and is NOT approved for public use. Some trails shown are not authorized routes.

Grafton Mesa Singletrack

Grafton Mesa has some nice non-official singletrack with multiple riding options. Because these are "social trails" the connections will change. Trails may fade away from disuse. Expect to get lost, even with a map. GPS tracks are highly recommended.

This page has information for adventurous off-the-map riders. For the official ride, see the Grafton Mesa page. You can also connect to these trails via Grafton Wash from Gooseberry NE Rim.

Above:  Get onto the rock, work around the cleft (it's possible to roll it if you've got the perfect line, but I had to use a little hop of the back end) then head along the "balance beam." Near the top of the 1st segment, west singletrack. Photos by Bruce on April 1st and 22nd, 2011.

 
West Side Mesa Singletrack


West of the mesa road are three named sections of singletrack. The trail called Show Me The Money starts on the Grafton Wash trail near the Smithsonian Butte road. It connects back to the mesa DT (and the northern trail More Money) after 1.4 miles. In the middle of this trail is a fun 0.8 mile alternate route called Lazy Money. (Lazy Money sends a connector to the mesa road just south of the South Wash trail.)

Much of the upper-mesa singletrack hugs a steep side-slope just below the crest of the mesa. There are smoother spots like this, but plenty of rock-drops and tight spots. We're looking south in the middle of the first section of west-side singletrack.

At the north end of Show Me the Money, about 150 feet before the mesa road, a fainter less-developed ST forks north.  More Money arcs around to the viewpoint at the cliffs (start of the coach road) after 1.6 miles. Most riders combine Show Me the Money with More Money for a single north-south path to the edge of the mesa.

View to the north, early in the second section of the west-side singletrack.

Northbound navigation: Stay on the ridgetop though the first 1/3 mile, ignoring small branching trails. (The trail that heads downhill to the left dips through Grafton Wash to Gooseberry NE Rim.)

The Show Me The Money drops about 200 feet over 1.5 miles. It hugs the west side of Grafton Mesa. On the Tech Meter, it's a few notches up from Gooseberry Mesa. After cruising along the edge of the mesa, the singletrack turns east, drops through a small wash, and joins the mesa road.

Quirky up-and-over. A rockpile on each side of this pinion branch form the ramps.

One spot on Show Me The Money deserves mention: The first time the singletrack reaches DT, the continuing trail is straight ahead. About 100 feet after that crossing, there's a spot where an obvious trail heads downhill. This is Lazy Money. To stay on Show Me The Money turn left and ride along a rock ledge to find the continuing trail northbound on the ridge.

A drop down a sharp rock face on Show Me The Money -- and it's hard to spot the tire traps in the shadows. 

Lazy Money is fairly straightforward rock-and-singletrack riding. The rock challenges weren't particularly hairy. When you reach a trail fork about 0.3 miles into Lazy Money, keep left. The right fork drops down to the mesa road about 1/10th mile south of the South Wash trail.

Riding the fatty in this 2016 photo as I run the length of Lazy Money. 

The second section of west-side singletrack, More Money has some very technical spots. A few of them were way beyond my comfort level. Even good trials riders may first need to scout the lines.

But More Money also has long sections of mellow cruising (interrupted by the really tricky stuff).

Once you reach the cliff viewpoint, the northbound route across the doubletrack will take you on the east-side mesa singletrack for your return trip.

In the middle of a very long section of balance and bike control challenge. I stopped to take this photo after the, oh, 10th time I'd fallen off the rocks.

 
East Side Mesa Singletrack
East of the mesa road are five named sections of trail. From south to north these are South Wash, Dig It, Reach Around, Grafton, and Meanderthon. These form a corridor from the Smithsonian Butte road to the cliffs over the Grafton DH trail.

If you thought navigation on the west side singletrack was tricky, well, the east side is extremely hard. A GPS track is highly recommended. See my multi-track area file.

Looking east on the DH option of the east-side singletrack. We're almost through climbing around the hill. That's Smithsonian Butte on the right.

