Ever since I rode the Toquerville Twister two years ago I have been hooked and wanted to go back. The Twister is an extremely fun and challenging combination of singletrack, hill climbs, drop-downs, tight and technical obstacles, and water crossings. Some exposed areas of the cliffside singletrack aren’t for the faint of heart. It is definitely not a beginner trail, but most intermediate or fairly experienced riders are capable as long as they have confidence. One thing is for sure, this is the kind of riding I live for!
How This Trip Came Together
So this year I made it a priority to go back, but this time I would bring along some more friends to show them what they’ve been missing out on. The trip started out with a few friends, Steve, Brian, and Tyler. Via my blog contact form, I heard from Tom, a rider in Pheonix, that he and his two boys plus some buddies from Flagstaff (Trent and Brandon) were planning on riding the Twister the same weekend as us. I invited them to camp and ride with us and they joined in. Then I asked around on the Dixie Dual Sport Riders group on Facebook about the recent water levels since Utah received some record snow this last winter plus some recent rain. I did get a little feedback and was advised to probably not try the return route (which is 27 water crossings over the La Verkin Creek). I also put out an open invite on there as well and picked up a few more interested riders, John and Eric who were both from St George. The Twister group was growing! Then my buddy Al and his friend Nick made a last minute dash from Vegas to do the ride with us. We now had 14 riders! I was stoked, yet a little nervous. Anytime you get that many riders together, especially when you don’t know them all, you never know what you might be getting yourself into. It could either be an epic time or an epic sh*tshow. lol I was hopeful that everyone was experienced and prepared enough for the ride. Sometimes you just have to put faith into people and go for it. So that’s just what we did!
We arrived Friday night and camped out near Toquerville Springs. The weather was a cool 60-65°F after the sun went down. A fire was lit and some dinner was made.
Saturday: Let’s Ride!
Saturday morning the day trippers (Al & Nick from Vegas plus John & Eric from St George) arrived and we rolled out from camp around 10 AM! We headed through the town of Toquerville looking like a very organized enduro biker gang.
We took a shortcut through the area of Nephi’s Twist. I had no idea what that was at the time but now I do! It’s an insane downhill MTB trail that runs along a very narrow ridge of clay mountain. Look up some of the videos! It’s also a twisty section of winding double track with some flowing hills and one good, rocky hill climb towards the end.
I waited at the top as everyone made their way up just to make sure nobody had any issues. Everyone made it no problem.
We passed through the La Verkin shooting range and over to the Toquerville Twister trailhead/ wash area.
The wash wasn’t too muddy considering it just poured down rain in Utah the day before. We rode out of the wash and up some steps to where the singletrack started.
We climbed several little mesas as we gained elevation up the side of the canyon.
The trail hugs the side of the canyon and winds several times in some tight corners.
A quick break to take in the view and let our heads cool off was in order. The temperature was nice (in the 70’s), but we were all sweating pretty good because of the humidity and the demanding Twister trail conditions.
We had passed another group of riders earlier and their breaks ended up alternating with ours. We’d pass by them and then they’d pass by us when stopped.
These rocky drop-offs and twisty, tight sections are always super fun.
We stopped to cool down again and wait for a couple of our riders in our group to show up but they never did.
So I headed backtracked up the trail until I found them. They weren’t too far back. I came upon everyone standing around, looking winded but with smiles on their faces. I quickly learned that Brandon and Brian both had some issues in that nasty spot! Luckily they were ok and the other group of riders helped them both get their bikes out of the ditch. Yikes! It’s probably also a good thing some locals put those ramps there. They helped break their fall but they are a little bent up now.
We got back to the group relaxing in the shade. Let’s go, guys! lol
After everyone got going again, we hit some of the biggest drop-offs on the trail. You can go very slow off each one, but you risk crashing more than just burping the throttle off of them. There are three in a row and this section reminds me of downhill mountain biking. What a rush!
This is the view from the next hill looking back across the canyon.
Tyler came wheelying up the hill having fun.
The group continued on to the next challenge.
I hung back to grab those photos and then opened it up to catch the group. It was fun ripping across this section of whoops and crisscrossing singletrack options.
