Round Trip Distance: 4.8 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4025 - 4507 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Kane Springs
Attractions: Scenic canyon views
The Hunter Rim trail is part of the Amasa Back Trails system near Moab, Utah. The trail begins at Kane Spring where it works its way toward the back of a small canyon and climbs up to a bench that it follows around the cliffs above the Kane Springs Road to Hunter Canyon. From there it continues along the same bench above Hunter Canyon until it comes to an end at an old jeep road.
The Hunter Canyon Rim trail begins at Kane Spring. There is only enough parking at the unmarked trailhead for 2 vehicles providing the first one there doesn't park in the middle of the pullout. There are several more wide areas in the road near the Spring Site primitive camping area. Another option is to park at the Amasa Back trailhead which is one mile away.
At present there aren't any trail signs for the Hunter Canyon Rim trail although it does show up on most area maps. The trail begins by going right though the middle of campsite #1. You can try to get into the canyon on the north side from the parking area next to Kane Spring but you will find the trail there very difficult to manage.
As the trail enters the canyon it crosses some slickrock above the spring and picks up a dirt path. The trail sticks to the left side of the canyon as it steps up the rock ledges.
As the trail gets closer to the spillover it appears to continue straight ahead. If you go that way you will have to cross the canyon just below the spillover and climb up the south side. From there you will have to either keep scrambling up the steep slope to get back on the main route or cross a very narrow shelf above the south side of the spillover. The other route which is less obvious at this point angles up the north side of the cliff toward the mouth of the canyon. After you scramble up the first one or two benches you will start seeing cairns. Look higher up to your right to find the easiest spot to scramble up to the next level.
Once you reach the bench that is at the same level as the top of the spillover the trail is more obvious and the cairns occur more frequently.
Continue into the canyon on the north side and cross over to the south side near a large boulder that sits above the spillover. Look once again for the cairns that mark the correct route that heads back out of the canyon toward the road.
As the trail gets close to the mouth of the canyon it turns south and follows a bench parallel with the road heading toward Hunter Canyon.
For the most part the trail stays comfortably away from the cliffs edge.
Looking into the canyon at the horseshoe bend gives the impression that the Colorado River, or at least a branch of it, must have flowed through here at one time until it was possibly diverted by a landslide.
At the mouth of Hunter Canyon the trail turns east and continues along the same bench area for the rest of its distance. There are several minor scrambles to deal with enroute.
The views of Hunter Arch are better from the rim than they are from the trail in the bottom of the canyon.
The trail officially ends at the point where the singletrack meets the old jeep road. We continued for another half mile and turned around at the next junction where the right fork should lead to the Pritchett Canyon trail.
The Hunter Canyon Rim trail is listed with the Amasa Back trails group although it doesn't connect to any of them except by the Kane Springs Road. Portions of some of the other Amasa Back trails can be seen from the Hunter Canyon Rim trail. The Captain Ahab trail is the closest of the bunch as it comes out on a point across the canyon that looks right down at the mouth of Hunter Canyon. It is sometimes cool to look around from where you are and see some of the other places that you have been. It is either that or you see a whole bunch of places that you can't wait to go to.
Since there aren't any signs for the Hunter Canyon Rim trail there is no way for someone on a dirt bike to know not to attempt it other than seeing a picture like this one. This guy and his wife had come in from the Pritchett Canyon area and had mistakenly turned down this trail. It ended up getting dark on them and they had to camp for the night on the side of the cliff without any supplies or gear. At this point they were trying to lower the bike down the cliff so they could get out on the road when we came along and helped.