Gooseberry Mesa Trail In Utah

Here is everything you need to know about the Gooseberry Mesa Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Utah
  • Length: 13.5 miles.
  • Type: Mountain biking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Gooseberry Mesa Trail, located in southwestern Utah, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, who left behind evidence of their presence in the form of petroglyphs and ruins. These ancient people thrived in the region from approximately 200 to 1300 AD, utilizing the mesa’s natural resources for sustenance and shelter.

During the 19th century, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area. The Gooseberry Mesa Trail, named after the wild gooseberries that grow abundantly in the region, became an important route for pioneers and early settlers. It provided access to nearby communities and served as a transportation corridor for goods and supplies.

In the early 20th century, the trail gained further significance during the construction of the Virgin River Rim Trail. This trail was built as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program during the Great Depression, aimed at providing employment opportunities and developing recreational infrastructure. The CCC workers constructed trails, bridges, and lookout points, including sections of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail, which became an integral part of the larger trail system.

Today, the Gooseberry Mesa Trail continues to be a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock formations and the vast expanse of the mesa. Its historical significance, coupled with its natural beauty, makes it a cherished location for hikers, mountain bikers, and nature lovers alike, providing a unique opportunity to connect with the past while enjoying the present.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. White Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Gooseberry Mesa Trail. It is located at the end of Gooseberry Mesa Road and offers parking facilities.

2. South Rim Trailhead: This trailhead is located on the southern edge of Gooseberry Mesa and provides access to the South Rim Trail, which is a popular section of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

3. North Rim Trailhead: Situated on the northern side of Gooseberry Mesa, this trailhead offers access to the North Rim Trail, another prominent section of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

4. Windmill Trailhead: Located near the Windmill Campground, this trailhead provides access to the Windmill Trail, which is a connector trail that joins the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

5. Practice Loop Trailhead: This trailhead is situated near the Practice Loop, which is a beginner-friendly loop trail that can be used to warm up before tackling the main Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

6. Hidden Canyon Trailhead: This access point is located near the Hidden Canyon Campground and offers access to the Hidden Canyon Trail, which is a scenic section of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

7. White Trail Connector Trailhead: This trailhead is located along the White Trail and provides access to a connector trail that links the White Trail to other sections of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

8. South Rim Connector Trailhead: Situated along the South Rim Trail, this access point allows hikers to connect to other sections of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

9. North Rim Connector Trailhead: Located along the North Rim Trail, this trailhead offers access to connector trails that join the North Rim Trail with other parts of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

10. Windmill Connector Trailhead: This access point is situated along the Windmill Trail and provides a connection to other sections of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Gooseberry Mesa Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Zion Adventure Company – Outdoor gear rentals and shuttle services for Gooseberry Mesa Trail.
2. Red Rock Shuttle – Shuttle service for hikers and bikers to Gooseberry Mesa Trail.
3. St. George Shuttle – Shuttle service from St. George to Gooseberry Mesa Trail.
4. Zion Rock & Mountain Guides – Shuttle services and guided tours for Gooseberry Mesa Trail.
5. Dixie 4 Wheel Drive – Off-road vehicle rentals for accessing Gooseberry Mesa Trail.


The amenities available at the Gooseberry Mesa Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are no dedicated restrooms at the trailhead or along the trail. However, there may be portable toilets available during peak seasons or events.

2. Parking: There is a designated parking area at the Gooseberry Mesa Trailhead where visitors can park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Camping is allowed at designated campsites near the trailhead. These sites may have basic amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads. However, it is recommended to check with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or local authorities for any specific regulations or restrictions.

4. Picnic Areas: There are no designated picnic areas along the trail. However, visitors can bring their own picnic supplies and enjoy a meal at one of the scenic viewpoints or open areas along the trail.

5. Water: There is no potable water available at the trailhead or along the trail. Visitors are advised to bring their own water or filtration systems.

6. Trail Markers: The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers to help hikers and mountain bikers navigate the trail.

