The towns of St. George, Washington, Hurricane, Virgin, and La Verkin are all situated in a relatively small area in the very southwest corner of Utah. We’ve been to this area before and as far as the towns go, it’s not high my list of favorite places. St. Geroge, in particular, seems to consist solely of identical “southwest style” housing developments shoehorned in among masses of big box stores and strip malls broken up only by the occasional bright green golf course. In other words, it has the feel of one giant retirement community. The other towns are smaller and have a bit more character, but as the St. George sprawl extends farther and farther out, I can’t help but think they too will be taken over by the same fate.
My personal distaste aside, this area does have a few things going for it. First is the surrounding scenery — dramatic flat-topped mesas and jagged rocky mountains are the saving grace for this otherwise generic corner of Utah. There’s also a few nice state parks, tons of top-notch biking trails, and of course, that little known (ha!) place called Zion National Park only a short drive away.
We spent a few weeks in this area back in 2014 splitting our time between the lovely Sand Hollow State Park and a fantastic boondocking area on Sheep Bridge Road in Hurricane. The last spot was to be our destination this time around. Some blog readers reported that the exact spot we stayed at last time is now fenced off and marked “No Trespassing” so it was no surprise when we spotted this when driving past.
Not a big deal as Sheep Bridge Road has dozens of other spots and we already had our eye on one in particular that we scouted out the last time. Fortunately, our coveted spot was empty upon arrival and we happily set up camp for two weeks of glorious skies, tons of bike rides, happy hours with friends, and a family visit. Oh, and we did a lot of driving back and forth to town to visit those ugly box stores. As much as I complain about them, I suppose I’m part of the problem because after nearly two months traveling through small towns, a bit of shopping was in order.
After a much needed long stretch with very little social interaction, we were both ready to branch out from the exclusive company of each other and were happy to be joined by our friends Jill & Logan along with Jeanette & Eric.
We also discovered that fellow Airstreamer’s Drea & Seth were in the area and when brand new full-timers Michele & Mark showed up we had a party in the making! A few happy hour gatherings ensued.
About a week and a half into our stay my mom & stepdad showed up with their RV. It was a tight fit, but we squeezed them in next to us for a couple nights. A few days later my brother flew in to Vegas for a short visit. Of course, another happy hour was in order.
In between all that social time we hit the trails for a LOT of biking. The Jem trail network ran right past our boondocking spot making it super easy to hop on and ride most afternoons.
There are more trails in the area (Gooseberry, Guacamole, etc.) but we checked those out last time and found them a bit too advanced. The trails on Sheep Bridge are rated in the easy to moderate range which is far more enjoyable for me. Over the course of our stay, I think we rode them all at least once. Individually, they trails here are short, but since they all intersect it’s really easy to complete a 10-15 mile loop. Also, with the sun setting a little after 5 pm and Tim finishing work between 3-3:30, not having to drive to a trail is essential for us to have outside fun this time of year.
In between all that biking, we did manage to fit in one single hike. I will always love hiking more than biking, but when your house is parked in the middle of a network of biking trails you go with it! Our single hike took place in the Kolab Canyon section of Zion NP. With an upcoming reservation at the Watchman Campground in the main canyon of the park, we didn’t bother to make the drive during our two-week stay, instead deciding to hike in the less busy separate area off to the west.
During our last visit, we drove over to Kolab and hiked up Taylor Canyon. This time we tackled the Kolab Arch trail. At 14 miles round trip with lots of soft sand, this was a challenge for the legs and feet. To make things even more fun, the trail travels down in elevation to the arch and then back up to the trailhead. Which means you are climbing uphill near the end when your legs are at their most tired. We brought our friend Michele along for the hike. Time will tell if she ever goes hiking with us again :)
And that wraps up our time in Hurricane…for now. We have Thanksgiving week reserved in the park and then we’ll be back in the area for another two weeks before putting the Airstream in storage and flying out on a three-week adventure. Fun times ahead!