||Candy Mountain Express
(Big Rock Candy Mountain Bike Trail)
The Candy Mountain Express is a paved bike trail in Sevier Canyon, just
south of Richfield. This trail is a great ride for families with young
children. For hard-core cyclists, the Express can be combined with the
paved Sevier Highway bike path for a worthy skinny-tire outing.
Looking uphill as the trail cuts
through an outcrop of volcanic tuff. Photos and review May 12, 2015 by Bruce.
|The Candy Mountain Express trail is 6.75 miles long, but has
only 250 feet of elevation change. The pedaling is a mellow cruise as the
route follows an old railroad grade. From the trailhead on US-89 just
south of Interstate 70, the path descends southbound to the Sevier River,
then climbs at a mellow pace up Sevier Canyon to the Big
Rock Candy Mountain resort.
Looking south (toward Sevier Canyon in
the trailhead parking off US-89.
||Most of the trail's users are local roadie hammerheads. They
take the paved bike path on SR 258 (Sevier Highway, old Highway 89) from
Richfield. It's 17.5 miles from the middle of downtown Richfield to the
trailhead, making the out-and-back 48.5 miles.
Intermediate roadies can catch the path in Elsinore (8 miles south of
Richfield, 9.5 miles from the trailhead), for a 32.5 mile round trip.
For Big-Miles riders: We're on
the paved bike path just south of Elsinore looking southeast. From this
point, it's about 6 miles north of the Candy Mountain Express trailhead.
For a 50-miler, it's not that tough.
|There's a bathroom at the lower trailhead, and another along
the trail around 1/2 mile from the upper end. Lodging, RV camping, gas,
snacks and drinks are available at Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Looking downhill, about 1.5 miles up
||Most older children can manage the up-and-back from the
trailhead parking near I-70. The round trip will be 13.5 miles, so allow a
couple of hours.
For young children, consider a one-way downhill. But there's no trail
parking at the top. The parking at the resort and gas station is for their
customers. If you need to leave a car there, make sure it's OK. Otherwise,
it's drop-off and go, or find a spot away from the resort to stash your
car on a wide shoulder.
Looking east from the trail. Note the
spot where the volcanic tuff meets the underlying layers.
|The lower trailhead is about 1/4 mile south of Interstate 70
Exit 23 on US 89, where old highway 89 (now the Sevier Highway, SR 258)
joins. You'll notice that the Candy Mountain Express is a continuation of
the paved bike path on the east side of SR 258. Catch the trail at the far
end of the parking area.
Cranking along. Even into a strong
wind, uphill, on a mountain bike, it was easy riding.
||Across US-89 from the parking area, you'll notice the road
Indian State Park. A visit there is a worthwhile activity to add to
your bike adventure. But I'd suggest taking the kiddies there by car after
their bike ride, because (1) extra miles, (2) narrow shoulder, and (3) big
RVs and trailers.
At this spot, the old railroad went
through the mountain -- but the bike trail goes around.
|The ride begins with a descent to a bridge over Clear Creek,
then the Sevier River. (If you're going downhill, there's a spot near the
river where you can intercept the kids and load them up if they can't make
it uphill to the trailhead parking.)
Zipping through another railroad cut.
||For the first mile or so, the trail runs right next to the
highway. Then it pulls away into a tree-lined avenue. At mile 2.5, the
road crosses to the west side of the river, while the bike path stays to
As I head uphill, a raft from the
resort heads down the Sevier River.
|The terrain here is very different from the "usual
Utah." The gray rock spires of the mountainside are tuff, created
from volcanic ash and pumice that was ejected from a large volcano nearby.
Spires of tuff meet the skyline. What Hawaii would look like if it were
as dry as Utah.
||Look for spots where the tuff meets the underlying tilted
rock layers. You may also spot old mudflows beneath the ash. Stop to read
the nature and history signs along the trail.
Looking toward the resort.
|Expect to see a few rabbits and squirrels. If you're lucky,
you may spot the local wild turkeys. Deer will be around in the morning
Not as small as he looks. My friend
here is a full five feet long.
||The bathroom at the top is near an old road that connects
across the river to the highway. Note that this large parking-lot-ish area
is private property, and you can't park there.
Just a bit further on, the trail takes a 90 to the right and dips to a
river bridge. Pedal straight past the cabins. The trail joins the road at
the south end of the gas station. Again, note that this is NOT a public
parking area for your car.
Bridge across the Sevier River at the
|Before you head back down, check out the fun stuff and spend
a few bucks at the resort.
They have ice cream.
Note to skinny-tire hammerheads as you turn downhill: the speed
limit on the bike path is 20 mph.
Oh the buzzin' of the bees
in the cigarette trees
The soda water fountain
where the lemonade springs
And the bluebird sings
in that Big Rock Candy Mountain
-- Burl Ives
50-mile. Richfield I-70 exit 40. South on bike lane of old US-89.
32-mile. Elsinore I-70 exit 31. Paved bike path west side of SR 258 (old
Trailhead: I-70 exit 23 to Highway 89. 1/4 mile south of I-70, left to SR
258 and immediately right into parking lot. Start ride southbound.
Castle Rock Campground (south of I-70 near Fremont Indian State Park)
RV camping at resort
KOA in Richfield