Southern Adventures: Winter Riding in Southern Utah

During the cold months of winter, a lot of dirt riders in Idaho head to Southern Utah to take a break from the cold and get some riding in. We asked a few of our own who make trips down there every winter a few questions to help others out in deciding if it’s right for them and to gain more information. Jack Yonke, Trent Huntsman, and Richard Rogers weigh in their advice and opinions after getting back from a recent trip to the St. George, Utah area a couple weeks ago.

For someone who’s never ridden down there, what advice do you have for trails and tracks to ride and where to start?

Richard: During the cold months of winter, a lot of dirt riders head to Southern Utah to ride. For someone who’s never ridden down there, what advice do you have for trails and tracks to ride and where to start? It depends on the area you are going to. I generally go to St. George to ride. I also ride a lot of track and freeriding type areas. I really enjoy SGMX and I hear Mesquite’s motocross track is really good as well. I mainly ride there and Sand Hollow. Sand Hollow is a mix of whooped trails, Sand dunes, corner tracks, and freeriding. It is a large area with lots of different riding in it. I have also ridden places like Toquerville that have sandy washes. Moab is a great place to ride. I have been there 4 times now. It has plenty of great riding areas. The mix of slick rock and sandy washes makes for some crazy different riding. I hear Caneville and Swingarm city are really good areas to ride as well that have some serious ridge riding!

Trent: I love going down south to ride during the winter. I have gone down for about a week each winter for the last 7 years. Escaping the cold of home for some throttle therapy in the 60 degree weather is always needed to break up the winter blues. We try to split our time between the track and free riding in the desert. We have found good riding in St George Utah and Mesquite Nevada. In St. George you can do a ton of exploring in the Warner Valley/ Sand Hollow Area and will find everything from Sand dunes to SxS trails that go on forever and will take you into some wild rock gardens to pick lines through. St. George also has the St. George MX Park that has an amazing lay out and great dirt. As for Mesquite, The track there is really cool and has some big jumps. It is always open but if you go down and ride during a groomed weekend practice you will find much better dirt.

Jack: This time of the year is arguably my favorite time of the year, mostly because we get out of the cold and because we don’t get to ride as much lol. The really cool thing about southern Utah is there are so many types of riding, you can essentially do it all. Anything off-road it is an awesome playground. As far as tracks go there are two major tracks in that area that are worth the money. The first being SGMX which is just outside of saint George. They do a weekly prepped practice throughout the whole winter, as long as the weather is nice, and have a decent turn out. They have a schedule posted on their website here http://www.stgeorgemx.com/schedule . The other track option is Mesquite MX, which its name entails the location about an hour and a half away in mesquite. The track is open every day, but it is only prepped on the weekends. Typically, they will have a prepped practice schedule that they will announce either on social media or their website here https://mesquitemx.com/schedule . They both have fantastic layouts and are a blast to ride. St George typically has more ruts and is dug deeper where mesquite has bigger jumps and more elevation change. If you are looking to do some free riding it is everywhere! The best thing to do is to just know someone down there that knows the areas well. From my experience Sand Hollow area is fun. There is quite a bit of wash riding and a few decent sized sand dunes down there. They have some endless hill climbs and whooped out trails that go for quite a while. If you like riding desert, the sand hollow area that’s not considered “sand dunes” would be for you. Pick a wash and see how far it will go and see what you can find. Most of the stuff is open riding and there have been some cool trails that have been made over the years. Another freeride mecca in Southern Utah is called Cainville. Cainville, Utah is in the southern eastern half of the state and is its own type of soil, riding type and landscape. Many people refer to it as riding on the moon as a lot of the area looks very similar to the moon’s surface! This place has some really cool and thrilling ridge rides that can be a little intimidating as a decent amount of the rides are on ridges that are the width of your tires. Lastly is a well known area that most will probably know is Moab. This isn’t normally a dirt bike environment but can be a blast in some parts. There are a few awesome sandy trails to go as fast as you want that are super flowy and fun. Overall you have many options, the best thing to do is to know someone down there that can tell you the weather and conditions to find the ideal weekend and riding zone!

What options are there for lodging assuming you don’t have friends or family down that way?

Richard: Tons of Hotels all over the place but Air bnb (I think that’s how you spell it) usually can get you lined up with a garage for the bikes.

Trent: For places to stay we have found town homes that people own down there that they rent out and then there are several hotels there that you can book in advance and get good pricing.

Jack: The best thing we have found is to get a group of guys to go down together and find a decent air bnb. I’ve done the hotel thing and it works it’s just not super convenient. Most of the places you can stay at air bnb wise will have a garage that you can put things in which makes it very nice to do bike maintenance and come to a place that might feel a little like “home” and a full bed to yourself is really nice too!! If you’re lucky you can find with a hot tub too 😉

 

SGMX Track Jump
Richard getting some air time at SGMX

What kind of weather and temperature should someone plan on?

Richard: Usually between 40-75 depending on what time of the winter you go.

Trent: Typically we go down between the end of January and the beginning of March. During that time frame we have found the temperature to be low to mid 60’s, which is perfect. Warm enough to ride hard and not sweat to death and still be able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt when not out playing.

Jack: That’s really your discretion, I would plan my trip around the weather. Driving lots of hours to get down there to crappy weather can really ruin a trip. Ideally anything above 50 is doable. If you get lucky watch the weather over a couple weeks and sometimes you can time your trips right after rain and anywhere in southern Utah right after rain is Epic!

 

What kind of terrain is most common and best type of tires for it?

Richard: Tons of different types of riding. Free riding, sand dunes, packed whoops, motocross tracks, sandy washes, hill climbs. It kind of depends on the riding you want to do but The Pirelli Extra X is a great set of dirt bike tires for all types of terrain that holds up very well.

Trent: Most of the dirt down there is very soft and loamy and you can find a lot of sand but there are spots with lots of rocks. So you do need to watch out that you don’t chunk your tires or run into problems getting a flat. I mainly use a soft terrain tire set up and then just baby the throttle in the rocks. That dirt down there is great and offers so much traction with the soft tires that can dig in.

Jack: You can get away with any tire. If you are planning on riding mostly sand then I would recommend a loose terrain tire but for the most part a soft terrain or medium terrain tire will suite any situation just fine.

 

What are the best months to ride down there and what weather and temperature should one expect?

Richard:  I like to go in the winter to get my fix for riding. I’ve heard of people riding from November to April. I like to go in November, January and February. Temperature is usually between 40-75 depending on what time of the winter you go.

Trent: Typically we go down between the end of January and the beginning of March. During that time frame we have found the temperature to be low to mid 60’s, which is perfect. Warm enough to ride hard and not sweat to death and still be able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt when not out playing.

Jack: Oct-April! They are not too hot, any of the summer months don’t even think about it. You will not want to ride in 105 I promise (I’ve done it)! I would plan my trip around the weather though. Driving lots of hours to get down there to crappy weather can really ruin a trip. Ideally anything above 50 is doable. If you get lucky watch the weather over a couple weeks and sometimes you can time your trips right after rain and anywhere in southern Utah right after rain is Epic!

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