The Bearclaw Poppy mountain bike trail is one of the most acclaimed rides in all of Utah, offering a rewarding experience for riders of all skill levels. Several distinct sections provide a variety of terrain, from the vividly named Fingers of Fate to the Acid Drops to an incredibly fun, fast-flowing downhill-only section to finish the ride.
This trail can be ridden as an out-and-back of about 8.6 miles with a 400 foot climb, or as a downhill 4.3 mile route if you have a car shuttle. This trail is unique in that it provides several alternate routes along the way to accommodate beginner to advanced level riders.
There are two trailheads commonly used to access the Bearclaw Poppy Trail; The Gap Trailhead is located at the top (north) end of the trail and the Bloomington Trailhead is located at the bottom (south) end.
If you have two cars available and plan to ride the one-way version of the trail, drop a car off at the Bloomington Trailhead and then start the ride from The Gap Trailhead. Either trailhead can be used for out-and-back rides.
To reach The Gap Trailhead (37.089121,-113.640974) from I-15 in St. George, Utah:
- Take Exit 5 for Dixie Drive.
- Turn west onto Dixie Drive and continue 2.2 miles.
- Turn left onto Canyon drive and continue 0.7 miles to the end of the paved road.
- Turn right, following the most prominent dirt road ahead as it descends to several large parking areas.
- Continue through the parking areas and up the main dirt road as it climbs the slope ahead. Approximately 1.0 mile from leaving pavement, the road ends at a gate, turn right here into The Gap Trailhead.
To reach The Bloomington Trailhead from I-15 in St. George, Utah:
- Take Exit 4 for Brigham Road.
- Turn east onto Brigham Road.
- At the traffic circle on the east side of the interstate, take the exit south onto Pioneer Road.
- Continue south on Pioneer Road for 0.6 miles to Man O War Road.
- Turn right onto Man O War Road and continue 0.8 miles to Bloomington Drive.
- Turn left onto Bloomington Drive and continue 0.9 miles to Shivwits Drive.
- Turn left onto Shivwits Drive and continue 0.2 miles to Paiute Road.
- Turn right onto Paiute Road and continue 0.2 miles to Navajo Drive.
- Turn left onto Navajo Drive and continue 130 feet to the Bloomington Trailhead on the right.
There are two main route options for the Bearclaw Poppy Trail, depending on which trailhead you start from. This trail guide starts with the downhill route that begins at The Gap Trailhead and ends at the Bloomington Trailhead. Two cars or a shuttle are required for this route, or for the ambitious it can be done as and out-and-back from either trailhead which is also described below.
From The Gap Trailhead, begin riding southeast on the gated dirt road. After one half mile, the road ends at a water tank and here you’ll find the beginning of single track trail. Pass through the gate and start riding downhill. This steep downhill section is called The Fingers of Fate for the awe-inspiring drops that descend the slopes ahead. Near the top, the trail splits so each rider can take the route that best suits their skill level. Take the direction that suits you and enjoy the fast and adventurous ride down. For beginners, follow the green signs and then stay left until the easiest trail takes you to the bottom of the hill.
Continue riding as the trail follows a shallow wash bottom for almost a mile to the start of the next feature, known as The Acid Drops. This section contains a series of steep drops of varying difficulty. There are several options for easier or more difficult routes but some beginners may still opt to get off and walk some sections. Soon the trail splits at a fence with a sign indicating the easier route to the left. This last big drop is known as Clavicle Hill for the part of the body that it has been known to break. If you have the skills and confidence, turn right to give it a go, otherwise turn left for the easier way down.
Approximately 2 miles from The Gap Trailhead, the trail arrives at the bottom of Clavicle Hill and intersects with the lower loop. This section of the trail is one-way only. The uphill trail starts at the Bloomington Trailhead and ends at the base of Clavicle Hill where the downhill trail begins. Start riding on the downhill trail as it winds through a seemingly endless series of dips and curves that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Be sure to stay on designated trails at all times. In the past this area was heavily used without any designated route, leaving countless abandoned trails along the way and endangering the namesake of the trail, the Bearclaw Poppy flower. Staying on the trail gives the Bearclaw Poppy a better chance of making a comeback and ensures future access for recreation.
After 4.3 miles, the trail ends at the Bloomington Trailhead. For riders beginning at the Bloomington Trailhead, follow the route described above in reverse, but by starting with the uphill one-way section of the lower loop and riding to the top of the Fingers of Fate. From Clavicle Hill to The Fingers of Fate, the trail goes back to being a 2-way trail. Turn around whenever you’d like for the high speed ride back down. Or just ride the lower loop for hours of fun and a great workout.
- Clean up after pets.
- Pack out all trash.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Never ride this trail when wet.
Mountain biking can be a dangerous activity. Ensure your equipment is properly maintained and appropriate for the terrain. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear including a helmet.
This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.