As with the west-side trails, I'll start south to north. The trails seem to be designed to ride that way. If you're doing a loop, then reverse the trail order, but realize that navigation will be VERY much harder in the north-to-south direction.

The South Wash trail drops from the Smithsonian Butte road through south wash, then back up to the Grafton Mesa road over 1.9 miles, with about 250 vertical feet of climbing coming out of the wash. The eastern entry to the trail is marked by a cairn at the side of the road, 0.4 miles from the Grafton Mesa Road.

Little Snowflake climbs through sandstone slabs on South Wash.

Just 1/10th mile before South Wash ends on the Grafton Mesa road (1.8 miles from the scenic byway road), fork to the right on Dig It. Dig It is a fairly flat cruiser of a trail, losing about 50 feet elevation as it heads 0.8 miles north.

Rock ramp on Dig It, riding north to south. In the south-to-north navigation, you'd be descending this ramp.

Dig It ends on Reach Around. When you hit a broad open sandstone area with a hill straight ahead of you, you're there. Usually there's a tall cairn here. 

Here you make a decision on your riding path. You can veer a bit left going northbound and take Grafton ST over the the hill. Or you can turn 120 degrees to the south (right) and descend the rock ramp on Reach Around to circle the mountain for a less-tricky route.

Looking south on the slickrock area where Dig It meets Reach Around. This spot is a critical navigation landmark.

Grafton ST (to the left) climbs up the hill and becomes a DH challenge. It will rejoin Reach Around after about 3/4 mile and continue as a single trail north. After making your choice, keep to the right at the next two forks, because the left forks take you to the mesa road. (The second left hits the road sorta-across from the spur to the west-side singletrack.)

Rolling over Grafton's amazing slickrock.

Now here's the tricky part! Finding the trails from the mesa road. If you're trying to find this spot from the west-side singletrack connector, go a little bit south on the mesa doubletrack. The first trail, about 50 feet south on your left, is the push-a-bike route uphill on the Grafton ST (western) limb of the trail.

The second trail, about 300 feet south on your left is a flatter option. At the trail fork, left takes you up to the hill while right will send you toward the slickrock ramp where you can select between Reach Around and Dig It. 

Zippy high-speed turn on the DH route.

Northbound on the Grafton Mesa ST option, the trail levels out where the north push-a-bike trail and the lower trail flatter from Dig It combine.) After cresting the hill, you'll begin a swooping tech descent with many jump opportunities. There are ride-arounds for most of the tech challenges.

After 0.6 miles, you'll be joined by the alternate trail, but you probably won't notice. The trails join in a slickrock area, and the cairns are arranged so you don't accidentally enter the alternate trail and go the wrong way.

One of the steeper ramps. The trail enters at the arrow and drops this 60-degree ramp. Near the end of the DH route.

Reach Around (longer, easier eastern) option:  From the northern end of Dig It, turn 120 degrees on the slickrock and descend to the south. The trail will veer east (left) at the bottom of the rock and head toward the edge of South Wash.

(If you're coming from the spur to Show Me The Money and More Money -- the the western singletrack section, turn right and ride about 300 feet south on the DT. Fork L on DT that becomes ST. About 300 feet later, you'll come to a trail fork. On the left, a trail heads uphill to join the DH route on the hill. Go right and follow the cairns through a slickrock area as you generally descend to the east.)

Another little ledge drop.

The trail will turn north and follow the cliffs on the eastern edge of the mesa. This option is moderately technical. It doesn't offer the big jumps of the DH route, but there's plenty of fun stuff.

The Reach Around trail will turn west and enter a slickrock area. It will join the Grafton ST route as it drops off the mountain at mile 0.9 (1.1 from the mesa road if you came from the west side). The Grafton ST trail now continues north. It will cross a small doubletrack.

View into South Wash from the eastern side of Grafton Mesa on the eastern trail option.