7. Information Kiosk: There is an information kiosk at the trailhead that provides maps, trail information, and safety guidelines.

8. Bike Repair Station: There is a bike repair station at the trailhead equipped with basic tools and a bike stand for minor repairs or adjustments.

9. Trash Receptacles: There are trash receptacles available at the trailhead for visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

10. Dog-Friendly: The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is dog-friendly, allowing leashed dogs on the trail. However, owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and ensuring they do not disturb wildlife or other visitors.

It is always recommended to check with local authorities or the BLM for the most up-to-date information on amenities and regulations before visiting the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Gooseberry Yurts – Cozy yurts for lodging near the trail.
2. Gooseberry Campground – Campground with tent and RV sites near the trail.
3. Gooseberry Mesa B&B – Bed and breakfast offering comfortable accommodations.
4. Gooseberry Grill – Restaurant serving delicious meals with scenic views.
5. Gooseberry Market – Convenient store for snacks and supplies.
6. Gooseberry Medical Clinic – Nearby medical clinic for emergencies.
7. Gooseberry Fire Department – Emergency services for fire-related incidents.
8. Gooseberry Police Station – Local police station for emergencies and safety concerns.

Gooseberry Mesa Trail Difficulty Notes

The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is renowned for its challenging difficulty level, making it a favorite among experienced mountain bikers and hikers seeking a thrilling adventure. With its technical terrain, steep climbs, and rocky descents, this trail demands a high level of skill, endurance, and concentration. Riders and hikers must navigate through narrow singletrack sections, negotiate tight switchbacks, and conquer exposed ledges, all while being rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock cliffs and canyons. While the Gooseberry Mesa Trail may be challenging, it offers a truly exhilarating and rewarding experience for those seeking an adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is known for its stunning scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. Gooseberry Mesa: The trail itself offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the vast expanse of the mesa itself.

2. Zion National Park: Located nearby, Zion National Park offers stunning natural beauty with its towering red cliffs, deep canyons, and diverse wildlife. The trail provides glimpses of the park’s beauty from a distance.

3. Virgin River Rim Trail: This trail runs adjacent to Gooseberry Mesa and offers additional scenic views of the surrounding area, including the Virgin River and its lush riparian habitat.

4. Smithsonian Butte: Located to the west of Gooseberry Mesa, Smithsonian Butte offers a unique geological formation and provides a picturesque backdrop for hikers.

5. Grafton Ghost Town: Just a short distance from the trail, Grafton Ghost Town is a well-preserved historical site that offers a glimpse into the pioneer era of the American West.

6. Smithsonian Butte National Backcountry Byway: This scenic byway runs through the area and provides access to various viewpoints and overlooks, allowing visitors to enjoy the stunning vistas.

7. Wildflowers and Wildlife: The trail is known for its vibrant wildflowers during the spring and summer months. Additionally, hikers may encounter various wildlife species, including deer, rabbits, and a variety of bird species.

8. Rock Formations: The trail passes through unique rock formations, including sandstone cliffs, hoodoos, and natural arches, adding to the scenic beauty of the area.

9. St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site: Located nearby, this museum and paleontological site showcases well-preserved dinosaur tracks and fossils, providing a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric past.

10. Anasazi Petroglyphs: Along the trail, hikers may come across ancient petroglyphs left behind by the Anasazi people, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich Native American history.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be experienced along the Gooseberry Mesa Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is only allowed in designated areas.
3. Campfires are only permitted in designated fire rings or grills.
4. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please pack out all trash.
5. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
6. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
7. Bicycles are allowed on designated trails only.
8. Horses are allowed on designated trails only.
9. Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths.
10. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
11. Do not remove or damage any natural or cultural resources.
12. Respect seasonal closures or restrictions, if any are in place.
13. Follow all posted signs and regulations.
14. Be prepared and self-sufficient. Carry enough water, food, and supplies for your trip.
15. Leave no trace – minimize your impact on the environment and leave the trail as you found it.

