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Tom's Canyon

The Tom's Canyon trail starts on the edge of Kanab, circling the edge of Tom's Canyon. The singletrack is 3 miles long and can be done as an out-and-back or as a loop with a short link on city streets. It's a nice add-on ride to the nearby Raven and Roadrunner trails above Hamblin Park.

Eastbound in Tom's Canyon. Photos and trail review by Bruce on July 29, 2021.

The trail starts at 5000 feet elevation on the northeast corner of the city. The trailhead is on Ladera Lane, with a bumpy dirt ramp leading up to unimproved parking where the street turns 90 degrees. (Geographically this would be around 400 East and 200 North.) The trailhead is shared with the K-Hill hiking trail.

Starting out from the Ladera Lane trailhead. There's no bathroom or water. If your car can't touch the dirt, there's room on the roadside where the pavement widens as the paved road turns. Just don't block the dirt ramp going uphill!

A second access is at the end of Rain Maker Road. There's a gate here but no formal parking. In 2021, construction equipment and supplies littered this area. The trail starts 90 degrees to your left after going through the smaller of the two gates.

Looking northeast at the gate on Rain Maker Road. The northern side of the trail is 90 degrees left, right through the pile of construction stuff.

Tom's Canyon is popular with local trail runners and hikers. The expected riding season is April through November. The trail can be done in either direction. Most riders will start from the formal trailhead off Ladera Lane.

Bruce's bike sits on the only "slickrock" you'll hit. Otherwise the trail is red dirt.

The trail runs through undulating skirts of Moenkopi clay at the base of the Chinle Formation. It hugs the slope just above the small valley within Tom's Canyon. Above the trail are banded cliffs of the Chinle Formation.

The trail would rate intermediate in skill requirement. But because it's short, experienced beginners can tackle Tom's Canyon.

Eastbound up Tom's Canyon on the counterclockwise ride. For the first quarter mile, you'll be just uphill from the last homes.

From the Ladera Lane trailhead, the first trail fork comes in 0.1 miles. Turn left uphill on the smaller trail. The big flat route straight ahead is a short hiking-only trail called K-Hill.

Along the southern side of the loop, the trail is constantly twisting, rolling, climbing and descending. Although the elevation change from bottom to top is only 100 feet, your overall climbing during a ride around the loop will be 250 vertical feet.

Here the trail is finishing a loop around a little hill.

At mile 0.7, you'll come to a four-way fork. The two trails on the valley side are the entry and exit from a small loop. Go for it. The loop is only 0.2 miles and it will bring you back to this exact spot. Circle around the little hill. When you get back to the four-way, take the eastbound uphill trail.

Here the multi-colored Moenkopi formation is obvious.

As you hit additional forks when riding eastbound, look for the "biker" symbol on the trail posts. The trail on your left will be a horse route or a hiking trail and will return back to the main Tom's Canyon trail. In general, keep uphill and right.

Looking back toward Kanab on the counterclockwise ride.

When the canyon narrows to cliffs above a sandy wash, the trail will turn back to the west. This is at mile 2.0 of the counter-clockwise loop. (The horse trail continues another quarter mile up the wash, and you wouldn't find it fun.) Dip through the wash and cross over to the cliffs along the north side of the valley.

Approaching the neck of the valley where the trail will turn back to the west.

The westbound trail is flatter and easier. (The clockwise ride, starting at Rain Maker Road, could be a good choice for beginners.)

At a trail fork at mile 2.4 keep right and uphill. The left option just cuts across dirt to bypass a section of trail that makes a semi-circle on the edge of a small canyon. Ignore the left fork and keep right.


The trail reaches the gate on Rain Maker Road at mile 3.0. Consider turning around and doing the loop in reverse! To make a road return, coast down to the four-way where Los Barancos Lane meets Ladera Lane and turn left. Follow Ladera south and it will turn back west to the trailhead. The road return is 1/2 mile.

Heading into the small canyon on the northern side of the ride. You can bypass this section with the short alternate, but why would you?

Getting there:
Go to 100 East in Kanab. (100 East is where US-89 makes a 90-degree turn in the middle of town, going north-south instead of east-west before turning again in a few blocks.) Drive north on 100 East to 300 North and turn right. Drive east three blocks and turn right (south) at the big traffic circle. You're now on Ladera Lane. When the road turns 120 degrees to the left, drive up the dirt ramp to the unimproved parking area. (If your car is tender, park on the road here but don't block the dirt!)

No bathroom at trailhead.

Trail resources:
Map:  Load map at left for printing
GPS files (right-click and save):  Multi-track area file