As you ride north, there's a hard-to-spot fork 0.6 miles from where the trails rejoin. This is the final section of singletrack, Meanderthon. Here's how you find it: First, miss the fork and arrive at doubletrack heading north. If you don't see a cliff in front of you, you're not there yet. Turn around and ride back on the singletrack exactly 250 feet. Find the trail.

Meanderthon will circle back a bit to the south and east before dumping onto the cliff face at the end of the mesa road in 0.7 miles. More Money is just across the mesa road. Or, drop over the edge on the Grafton DH.

A really fun section. Rock bridge to marshmallow, wheelie across cleft to pillow, turn and catch next rock bridge to slickrock.

Sample ride: Mesa-top Figure 8
This is a very fun option that avoids the steep plunge off the end of the mesa down to Grafton (and the grind back uphill to your car). This ride is 6.8 miles. Assuming you take the flatter (eastern) option when the trail splits, total climbing will be about 500 feet. Consider doing it twice, once on the eastern limb and once using the DH route on the west. (See the map.)
The figure 8 ride starts at the top of the singletrack and heads north. When you hit the mesa road 2 miles later, jog back south about 200 feet and find the continuing singletrack. Stay low and eastbound on the flatter trail option. When you arrive at the viewpoint, find the singletrack across the mesa road, just to the left of an old doubletrack. When you arrive back at the trail fork, continue to the mesa road and ride back on the doubletrack.
Sample ride, shuttled downhill plunge!
0.0   Start as DT  N37 07.569 W113 06.174
0.05 Stay R (L descends into Grafton Wash)
        N37 07.662 W113 06.158
0.2   Cross DT at angle, find continuing ST
        N37 07.828 W113 06.059
0.25 Critical fork, keep L uphill
        N37 07.846 W113 06.043
        (R down = goes to mesa road)
0.4   Trail splits, R = easier   N37 07.972 W113 06.025
0.45 Trails rejoin     N37 07.996 W113 06.029
1.5   ST ends on DT, go R (south) on DT
        N37 08.629 W113 05.700
1.5   330 feet from turn onto DT, fork L
        N37 08.583 W113 05.671
        Keep L at next fork 200 feet

1.6   Fork R downhill (L = up to DT route)
        N37 08.603 W113 05.621
2.6   Rejoins DH route
        N37 08.850 W113 05.500
2.8   Cross DT N37 08.964 W113 05.466
3.2   Fork R (easy to miss) N37 09.284 W113 05.409
        If you hit DT northbound, backtrack 250 ft
4.0  Viewpoint on cliff      N37 09.432 W113 05.319
        ST on L on side of cliff, go steep downhill
5.3   L on DT near wash bottom
        N37 09.456 W113 04.977
5.7   Pass cemetery, arrive Grafton Road
        N37 09.817 W113 04.826

Note: see Grafton Mesa page for coach road description.

Getting there, from Rockville: In La Verkin, turn toward Zion National Park on Highway 9. When you get to Rockville, drive until you're seeing the end of town then turn south (right) on Bridge Road. Cross the Virgin River on the old bridge. Follow the road as it veers right (west). At the fork in the road 1.5 miles later, turn left and park near the wash. Start riding south uphill on the Smithsonian Butte Scenic Byway (may or may not have a sign). If you're shuttling to the top, it's the last doubletrack (on your right) before the top of the mountain, 4.4 miles up, just after the road has turned south again. N37 07.683 W113 06.131.
Parking areas: Just to the northeast of the intersection of the mesa road with the Smithsonian Butte road, plus right along the trail on the next doubletrack.

Camping: Primitive along ridge
Parking, trail kiosks, etc: None. These are not official trails.
Water: none
Bathrooms: none
Bike services: Hurricane, Springdale

Getting there, from Gooseberry: From the spot where the Gooseberry road leaves the Scenic Byway, proceed north 1/2 mile. Just after you start more steeply downhill, watch for the first doubletrack on your left.
Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
     GPX all area trails  Courses:  Figure-8   Loop    DH
Topo map for printing:   Grafton Mesa   Grafton/Wire Mesa area topo
Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

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Updated 2011