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7-Up

This mountain biking route is in the Gemini Bridges area about 10 miles north of Moab. The 7-Up Trail is a combination of singletrack (ST) and doubletrack (DT) extending 10.1 miles from Highway 313 to the Bull Run trailhead just off the Gemini Bridges Road. The trail is new in fall 2012.

Looking east from the top of Seven Mile Canyon near the top of 7-Up. Photos and ride description by Bruce on September 27, 2012.

The trail can be used as a climbing route to the top of the Magnificent 7 trail system. This will be a big ride, reserved for stronger riders. After climbing 7-Up, descend via any combination of the downhill trails to the bottom of Little Canyon, then exit via the Gemini Bridges Road to complete a loop. Depending on your choice of trails, this will be 30 to 35 miles.

Starting a 32-mile ride on Highway 313. Nice wide bike lane, beautiful scenery. The 4 pavement miles will go by quickly.

It's also possible to climb 7-Up then do the entire Mag 7 (including the climb up Gold Bar and the long traverse on Golden Spike). The ride would end by closing the loop on pavement. This is a huge ride (circa 50 miles with brutal amounts of climbing) requiring lots of time, water, calories, and thigh. (So far, I haven't been man enough to do it.)

As you climb up between the hairpin turns, you'll bet the first views of Monitor and Merrimac buttes to the north. You'll be seeing them many times from the top of the hill.

Most riders are shuttling to the top of the Mag 7 then descending 7-Up. In fact, the trail signs containing maps all aim uphill. So maybe it should have been named 7-Down.

Here's the start of the trail as we drop off 313 to this slickrock pad. Pedal straight ahead and you'll pick up the blue trail markings at the far side of the rock.

The starting altitude is 4900 feet; top height is 5800. Because of up-and-down riding, total climbing for the ten miles of dirt will be 1400 vertical feet. Highway 313 turns off of 191 at an altitude of 4500 feet. The full uphill route from 191 to the Bull Run Trailhead will be 14.2 miles (4.1 on pavement) with 1800 feet of climbing.

The trail rapidly approaches the side of Seven Mile Canyon to your left. We're looking back downhill.

Once you've found it, the trail is very well marked. There are carsonite posts at every trail fork, and the route is painted with blue stripes on the rock. At the top, you'll find the trail on the left side of the small parking area of the Bull Run trailhead on the Gemini Bridges Road.

The first few miles of trail are doubletrack, but don't feel like "jeep road." It feels like bike trail.

For those who plan to climb the trail, it's a bit harder to find. It turns off Highway 313 just at the end of the second hairpin turn (you'll know the turn when you see it). It's just after the road climbs steeply through a cut in the rock cliff and about 1/4 mile before the Monitor and Merrimac viewpoint turnoff. There were no signs or markers of any kind as the trail leaves the south side of the road (left if pedaling uphill) .

At first, the trail follows ledges in the Kayenta sandstone below Navajo outcrops.

When climbing 7-Up, I suggest you start from Highway 191 and include the 4 miles of Highway 313. Park in the large gravel area at the fork of 313 off 191. Do NOT park along the road where the trail starts! The broad paved shoulder of 313 (to the side of the solid white line) is a BIKE LANE, not a parking strip. (May a roadie pee on your car if you park there.) Also please reserve the parking in the view area (just uphill) for those who are visiting. There's room to park downhill from the trail along the cliff between the hairpin turns (right side of the road as you're heading uphill), but again, make sure you aren't blocking the bike lane.

Trail fork! Follow the blue onto singletrack.

So let's assume you started from 191. At mile 4.1, just as the road begins to straight out from the second hairpin turn, you'll spot a flattish slickrock area on the left side of the road. Pedal over to the left side of the road at the spot where the rock seems to come closest to the pavement. Look for the tire tracks of downhillers as they've left the rock to join the road. Drop onto the open rock. Pedal straight west on faith for about 200 feet, and you'll begin to see a few cairns and some blue spots on the rock up ahead. Now you've found the trail.

Descending on singletrack. Not as hard as it looks. Smooth rolling, really. Up-and-down riding adds about 50% to your climbing total.

At mile 6.9 (mile 2.8 from 313), fork R as your route hits a DT at 90 degrees.

At 8.2, you'll notice white stripes alongside the blue. A bit later, these routes split. Follow the blue stripes down the rock. (The white striped route rejoins later -- and looks easy -- but hits some soul-sucking sand. Don't go there.) You're now on your first ST section of 0.6 miles.

Fun stuff as we head southwest, slowly climbing.

At mile 8.8, the trail drops back onto the DT. Keep straight and uphill.