Seasonal Information

Gooseberry Mesa Trail, located in southwestern Utah, offers breathtaking views and thrilling outdoor adventures. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the weather is mild, and the desert landscape comes alive with vibrant wildflowers. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Fall is equally stunning, with cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the surrounding foliage, creating a picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts.

It is important to note that Gooseberry Mesa Trail is subject to seasonal closures due to extreme weather conditions. During the scorching summer months, temperatures can soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), making it unsafe for outdoor activities. The trail is typically closed during this time to ensure the safety of visitors. Additionally, winter brings cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, which can make the trail slippery and hazardous. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions before planning your visit.

Despite the seasonal closures, Gooseberry Mesa Trail remains a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. Its unique rock formations, expansive views of Zion National Park, and challenging terrain make it a must-visit for hikers and mountain bikers. Whether you choose to explore the trail in the spring or fall, be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate gear to fully enjoy this remarkable outdoor experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and steep inclines.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, such as accessible parking, ramps, or designated accessible restrooms.
3. Trail Surface: The trail consists of natural surfaces, including rocks, sand, and uneven terrain, which may pose challenges for individuals with mobility impairments.
4. Trail Width: The trail is narrow in some sections, making it difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.
5. Steep Inclines: The trail features steep inclines and declines, which may be challenging for individuals with mobility limitations.
6. Trail Obstacles: There are various natural obstacles along the trail, such as rocks and tree roots, which may impede wheelchair access.
7. Trail Length: The Gooseberry Mesa Trail is approximately 13 miles long, making it a lengthy and physically demanding hike for individuals with mobility impairments.
8. Alternative Accessible Trails: While the Gooseberry Mesa Trail may not be wheelchair accessible, there may be alternative accessible trails in the surrounding area that cater to individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: Gooseberry Mesa Trail is a moderately difficult trail with technical sections and steep drop-offs, requiring intermediate to advanced mountain biking skills.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for extreme temperatures, especially during summer months, and check weather forecasts before heading out.
3. Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked with white paint dots on the slickrock, but it’s recommended to carry a map or GPS device for navigation.
4. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water, as there are no water sources along the trail.
5. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the intense desert sun.
6. Bike Maintenance: Ensure your bike is in good working condition before starting the trail, as there are limited repair options on the mesa.
7. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of encountering wildlife such as snakes, lizards, and birds, and maintain a safe distance.
8. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill traffic, be respectful of other trail users, and follow Leave No Trace principles.
9. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone, and inform someone about your plans before embarking on the trail.
10. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or restrictions before your visit, as occasional closures may occur due to weather or maintenance.

Conservation Notes

The Gooseberry Mesa Trail, located in southwestern Utah, is a popular recreational trail known for its stunning views and challenging terrain. In terms of conservation status, the trail is situated within the larger context of the Gooseberry Mesa Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA). This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is designated to protect and preserve its unique natural and cultural resources.

The conservation status of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail is generally considered to be stable. The BLM has implemented various management strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the area. These strategies include trail maintenance, erosion control measures, and the establishment of designated camping areas to minimize impacts on sensitive habitats. Additionally, the BLM works closely with local user groups and volunteers to promote responsible recreation practices and educate visitors about the importance of conservation.

Efforts have also been made to protect the cultural resources found along the trail. The Gooseberry Mesa area contains numerous archaeological sites, including petroglyphs and ancient dwellings. To safeguard these cultural treasures, the BLM has implemented restrictions on certain activities, such as rock climbing, in specific areas to prevent inadvertent damage.

Overall, the conservation status of the Gooseberry Mesa Trail is actively managed and monitored to ensure the preservation of its natural and cultural resources. Through collaborative efforts between the BLM, user groups, and volunteers, the trail continues to provide a unique recreational experience while minimizing impacts on the surrounding environment.

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