Zion Mountain Biking Overview
While mountain biking inside of Zion National Park is prohibited, there is a system of renowned singletrack mountain biking trails just outside of Zion National Park. Same views, same incredible red rock landscape. The park only allows biking on paved roads within the park boundaries, in order to protect the integrity of the hiking trails. But that doesn’t mean a trip to Zion National Park can’t be full of incredible mountain biking adventures!
Why Mountain Biking Zion National Park is Great
The area around Zion National Park has a ton to offer mountain bikers of all levels. Here are some of our favorite things about this classic mountain biking region:
Unbeatable Scenery of Zion Area Mountain Bike Trails
Mountain biking trails in the Greater Zion National Park area are going to take you to some incredibly scenic places. It’s hard to find a trail that doesn’t wind through a kaleidoscope of dramatic red rock cliffs, green oasis, and rushing blue river water. The gorgeous vistas and views are that reason are a major part of why this desert region is so popular for cyclists. Many of the trails we list below look down upon Zion’s gorgeous views.
Room to Breathe
Because most people come to this area to visit the National Park, you are likely to find a lot of space and breathing room on the mountain biking trails in Greater Zion. Mountain bikers certainly treat Zion as a destination, but because there are so many surrounding towns and miles of trail, you’re never going to be riding bumper to bumper – even on the more popular trails.
One of the best things about the abundant trail options when mountain biking around Zion National Park is that you can create all kinds of adventures. With the interconnectedness of trails in Zion, you could easily never ride the same route twice. Plus, all of the destinations are close together so you can easily ride two or more trail systems in one day without spending a lot of time in the car.
Zion Area Mountain Biking is Family Friendly
There are so many trails to try out – from beginner to advanced – that the Zion area is perfect for the whole family. Start off on a beginner trail and work your way up to some of the more challenging trails in the area!
Where to Go Mountain Biking in Zion National Park
There are far too many amazing Zion National Park mountain bike trails to list them all. But if you’re wondering about the best mountain biking near Zion National Park, here are some of our favorites!
This easy, zippy stretch of single track makes for beautiful, fast riding, and is great for beginners. The JEM Trail meanders from the Highway 59 trailhead through sagebrush, with views of the park’s iconic Virgin River. To get to the top of this one-way trail, you have to take the JEM doubletrack on the edge of Gooseberry Mesa or the 5-mile Deadringer Trail. The Highway 59 trailhead can be found just west of the town of Virgin.
Another tried-and-true Zion National Park mountain biking destination is Wire Mesa. This trail is an intermediate trail with spectacular views over Zion National Park. This 6.8 mile loop trail at the top of the mesa is a fun, twisty, somewhat technical trail that has more flow than some of the other mesa trails like Gooseberry and Little Creek.
Gooseberry Mesa Trail
Most mountain bikers won’t travel to Zion National Park without riding the famous Gooseberry Mesa Trail. Ten miles of solid intermediate trail winding through incredible vistas, singletrack twists, and over smooth and inviting slickrock – it’s a mountain bikers dream. The mesa also features a fairly new trail system if you want to veer from the classic route and try some more technical riding.
Gooseberry Mesa is an easy 40 minute drive southwest of Springdale and the entrance to Zion National Park. You’ll drive through the cool little outdoorsy town of Hurricane – stop for a beer or some pre-ride carbs!
When to Go Mountain Biking in Zion National Park
Temperatures for riding in Zion are pretty wonderful most times of the year. In summer, the mid-day temperatures can be scorching, so we recommend riding early in the morning or later in the day.
Snow starts in November and the park gets its heaviest snowfall in December and February. The snow doesn’t stick around long with the sun, so this area is a popular place for riding year round. In March, the hoards descend upon Zion National Park. To ensure quiet trails and no snow, we recommend fall as the best time to mountain bike near Zion National Park. Peak Zion mountain biking season is usually the spring months of April and May and the fall months of September and October.
Getting to Zion National Park
Zion National Park is in a wild, fairly remote part of southern Utah, so the nearest airport is the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from the park. Some people also arrive via Salt Lake City, about a 4.5 hour drive away. There is a lot to see in and around Zion, so many people will come in from these airports and rent a car so they can make the most of their vacation in the region. Other popular recreation spots near Zion include Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Capitol Reef National Park.
Zion National Park Mountain Biking Rentals, Tours & Lessons
Especially for folks new to the sport, Zion mountain bike tours are the way to go. TripOutside offers the best mountain bike rentals near Zion National Park, along with tours and lessons. Our outfitter partners are all four star rated or above, and are some of the most experienced Zion mountain biking guides in the state of Utah. We take the guesswork out of booking your Zion mountain biking trip – all of our outfitters provide top notch service and safety.
Zion National Park Mountain Biking FAQs
Can you mountain bike in Zion National Park?
No, there is no mountain biking inside of Zion National Park. But there are plenty of amazing trail systems and mountain biking routes just outside of the park, even many within a 15 minute drive!
Where can I mountain bike in Zion?
The Greater Zion area is rich with awesome mountain biking trails for bikers of all levels. Some of our favorite mountain bike trails near Zion National Park are Wire Mesa, Gooseberry Mesa, and the JEM trail area.