A bit later, you'll note another white-blue trail fork. The white-paint route (hard right) is DT that extends north a mile back to 313 and the Navajo Rocks trailhead. Bail out here if you need to. Otherwise, straight ahead to the blue stripes. You've now done half of the dirt and rock.

Once the trail turns more southward, the climbing gets more sustained. But it's still a gradual uphill -- no grunts.

At mile 10.6, there's another DT fork. Follow the sign and fork left. Then just 1/4 mile later, head right onto ST. This will be a short (1/2 mile) but fun section that rejoins the DT downhill.

Approaching picturesque cliffs around the mid portion of the 10 dirt miles.

At mile 11.3, turn right on the DT. Climb again and enjoy the views. There are cliffs to the right and views across Seven Mile Canyon to Monitor and Merrimac on your left.

At mile 12.2, you've reached a critical DT fork. Straight ahead is a DT shortcut that connects directly to Getaway. Use this option for a shorter boring ride. Instead, turn 90 degrees right.

Nice stuff.

At mile 12.4, the trail veers left to ST. No more DT for the next 1.8 miles.

This is the best section of the trail. Soon you'll be along the cliffs of a fork of Seven Mile Canyon.

Looking to the left across Seven Mile Canyon as we get above Monitor and Merrimac. These buttes are Entrada sandstone.

Cliffs in the Entrada sandstone drop off on the left side of the trail. The riding gets a bit more technical, but never too tricky.

After heading around the top of the canyon, you'll follow the opposite side for a while before turning toward the Gemini Bridges Road.

Back onto a short but fun section of singletrack.

The trail crosses the Gemini Bridges Road at mile 14.1. (Option:  At mile 14, you can fork downhill on Getaway as your descending route.) Go straight across to ST.

Continue another 1/10 mile to the Bull Run trailhead. To your right is the connection from parking to the Gemini Bridges Road. Straight ahead is the Bull Run trail.

This is the shortcut to Getaway. If you take the shortcut, it's a mile of DT, then Getaway will fork off on your left. (This cuts off the most-fun two miles of riding!)

Here are your options now:
(1) Bail. Climb up the road to 313, then coast back on pavement.
(2) Retrace. Descend 7-Up.
(3) Bull Run. Descend for a loop ride (see below).
(4) Getaway. Alternate to the Mag 7. Crosses 7-up just before it hits the the Gemini Bridges Road.
(5) Gemini Bridges Road downhill. Another version of Bail.

On the final two miles of singletrack, we're riding along the south fork of Seven Mile Canyon, as Entrada sandstone drops to the canyon floor.

Here are your two loop options (see by-mile descriptions detailed below). Total climbing will be about 2500 by either route. It's not all downhill from here. Just when you're totally trashed, out of water and calories, you'll have to climb up and over the Moenkopi skirts of the cliffs at the end of the Gemini Bridges Road.

The trail flirts with the cliff edge occasionally, but there's nothing hairy.

The Mag 7 route is 30 miles. As you finish 7-Up, cross the parking to Bull Run. Descend all of Bull Run. Turn downhill on Gemini Bridges Road. Take a hike to the Bridges. A bit downhill, turn left onto Arth's Corner singletrack. Follow Arth's to Little Canyon singletrack. Keep going downhill to the Gold Bar 4x4 road and drop downhill. Turn right on Gemini Bridges and pedal out to the paved trail along 191 to close the loop.

The trail is a mix of open rock and dirt. There are a few squishy spots that still need to be packed down (fall 2012).

The Getaway route uses the alternate trails. Instead of going to the Bull Run trailhead, turn downhill on Getaway when it crosses 7-up. Descend about 6 fun miles on the Getaway singletrack. Connect from Getaway directly across the road to Great Escape. At the bottom of Great Escape, turn right on Little Canyon ST, then connect to Gemini Bridges road via Gold Bar as above. This version is 31.5 miles.

Final viewpoint before turning away toward Bull Run.

Bottom Line:
This trail is worth doing as a climbing route. But if you're just out for a bit of peddling fun, there are better (singletrack) rides in the area. 7-up has very nice and almost constant views. I recommend the loop rides, but only for very strong intermediate to advanced riders. I don't know why you'd want to do 7-Up as a shuttled downhill, because the Mag 7 trails are so much more fun.

See the Getaway page for more information about the loop ride.

A view on Great Escape looking toward the La Sals, as we hit mile 22 of the alternate loop.

