With certain travel restrictions being lifted, we took a much needed day trip to the desert for some mountain biking on Southern Utah's Bearclaw Poppy Trail just outside of St. George, Utah.
Bearclaw Poppy is a single-track that can be ridden in either direction, but the trail is most enjoyable when starting from the Gap Trailhead. This direction allows the rider to begin riding downhill - taking full advantage of the rolling terrain. The trail can be ridden as an out-and-back or riders can take advantage of city streets to make a loop.
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This trail is rated as easy, however, riders should exercise caution due to steep hills named Acid Drops, Clavicle Hill, and the 3 Fingers of Death. Easier routes are marked so bikers can ride around the more challenging sections.
Before the development of the trail system, motorized and non-motorized users were contributing to an astounding proliferation of trails, threatening the existence of the poppy. Now, a large portion of the ACEC is closed to motorized use and all users are restricted to designated roads and trails. Previous users created illegal trails that will take years to rehabilitate. Stay off illegal trails and stay on designated trails to protect this area’s cryptobiotic soils and poppy-loving gypsiferous clay soils - which are extremely soft, and easily damaged.
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You can ride this trail year-round. At an elevation of 2700 feet near the Arizona border, this trail never sees snow. However, during wet weather the clay can become saturated. Never ever ride or hike this trail after rainstorms! You'll damage the trail. And during the winter months, check with a local shop for current conditions.