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Jem near Zion. Best Mountain Bike Ride in the Country?

A super flowy, gorgeous, fun mountain bike ride with expansive view of Zion National Park.

This comes in number two on my list of best mountain bike trails ever. Better than Gooseberry Mesa. Better than the Downieville Downhill. Better than Huff and Puff. Better than Petersen Ridge. Better than Porcupine Ridge. Not quite better than The Thunder Mountain Trail outside of Bryce but Thunder Mountain has a big uphill that many don’t enjoy.

Plus, this ride has a nearby bike rental shop – ride right from the Red Coyote shop!

The only problem for a family trip is that if you do the “normal” ride and start at the Virgin River trailhead just off Sheep’s Bridge Road near highway 9, then the starting section is basically on a ledge above the Virgin River cliffs. There are some short sections that if you fall, you die. You or your kids probably won’t. But if you do…

You can easily see the trail above the cliffs. Easy riding but still.

Luckily you can still do the ride without riding this section. Just drive out Sheep’s Bridge road until it intersects the trail. Then ride up the trail and do that half, then do the lower half. Not as smooth as starting from bottom, but safer. Or you can drive around to the top trailhead on highway 59, but I would rather end on a downhill rather than an uphill. It does add some logistics to renting bikes, but that bike shop also rents bike racks and pads.

Note, going up you’ll hit a dead-end where the Jem trail ahead of you is one-way only (down). Go right here up Dead Ringer. It is steep and loose in parts (might have to help your kids walk their bikes) but the downhill on Jem is super fun and only rated intermediate. One of the steepest intermediates I’ve ever done.

You can see Betsy top left at one of the dangerous sections
Smooth and easy, but steep. You can also ride around this if you wish.

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