Detailed notes, climbing 7-Up
0.0    From 191, west on Highway 313
         N38 40.347 W109 41.220
4.1    At 2nd hairpin turn, as road straightens
         L off paved road N38 38.682 W109 43.787
         Cross slickrock to DT (7-Up)
6.9    Turn R N38 37.498 W109 45.221
8.2    L down ST (blue markings)
         R = sandy DT that rejoins
8.8    Rejoin DT, keep straight
         N38 37.421 W109 46.824
9.1    Keep straight (R = 1 mile to 313)
         N38 37.199 W109 47.048
10.6  Fork L N38 36.286 W109 47.173
10.9  R on ST N38 36.132 W109 47.179
11.1  Keep L (R = Whirlwind)
         N38 36.020 W109 47.225
11.3  Rejoin DT, fork R
         N38 36.072 W109 47.064
11.6  Keep L (R = Hildalgo)
         N38 35.925 W109 46.781
12.0  Newer 7-Up ST on R
         N38 35.863 W109 46.399
         Rejoins N38 35.640 W109 46.489
12.2  Turn R (straight = DT shortcut)
         N38 35.838 W109 46.342
12.4  L on ST N38 35.662 W109 46.484
14.1  Cross Getaway N38 35.014 W109 46.665
         Cross Gemini Road N38 35.002 W109 46.651
14.2  Bull Run TH N38 34.924 W109 46.583
Riding notes  7-Up Getaway-Great Escape Loop
0.0    From 191, west on Highway 313
         N38 40.347 W109 41.220
4.1    L off paved road onto slickrock
         N38 38.682 W109 43.787
         7-Up, follow blue markings
8.2    L down ST (blue markings)
         R = sandy DT that rejoins
9.1    Keep straight (R = 1 mile to 313)
         N38 37.199 W109 47.048
12.2  Turn R (straight = DT shortcut)
         N38 35.838 W109 46.342
14.1  L on Getaway N38 35.014 W109 46.665
20.7  L to join Arth's N38 35.267 W109 42.212
         100 ft, cross road to Great Escape
24.2  R on Little Canyon ST
         N38 35.652 W109 40.550
25     Hard L downhill on Gold Bar Rim Road
         N38 35.885 W109 40.138
25.6  R on Gemini Bridges Road
         N38 36.018 W109 40.438
29.4  Cross RR tracks, L on paved trail
         N38 39.372 W109 40.635
31.5  Cross road to parking
Riding notes  7-Up Bull Run-Arth's Loop
0.0    From 191, west on Highway 313
         N38 40.347 W109 41.220
4.1    L off paved road onto slickrock
         N38 38.682 W109 43.787
         7-Up, follow blue markings
9.1    Keep straight (R = 1 mile to 313)
         N38 37.199 W109 47.048
12.2  Turn R (straight = DT shortcut)
         N38 35.838 W109 46.342
14.1  Cross Gemini Road N38 35.002 W109 46.651
14.2  TH N38 34.924 W109 46.583
         Cross parking to Bull Run
17.9  Cross Crips Hole Rd
         N38 35.391 W109 43.507
18.8  R on Gemini Bridges Rd
         N38 35.293 W109 42.876
19.1  R to visit bridges
         N38 35.232 W109 42.600
         East to rejoin main road
19.6  L on Arth's then keep R
         N38 35.249 W109 42.210 (L = Getaway)
21.1  R on Metal Masher Rd
         N38 35.817 W109 41.646
21.2  Straight across to Little Canyon ST
         N38 35.738 W109 41.610
22.6  Keep L (R = Great Escape)
         N38 35.652 W109 40.550
23.4  Hard L down Gold Bar 4x4
         N38 35.885 W109 40.138
24.0  R on Gemini Bridges Rd
        
N38 36.018 W109 40.438
28.7  Cross RR tracks, L on paved trail
         N38 39.372 W109 40.635
30.0 
Cross road to parking
Getting there, southbound:
From I-70 and Crescent Junction, drive south on US-191 for 20 miles. For the loop ride, park on the large gravel area right where 313 forks to your right off 191.
Northbound from Moab:
Drive about 9 miles north of the Colorado River on Highway 191 to Highway 313. For the loop ride, park right along 191 and start riding west on 313.
Upper trailhead for downhill:
Drive 13 miles on 313 to the Gemini Bridges sign and turn left onto dirt road N38 34.390 W109 47.548. Find a spot to unload there, or descend just over a mile down the road to the Bull Run trailhead on your right. 7-Up is on the left as you enter the parking zone.

Bathrooms: No
Water: None on trail or at TH (convenience store across 191 from 313)
Camping: Further up 313 (primitive); Dead Horse Point

Riding resources:
Printable one-page ride guides:
    Climbing plus Mag 7 (Bull Run) loop 
    with alternate (Getaway, Great Escape) loop
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
     7-Up only      Loop via upper Mag 7 
     Loop via Getaway/Great Escape
     Area trail tracks master file  

Topo map for printing:
    Low Res Mag 7 area 
    High-Res 7-Up, Horsethief, Bull Run area
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Link to Moab area resources

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