Magnificent Seven Trails … A Whole Bunch of Fun
Many people who responded to my request on MTBR recommended the Magnificent Seven Trails. I had visited Moab a few years earlier and had never heard of them. The girl at Chile Pepper Bike Shop also recommended the Magnificent Seven Trails, saying Bull Run was one of her favorite all-time trails. So, we headed up Highway 313 until we reached the Bull Run Trailhead. I had used the same trailhead to ride to Gemini Bridges a couple years earlier, before the Magnificent Seven Trails were built. That ride was just an out-and–back on the Gemini Bridges Road.
This time I would ride a series of roads and trails. The list below shows the order and direction of my ride.
Bull Run Trail (down)
Gemini Bridges Road (down)
Great Escape Trail (down)
Little Canyon Trail (up)
Gemini Bridges Road (up)
Arth’s Corner Trail (down)
Metal Masher Road (down)
Little Canyon Trail (down)
Gold Bar Trail (up and down)
Gemini Bridges Road (down)
Interactive Map for Magnificent Seven Trails
- Click the green or red balloons for driving directions to a trailhead.
- Click Tracks or Icons for More Specific Information.
After finally getting my front tire to inflate (Kayley had to show me how to use my new pump) and loading up all my cameras and other junk, I set off down Bull Run … on what would turn out to be one of my best runs ever.
Bull Run turned out to be a lot of fun. I would ride across a patch of slickrock, drop off its edge onto a section of sand, wrap around a Juniper Tree, hop onto the next sheet of sandstone, bounce through some slickrock potholes, lean hard into a rock bowl, hop over some cracks … drop back onto the sand, and on and on. The trail was never steep (uphill of downhill) but overall continued to drop. I found myself pedaling the entire way, always trying to build speed to jump onto the next slab of rock, to sprint through a slalom of trees, or to make the next drop-off more exciting.
I had been bombing down the trail, feeling really good, the Giant Trance I’d borrowed (from Todd at Zumwalt’s Bikes) sucking up all the hits, when I suddenly came to a stop less than a half mile into the ride. What caused this stoppage, you ask? Well, it was a 200 foot drop-off!
I took several photos of the cliffs, using my bike as a scale to demonstrate the vast amount of drop from the canyon edge to the bottom.
At that point the trail emerged from the Juniper trees to parallel the canyon rim on my left, never getting less than 6 feet from the edge. I like riding with a reasonable amount of height exposure, but for some this may bother you.
After adhering to the cliff on the left (north) for about a half a mile the Bull Run Trail turns and runs across the middle of the flat plateau for another half mile, then sidles up to the north rim again.
After following the rim for a few hundred yards I began to notice a thinning of the Juniper trees to my right, up to a point where I could see over a ledge on that side too. I quickly figured the canyons on my left and right were converging … squeezing the strip of land upon which I was moving. I soon came to a closed gate with a short piece of fence on both sides, which ran right to the edge of both cliffs. I could see how this could be an effective way to enclose livestock … no fences needed on my right or left.
After passing through the gate the trail wove its way down a series of small cliffs and out onto another plateau.
I quickly crossed the sandy, flat surface until I came upon the canyon to the south, which I continued to follow the remainder of the Bull Run Trail. At one point I came across a sign which I read while facing the bottom of the canyon. This sign warned me to “Stay On The Trail,” because the Boy Scouts had a shooting range below.I could see the set-up and wondered what kind of guns they were using. My brother has a rifle that could easily cover the distance needed to pick me off of my bike from their range below!
The Bull Run Trail dumped me out onto the Gemini Bridges Road, a rode I had been down when riding to the bridges a few years before. I quickly made my way to the Gemini Bridges parking lot and (hesitantly) left my bike in the rack provided (since the sign on the trail said bikes prohibited) and made the 300 yard walk down to the bridges.
Gemini Bridges are a couple of arches that are somewhat different than the ones in Arches National Park, as they are side-by-side (hence the name Gemini) and perfectly flat on top … making their traversal easy going. This was the second time I had visited the bridges and I was still amazed at the engineering skills of old Mother Nature. How long had the perfect parabolic arches held the “road bed” intact … millions of years? How long will our expertly designed parabolic bridges be around … I doubt nowhere near as long as Gemini Bridges have survived so far … and will continue to stand.
Ashley on Great Escape
While bustling along the Great Escape Trail I came across a rider named Ashley. She said this was the first time she had ever been mountain biking, and the remainder of her party had decided not to ride the Great Escape Trail. I told her she was doing great and asked if I could film her.
Below you will find the video of Ashley on her first mountain bike ride.
To view all MBD videos go to my YouTube channel at MountainBikeDiaries.
Since we didn’t want to miss any part of any trail we chose to ride up the Little Canyon Trail and the Gemini Bridges Road so we could try Arth’s Corner. Just as we approached the intersection Ashley’s friends emerged from the Arth’s Corner Trail. They were headed down Great Escape and she chose to ride with them.
Below you will find the video of Joe (me) riding Arth’s Corner. To watch the video on a full screen click the icon in the lower right corner just to the right of the YouTube emblem.
To view all my videos please go to my YouTube channel at MountainBikeDiaries.
Six hundred feet on the Metal Masher Road brought me from the bottom of Arth’s Corner back to the Little Canyon Trail … the same trail I had biked up with Ashley. But this time I was riding down!
The Little Canyon Trail took me to the start of the Gold Bar Trail. This trail ran uphill, close to a creek bed, and over several interesting rock formations.
At the very top of the climb I met a couple of riders named Shawn and Cole. They told me I could have continued along the rim all the way back to Moab, but they had heard the riding was real challenging. I usually enjoy a challenge but I had told Cindy I needed to be picked up at the Gemini Bridges Trailhead and had no way to contact her.
I followed the boys back down Gold Bar, hit a connector road strewn with jeeps, and traveled the rest of the way to the trailhead via the Gemini Bridges Road … passing some interesting rock formations along the way (the boys had turned to go up Little Canyon).
The following information was collected by my Garmin 800 Edge … taking readings every second along the Magnificent Seven Trails. By clicking on the image below you can gain access to more stats than you can imagine.
During most rides I take many more photos than I can place on a ride page. The following is a slide show for the entire Magnificent Seven ride … 81 photos in all. I suggest you view them in a full screen.