Seven Mile Canyon North Fork

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 7.9 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4605 - 4800 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 4 hrs.
Trailhead: Highway 313 Mile Marker 3.1
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic canyons, rock art




View Seven Mile Canyon North Fork in a larger map

The North Fork of Seven Mile Canyon is located near Moab, Utah along Highway 313, the road leading to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point. Not knowing ahead of time about anything of particular interest in this branch of Seven Mile Canyon this post is an exploration to see what we could find. Frequent observations of vehicles parked at the trailhead indicated that the area was at least popular with a few hikers.


At about 3.1 miles from the junction of Highway 313, which leads to Canyonlands, and Highway 191, which leads to Moab, there is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road just before a cattleguard. This is immediately before the hairpin switchback that takes Highway 313 out of the canyon to the mesas above.


From the parking area you need to cross the fence and work your way around some boulders to get down into the wash. The only rock art that we found anywhere on this hike was under an overhang on the right side of the trail while hiking through this area.


After about 3/4 of a mile the canyon has a major split. The main branch is along the left fork and two smaller branches are to the right. For this hike we explored the two smaller forks first before tackling the main branch of the canyon.


The middle branch has a trail that travels mostly above the left side of the wash but the wash itself is good hiking when it is dry.


Eventually the wash comes to a spillover that is about 15 feet high. There is a trail on the left side of the wash that climbs past it so that you can continue up the canyon.


A little ways further the wash reaches another spillover that this time is too high to climb and has no obvious way around. At this point we turned around and explored the west side of the canyon on our way out.


After hiking back to the junction of the middle branch and the east branch we turned left and headed up the east branch.


We followed the east branch as it headed straight toward Merrimac and Monitor Buttes. There are several spillovers that can be a little difficult to get past but eventually you get to the point were you can either continue scrambling up the canyon or work your way out of it on the south side. We turned around at this point but we saw a lot that we want to come back and explore at some future date.


The main branch of the canyon heads almost due west. The further up it that you hike the more vegetation there is.


Eventually it becomes very difficult to continue hiking due to thick brush and a rock fall. We turned around at this point with plans of exploring the rest of the canyon from the west end on another day. This point is within a quarter mile of the end of the canyon so there isn't too much more of the canyon left.


A few bear tracks were visible in the sand but we didn't see any fresh scat anywhere.


Back near the trailhead there are a few small pictographs and if you look hard enough you can also spot a few very old petroglyphs in the area.


The North Branch of Seven Mile Canyon is more confined than the South Branch. It also doesn't have all the spectacular rock art that the other branch does. It is fun to explore and with its easy access it is a great place to get away from the crowds. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.