The Jem Trail is a favorite of mountain bikers of all skill levels and is the centerpiece of the acclaimed Hurricane Cliffs Trail System in Southern Utah. This trail has a little bit of everything; a one-way downhill section, flowing twists and turns and a dramatic finale on the rim of the Virgin River.
With such a variety of terrain, everyone from beginners to advanced riders are sure to enjoy this fast-flowing desert ride. This trail is also open to hiking, however the upper section may not be as enjoyable for hikers as the lower canyon rim section due to fast downhill bike traffic.
The Jem Trail starts at the Upper Jem Trailhead in the Hurricane Cliffs Trail System. To reach the trailhead from Main Street in Hurricane, UT:
- Drive East on UT-59 for 5.0 miles to the signed junction for the Upper Jem Trailhead on the left.
- Turn left onto the dirt road and continue 0.3 miles to the Upper Jem Trailhead.
The Jem Trail can be ridden in a number of ways. The upper section of the trail is open to downhill traffic only, making it ideal for a shuttle or a loop using adjacent trails and 4WD roads to complete the ride. This guide describes the downhill route.
From the parking area, begin riding north on the dirt road toward the gate. Cross the cattle guard and turn right onto the Jem Trail. The first section of the trail is a designated one-way downhill only trail. Keep pedaling as the trail winds through desert, offering a nice warm up for the fast-paced ride ahead. Follow the trail as it crosses the road again and begins descending more rapidly.
Continue riding as several steep hills are encountered, the last of which is very loose and rocky. Most beginners and even some intermediate riders may want to walk their bikes for this short section. After approximately 1.4 miles, the trail reaches the intersection with the Goosebumps Trail and the end of the one-way downhill section.
Continue riding as the trail snakes through an endless series of rolling hills filled with exhilarating twists and turns. Use caution where the trail intersects dirt roads in several places. A few short climbs and some rocky sections provide some variety to the terrain before the trail crosses a wash bottom and begins following along the edge of a cliff. For the next mile and a half, the trail stays generally close to the ledge, eventually leading to a dramatic view of the Virgin River below. Beginners and riders uncomfortable with heights can walk as needed, or use nearby trails and 4WD roads to bypass this final section. After 6.7 miles, the trail ends at the Lower Jem Trailhead.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Clean up after pets.
- Pack out all trash.
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.