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TRAIL HAPPENINGS June 2013

The 7-Up Mountain Bike Trail, Just as Fun Riding Down
Article by David Olsen
Photos by David Olsen and Scott Escott

7Up Mountain Bike Trail - MoabThe 7-Up Trail System was created as a northeast-direction ride, connecting to Highway 313 and located in the Upper Seven Mile Canyon area (hence its name, 7-Up). This trail is a little over nine miles long and has gains almost 1,000 feet in elevation, from 4,800 to 5,750 feet above sea level. Although much of the trail is on a seldom-used dirt road, in most places it sure feels, looks, and rides like a singletrack trail. To ride 7-Up, it takes about an hour going uphill (where you’ll work up a sweat) and about half that going down, depending on how fast you like to go. To stay on course, follow the bike-tire tracks or the painted baby-blue dashes on the slickrock. The ride has some technical sections and offers even greater thrills going downhill from the Magnificent 7 Trailhead to the SR 313 switchbacks.

The scenery along Seven Mile Canyon is outstanding. Monitor and Merrimac Buttes and Big Mesa, also called Lone Mesa, are usually in view. The rock formations make you feel like you could be in a western movie, except you’d be ridin’ a bike. The most spectacular portion of the 7-Up Trail is the one-mile singletrack stretch that overlooks upper Seven Mile Canyon.

But spectacular trails and overlooks require local efforts. Several years ago, trail enthusiasts had a vision of a 100-mile mountain-bike ride from Moab and back in areas north of town. The ride would include the Moab Canyon Path and some trails, including Bar M (MOAB Brands), Sovereign, Klondike Bluffs, Monitor and Merrimac, and proposed Gemini Bridges-area trails (now called Magnificent 7, or Mag 7 for short). The original concept of seven trails up from Moab quickly doubled to approximately 14 trails, with Mag 7 being the downhill route back to town via the Gemini Bridge Road or the Portal Trail.

7-Up is a cross-country trail that will connect to proposed future trails in the area (Navajo Rocks and Area 313/7-Up Extensions). Many bikers use the 7-Up Trail in combination with the Bull Run segment of the Mag 7, then Great Escape, Little Canyon, and back on Arth’s Corner and Getaway, and then downhill on the 7-Up. If you like cross-country riding, purchase a couple of the inexpensive MTA Trail Maps of the Magnificent 7 Mountain Biking Area at any local bike shop, and let imagination be your guide. If you are planning an extensive ride, take plenty of water and food.

Looking for a really long, epic ride? Start biking from Moab, ride the Moab Canyon paved path that parallels Highway 191 north, and turn onto Highway 313 (turnoff road to Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands) to reach the top of the switchbacks (approximately 14 miles from Moab). Look for the unmarked trail head of the 7-Up Trail across the highway from the 40 MPH sign. If you start riding the 7-Up Trail at the switchback, you will ride uphill for most of the route.

7Up Trail MapNot ready for the long ride from Moab? Drive your car to the two trail heads via Highways 191 and 313. Park a shuttle car near the switchbacks, and then drive on up 313 to the Gemini Bridges Road turnoff. Drive 1.5 miles on the Gemini Road to reach the Mag 7/7-Up Trail Head, or you can book with a shuttle company if you only want to ride downhill. See the map for several parking ideas. Please do not park on the slickrock at the switchbacks, as this is a protected “scenic view shed,” or along the outside of the switchback turns, as this is a bike lane and a dangerous spot. Parking along the inside of the upper switchback (inside of the delineators and below the switchback) or at the Monitor and Merrimac View Point just a little up the highway is recommended.

David Olsen serves as the Moab City Community Development Director and the Grand County Trail Mix Committee Vice Chair. David led efforts to get the 7-Up Trail approved and is an avid cyclist and trail runner.




 
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