I managed to catch up without crashing my brains out! woohoo
This is probably the trickiest part of the ride. It’s a steep climb up a hill with a sharp left-hand turn in the middle with a big drop off on the left side. Tyler always volunteers to spot here just in case someone was to whiskey throttle it or lose their balance.
Tyler was also there to help get a couple of bikes up the hill. Enduro riding is seldom a team effort.
Now that all the tough parts were over with, it was time for some fun. The rest of the Twister was full of tight but flowy singletrack that zigzagged through washes, boulders, and trees. The only challenging part for me was to stay hard on the gas and not get so winded through the few stretches of whoops. It was a reminder I need to get on my mountain bike more often!
After twisting the throttle for a few more miles, we came to the water crossing that would dictate whether or not we would make it to the falls. As I approached, I saw Tyler had already gotten across so that was good, but we had 13 more bikes to get across. Then he was motioning something to the effect that it was about 3 feet deep and to stay on the gas. So I did just that and I made it across without any issues. It was pretty deep though.
The rest of the group didn’t have any issues either. including the group behind us. We waited to make sure they didn’t need any assistance and that we all made it to the falls. Tom’s 300 must have ingested some water because it died when he crossed, but it dried out and eventually restarted.
Both groups arrived at Toquerville Falls unscathed and we were able to easily ride across the top. The water was flowing more than I had ever seen it!
We parked the bikes and Tyler and I changed into shorts & flipflops. Apparently, nobody else got that memo to bring theirs. ha! The water was ice cold though. Neither of us was brave enough to take a dip, but it sure felt good to get our feet wet and get out of that riding gear.
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After cooling off we had a “riders meeting” for the return route. Since the normal route consists of crossing the La Verkin Creek 27 times (literally), there some doubt that we would be able to successfully do it without turning our bikes into submarines. We could always just take Spring Dr (the dirt road that leads to the falls) back to camp but that was too easy. There was a bailout road after a few water crossings so we decided to give the water crossings a try and we could always take the bailout route back if needed.
We got to the first water crossing and it wasn’t too bad. It was long, but not too crazy deep.
We crossed the creek two more times without issue then came to this one. I crossed first and sunk down in a hole so deep my exhaust pipe was under water for a few seconds. My bike sounded like a damn Sea-Doo! The engine died but I managed to quickly restart it. I was hard on the gas and rode it out of the river. Looking back at the group, nobody seemed very ecstatic to attempt this.
Since I was already soaked, I walked the creek looking for a better line. Tyler jumped in and did the same and we found a slightly shallower area in a couple of spots. The crew went for it. One by one everyone passed. There were different methods used. Some took it nice and slow while others wheelied and carried the front tire as far across the water as possible. In the end, everyone crossed the water and continued on.
We crossed one more easy water crossing then came to the turn for the bailout. At the intersection, most of the group agreed we would take it instead of 20 more water crossings. The group decided to split. 10 Riders went back to camp and 4 continued on. Tom, Steve, Michael and I rode back down to the water to conquer the La Verkin Creek.
At this point my GoPro was dead so I don’t have much of the “trail” to show you, however, we didn’t make it very far. We crossed one water crossing and then the trail was nowhere to be found. The left side of the river was a wall and the right side was full of giant boulders. I remembered having trouble finding the line the last time we rode this section. Looking at my GPS, it appeared we should ride right down the river. Unsure this was the way to go, I walked the river checking the depth and for holes or rocks. It wasn’t too bad and not too far down the river the trail picked back up on the lefthand side.
I got back to the 3 remaining riders. Two of them decided we should go back and one could have gone either way. I wanted to go for it! haha Not wanting to split the group up any smaller, I went back with them. My biggest worries were getting water in my crankcase and damaging my bike and any sort of breakdown or issue would have been extremely difficult to handle in that canyon. There are no roads or ways out of there except for the single track and the river.
Although I wanted to keep going, I was also very tired, hungry and ready for some relaxation and a cold beer. We got back to camp not too long after the others and shed our soaking wet gear and got into some dry clothes.
The beers and whiskey were going down well and there were lots of stories and discussion from the fun day of riding. Everyone loved it and we’ll all be back for more. This will likely be an annual spring trip from now on.
The music, drinks, and stories continued into the night. What a great weekend of riding and hanging out with some good guys! Everyone rode really well. Nobody got hurt. And we had zero breakdowns. It was altogether a perfect weekend.