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Holman Canyon Trail

Holman Canyon, at the top of Payson Canyon, is a beautiful forested area with some great views. Altitude is 8400 feet. Holman offers two ride possibilities, both reserved for the stronger, more confident rider.

Note Sept 2015:  Received word that the Holman trail is overgrown and eroded. (It was already a rough, brushy and narrow trail when I rode it in 2002.) You might want to check conditions with a Payson bike shop before committing to this ride.

View back down Holman Canyon, near the top of the Holman Trail. Photos by Bruce, September 30, 2002.

One type of ride in Holman is a loop ride, following the Blackhawk Trail from the Nebo Loop down into Holman Canyon, then back up (crossing the road) and looping around the frontside by Lizard Lake. This ride is 8 miles, and involves some pretty tough climbing, including an 800-vertical grunt over 1.5 miles.

A second option is a downhill flight from the top of the Nebo Loop road via the Blackhawk Trail. Reconnecting to the road is done at Trail 107 (6 miles downhill) or via Black Canyon (10 miles, one-way).

Either ride will feature narrow singletrack with a few slightly hairy spots. Expect some loose steeps, encroaching brush, and some navigation challenges. (The GPS file may keep you from getting lost on cow-trails.) Holman is one of the rougher rides in Payson Canyon.

The Nebo Loop area is famed for its varied forest and fantastic views. In the fall, the flaming leaves bring gawkers from around the state.

Much of the trail is pretty buff, but quite narrow. The trail winds through groves of aspen and maple, with some stands of fir. There are some steep parts, and a few tricky spots.

You won't see a lot of other bikers on this trail. The Payson Canyon area trails are largely unknown, and are used mostly by horses. This is one of the most remote. If you're riding solo in Holman Canyon and mess yourself up, don't expect anyone to pick up your bones before the coyotes are finished with them.

Dropping into Holman Canyon from the Blackhawk Trail, we see Mount Nebo peaking up above the skyline.

Riding notes, Holman-to-Lizard Loop:
0.0   Start down the DT, R on ST
        N 39 53.824' W 111 39.324'
0.6   Trail takes a hard R; don't follow faint fork L
        N 39 53.458' W 111 39.513'
2.2   In meadow, fork R uphill
        N 39 53.443' W 111 40.595'
        Pass old steam engine
2.4   Caution! trail forks R - don't follow creekbed!
3.8   Top of ridge after difficult climb
        N 39 54.070' W 111 40.743'
        Cross road to Lizard Lake Trail
4.8   Fork R on Rock Springs Trail
5.1   Keep R (L = Schram Creek Trail)
6.0   Fork R at Tie Fork (Frank Young Canyon)
7.7   Road, left over cattle guard, then to car! 

Here Jackie plays on the old steam boiler. I'm guessing it powered a sawmill.


On the Rock Springs side of the loop, cattle graze.
Downhill notes (still working on this one!):
0.0   Start down the DT, R on ST
        N 39 53.824' W 111 39.324'
0.6   Trail takes a hard R; don't follow faint fork L
        N 39 53.458' W 111 39.513'
2.2   In meadow, keep straight at fork (R=uphill)
        N 39 53.443' W 111 40.743'
        (Go visit the steam engine uphill if you want)
Approx mile 6, trail forks
        N 39 51.62' W 111 40.69'
        R 0.5 to Loop road N 39 51.95' W 111 41.10'
        L to continue down
Approx mile 9, fork R up Black Canyon
        N 39 50.64' W 111 40.70'
        2.5 mi to Loop Rd N 39 50.57' W 111 43.144'
        (L = to Nebo Creek Road)
More information will be coming on the downhill routes.  So many trails, so little time...

This is Lizard Lake. Actually, it's a pond. And, in this photo from late October 1999, it's dry.

Getting there:  Going south, take the Payson exit 250 from I-15 and turn left. Head into Payson on U-115 to the traffic light, then turn left (100 North, U-198). About 1/3 mile later, at the top of a small hill, turn right at 600 East. Set your odometer now! Keep going up Payson Canyon. At mile 14, keep straight past the fork to Blackhawk Campground. About two miles later, watch for a pullout on your left, just before a cattleguard. The doubletrack heading south (perpendicular to the road) is the beginning of the trail. GPS N 39 53.860' W 111 39.324'. (The return trail from the loop is on the right side of the road, just past the cattleguard.)
Riding resources:
Printable, one-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin      GPX
High-res topo map for printing (1 MB):   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to area resources

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc