One-way Distance: 9.6-21.5 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4792 - 5771 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Time: 3 hrs. - 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Mag 7/Gemini Bridges
Attractions: Scenic canyons and bluffs
The 7-Up trail is part of the Gemini Bridges Trails Area near Moab, Utah. The trail begins at the Magnificent 7 trailhead off of the Gemini Bridges Road where it makes use of both singletrack trails and old jeep roads for a mostly downhill run that ends at the switchbacks on Highway 313 near the Monitor and Merrimac Viewpoint. The trail runs parallel with the south fork of Sevenmile Canyon. Its elevated route, which follows branches of the canyon's rim at times, gives the trail it's familiar sounding name. Most people ride the trail one-way which requires a shuttle.
To get to the trailhead from Moab drive 9 miles north on Highway 191 and turn onto Highway 313 which leads to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Follow Highway 313 for about 13 miles and turn left onto the Gemini Bridges Road. Follow the Gemini Bridges Road for just over 1 mile to the trailhead.
The more ambitious approach is to ride the 7-Up trail as a loop by incorporating Highway 313 into the ride. For this post we did just that by parking at the View Area just above the switchbacks, near the end of the 7-Up trail. From there we followed the pavement for almost 9 miles to the Gemini Bridges Road. The ride on Highway 313 is all uphill and took about 1 hour. Rather than riding the graveled Gemini Bridges Road for the 1.2 miles to the trailhead we jumped off onto the Gateway singletrack trail. The upper portion of the Gateway trail is pretty much all downhill and it is a blast to ride. The entire loop was about 21.5 miles and took 4.5 hours to ride. We stopped to take 271 pictures along the way so other riders might finish much sooner.
From the trailhead the 7-Up trail works it way through a wash and across the Gemini Bridges Road.
A couple tenths of a mile from the trailhead the 7-Up trail is intersected by the Gateway trail. If you are riding the loop and coming down on the Gateway trail then you can pick up the 7-Up trail at this point. We had to ride over to the trailhead and back so that all of the trail would show up on our map.
As the trail continues it makes use of some easy double track that takes it up to the trail's highest elevation.
If you know where to look you can pick out much of the trails remaining course from the high point.
The trail transitions to a singletrack again after coming down off of its roost and begins traveling along the canyon's rim. Bighorn sheep can be seen in this area at times.
There is a lot of good slickrock along the rim. It gets a little bumpy at times but there are no real technical challenges to it.
As the trail continues it runs back into the double track and follows it for awhile. At the 1.75 mile point the route splits and a singletrack breaks off on the left. The singletrack is a little longer but it is much more scenic and it avoids a steep section of jeep road that requires more advanced riding skills. The singletrack is also connected to by the Wildcat trail after 2 tenths of a mile which some people take to make a shorter loop through the Horsethief area.
The singletrack reconnects with the old jeep road after about 6 tenths of a mile. It continues from there and at the 2.85 mile point from the trailhead it is connected to by the Hildalgo trail. The parts of the trail that make use of the jeep road are probably the most technical parts of the entire trail other than one spot in the Navajo Rocks area. The most technical points can be overcome by taking a singletrack route that switchbacks up the otherwise steep ledges and allows you to stay on your bike to get up them.
Another singletrack route splits off again near the 3.3 mile point and takes a scenic route away from the jeep road.
Just past the 3.5 mile point a short spur that is part of the Whirlwind Loop branches off on the left. This is the last of the Horsethief trails that connect to the 7-Up trail.
A short distance after leaving the Whirlwind Loop behind the singletrack reconnects with the jeep road which it follows for the next couple of miles. With few exceptions the ride gets a lot easier from this point on.
Near the 5.45 mile point the 7-Up trail and the jeep road go their separate ways once again. There is an opportunity to cut the ride short at this point by staying on the jeep road and getting to Highway 313 after 1 mile. When you reach the highway you will end up just below Wipeout Hill which is a little less than 3 miles from the lower end of where the 7-Up trail connects to the highway.
The 7-Up trail continues on a mostly easy route to a point where it once again finds the rim of a branch of Sevenmile Canyon. There is a short stretch of slightly more technical riding at this point as the trail works its way around the canyon, across the drainage, and up the other side where there are several rocky ledges to hustle up.
After climbing out of the drainage the trail hits a double track once again where it continues for several miles of very sweet pump and roll. Most of this stretch can be taken in high gear.
The last couple miles of the route wind around the base of the cliffs below the Rocky Tops trail. Don't be surprised to see riders coursing along the rim above you. The trail gets a little slower through here with a few minor uphill sections where it climbs out of washes along the way. The whole thing comes to an end on a massive expanse of slickrock near the switchbacks on Highway 313. This is where you might see riders congregating while waiting for their shuttle ride. It is interesting that there isn't a trailhead sign at the lower end of the 7-Up trail. Perhaps the Utah DOT doesn't think it is safe to have a lot of vehicles getting on and off the road near the blind curve. The 7-Up trail is an epic ride when done as a loop and the trail itself is one that you might like to do multiple times. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.