View to the west from the upper mesa on Secret Sauce. Photos and ride description by Bruce on May 31, 2018.
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.
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.
Immediately after the stepover gate, the 2/3-mile connector to
forks away on your left. Keep straight for Secret Sauce or Claim
Trailhead for both loops, looking north. Not the same trailhead as for Pushing Tin.
Rolling a turn while climbing 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. The terrain is wide-open,
with views in every direction. There are no trees; just a bit of low brush among the rocks.
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.
Looking south toward the Desert Canyons development as we climb counterclockwise.
The first trail fork is just a few feet north of the step-over gate. The trail on the left
goes 0.7 miles to
Both Secret Sauce and Claim Jumper are straight ahead. A bit less than 1/10th mile from the
trailhead, the Claim Jumper trail is on your right. Keep straight for the Secret Sauce lariat
The next trail fork is the Secret Sauce loop itself, coming at mile 0.4 from the trailhead.
The riding direction for the loop is 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
Leaving the viewpoint.
There's a viewpoint at the top with 360 degree desert views. To the north is the St. George
airport. Escarpments and cliffs line up across the valley. The Pine Valley Mountains form the
skyline behind the airport.
The trail now begins a steady and gentle winding descent back to the loop trail fork. Make
another loop, or head uphill to Claim Jumper, or keep straight to finish up.
Looking northeast as we ride on the shoulder between mesa and wash.
Claim Jumper is 2.9 miles long. On the downhill (southern) side, if forks off the stem of Secret
Sauce (at 1/10th mile from the trailhead). Uphill, it forks away from the eastern side of the
Secret Sauce loop near its highest elevation. 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.
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, swooping
dips, and quick turns.
On a clockwise ride, we're at one of many tight spots where the trail threads the needle between boulders.
Heading uphill toward the mesa top on a counterclockwise ride.
For a counterclockwise ride, using Claim Jumper as the uphill, 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 a gradual winding climb uphill to the mesa.
At the highest point of Claim Jumper, there's a fork with a short spur to a viewpoint. It's
on the right as you ride counterclockwise; on the left if you climbed Secret Sauce to reach
Claim Jumper. In 2018, there's a bench at the viewpoint.
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.
Descending Claim Jumper on a clockwise ride.
As Claim Jumper traverses the hillside above Ft. Pierce Wash, there's a stretch of rolling twisting trail that's lots of fun.
Claim Jumper makes a fun descending route on a clockwise ride. After climbing Secret Sauce,
fork to the right as you reach Claim Jumper. Make a quick visit to the viewpoint, then fly
downhill. Once you reach the shoulder of the hill, the trail gets interesting. Lots of humps,
dips, and twists.
Desert Bluff TH Connector
The Desert Bluff Connector runs 0.6 miles from the southern (downhill) side of Claim Jumper
to pass under Highway 7 at Fort Pierce wash. It then follows a road 0.4 miles where there are
several 3- and 4-car parking spots.
Looking toward the homes and Highway 7 as Desert Bluff leaves Claim Jumper.
Riding through mesquite on Desert Bluff. Claim Jumper lies right at the edge of the hill ahead.
The Desert Bluff trail is very flat and very easy. There are a couple of bridges across small
washes, but at this time, you'll need to pedal through Fort Pierce Wash, which will be quite
wet after a rain.
Aerial map of Desert Canyons
Getting there, Secret Sauce trailhead:
Southbound on I-15, take the Southern Parkway (Utah Highway 7) about a
mile from the Arizona border. Keep left on the exit off-ramp to pass under
I-15. Drive around 6 miles to the Desert Canyons Parkway exit. Turn left
on Desert Canyons Parkway, pass under the Southern Parkway and drive
1/10th mile north to a trailhead on your right.Meditation Rock:
The Meditation Rock trailhead for Pushing Tin is on the opposite side
of Southern Parkway (see map and directions on our Pushing
page). Or you can take the connector trail from the Desert Canyons
trailhead. It forks to the left about 50 feet from the trailhead.Desert Bluff:
Multiple small parking spots, reached by going
south then east on Desert Canyons Parkway.