Boondocking In Hurricane & Virgin, UT
Mountain biking is why we came here and mountain biking is what we did! The Hurricane/Virgin area is small, but to make up for it (really there’s no need to make up for small because small is great!) there are six different mountain biking trail systems, tons of hiking, and Zion National Park is nearby. Pretty exciting! On top of that, we were meeting up with Road It Up and the V family - and last minute found out that Girouette Mobile was also coming to stay with us. We had a lot of fun with them back in Tucson, AZ where we first met, and we were looking forward to spending more time with them and riding together.
La Verkin Overlook
Jerud and I decided to stay at La Verkin Overlook while waiting for everyone to show up and scout out other potential boondocking sites. (Obviously we didn't read the above linked page before staying at La Verkin Overlook.)
It’s new to us to find a place that will fit additional rigs along with ours – especially when it’s three large motorhomes and their toads. La Verkin Overlook was a beautiful place to stay, great location, good cell signal and it turned out to be big enough for everyone. So we had them meet us there.
On the second day with the whole group, a cop showed up to kick us out. According to the officer, we were camped on a city road and she gave us until the next day to leave. Bummer! Looking at the map, the La Verkin site is right at the corner of a piece of BLM land. It was hard to tell if it was actually on BLM or not.
Despite the fact that La Verkin Overlook isn't a great place to boondock, if you're in the area then you should drive up there to check out the scenery and hike the trail that brings you down into town.
Flying Monkey Mesa
So our next home was the BLM land off Sheep Bridge Rd. This was originally our third choice. Our second choice was Flying Monkey Mesa which led to a full-day road-building fiasco because the V family’s motorhome got stuck, really badly, when they tried to follow us out to the site at the point of the mesa.
This was all no thanks to a loose, narrow section on the road that caused their wheels to slide downhill and a large cement block that kept smashing into the bottom of their rig as the wheels slid downhill. Terrible day. But after a lot of work and worrying, we expanded the width of the road using a ton of rocks and other methods and got their home out. Thank goodness! So Sheep Bridge Rd. ended up being our only option left.
Oh, we also learned from a local how Flying Monkey Mesa got its name: back in the mid-50s Coleman Engineering Company constructed the 12,000 ft. long “supersonic military air research track” to test ejection seat systems. And as you can guess, monkeys were used in the testing. In further googling, I learned that apes were used in only one series of the testing (opposed to all of them as I initially understood it), and a dummy named “Hurricane Sam” was the main object used. The testing that happened here helped standardize ejection systems and create the perfect seat for pilots to use for emergency escape. For more interesting read visit this site and this site.
Flying Monkey Mesa is also home to 1.6 mile trail that the local BLM cautions should be ridden by expert mountain bikers only because it “features narrow tread width, widely variable and unpredictable jumps, unavoidable obstacles, loose rocks and extreme exposure.” I chatted with one of the vendors at the Hurricane Mountain Bike Festival who rode it and said it was the most terrifying trail he’s ever ridden. He said that the trail is so narrow you can’t put a foot down and it’s a 50+ ft. fall on either side. Not my cup of tea. Ever.
Sheep Bridge Rd.
Back to Sheep Bridge Rd…Who knows what the heck Jerud and I were smoking when we put it on the bottom of our short list of good boondocking sites. Because after staying here for almost a month, it’s a pretty damn sweet spot. It has great views of Zion, and though we don’t have a canyon 100 feet from our door like at La Verkin Overlook, we can ride our mountain bikes from our door and do a 20+ mile loop.
We found a large spot right above the Quarry Trailhead that fit all of us and Jennifer’s parents fit when they came to stay with their RV for a few days.
It was here that we celebrated Cat’s birthday, had cocktails, enjoyed potluck dinners, cooked bannock over bonfires, rode bikes, and had an outdoor movie night.
Oh, and it can get really windy in the area.
Later after they all left and we were the only ones around, Meant for Adventure unexpectedly showed up and we got to hang out with them a bit before we packed up and headed to our next destination.
- There are all kinds of boondocking sites that can be found while driving up and down Sheep Bridge Rd.
- There’s a lot of cryptobiotic soil in the area. Please park where other rigs have parked and pay attention to where you walk and drive.
- Check out Falls Park that’s right at the beginning of Sheep Bridge Rd. It’s a small park with an outhouse, picnic tables and fire pits (no overnight camping allowed). It has access to the Virgin River, which Tybee loved. The road is bumpy to get in.
- The Maverick gas station on the corner of Hwy 17 and Hwy 9 has a dump station (with purchase) and free water.
- Right across from this gas station is a Davis grocery store. Purchase $50+ worth of groceries and you get $0.15/gallon off up to 20 gallons of fuel at the Sinclair gas station right in front of the store. Your receipt is needed to get the discount since it will have the coupon code on the bottom. The discount can be used as long as the receipt is legible. If you shop on a Tuesday, your $0.15 discount increase to $0.30.
- There are recycling bins outside Davis Grocery.
- Lupitas Mexican restaurant has $1 Taco Tuesdays and $1 Enchilada Thursdays. The food isn’t great and the service sucks. But the horchata is OK. The only reason to go there for food is if you’re starving and cheap. We were both.
- Hurricane Laundromat is across the street from the Mexican restaurant and is clean and has Wi-Fi. But Wi-Fi throughout the town is very slow, regardless.
- The Mercantile Antiques Gifts & Consignment shop next door is fun to browse while waiting for your laundry if you don’t need WiFi. I found a cool pendant while in there.
- Over the Edge Sports is down the street from all these places and is one of the few great bike shops we’ve been to so far. They will provide you with all the trail intel you need and they are genuinely friendly. Plus, they will provide equally high quality service to female customers who don’t show up with a guy, unlike some bike shops.
- From our boondocking site off Sheep Bridge Rd., we were 17 miles from the main entrance to Zion National Park in Springdale.
- And as always, practice Leave No Trace when boondocking.
- If you venture into St. George, which you most likely will at some point, there is a fairly large discount food store called Traders Discount Markets located at 855 S. Bluff St. Remember, not all expired food is bad food.
- Lovin’ Arms Pet Center in St. George has a self-dog wash for $10 (no matter what your dog weighs). It has a nice, clean, user-friendly set up.