Words and Photos by: Mike Smart
Situated about 16 miles west of Moab, UT, is an alternate way to access the Magnificent 7 trail network - Long Canyon. Tucked along the Colorado River and past the famous Wall Street climbing area, Long Canyon provides an alternate way for any endurance rider to access some of the best trails in Moab, UT.
Riding from downtown Moab, riders will follow highway 279 along the Colorado River before entering Long Canyon. Make sure to keep an eye out for rock climbers along the Wall Street climbing zone. The 2,000ft Long Canyon climb ends at 6,000 ft above sea level and will challenge the fittest of riders. Long Canyon starts out with a gradual increase of gradient before the switchbacks quickly ramp up to over 20% gradients.
Despite the challenging gradient, the canyon views will make any rider want to continue climbing. Switching back between north and south views, riders will experience goliath walls to either side of them, and breathtaking views of the La Sal mountains to the East. As the climb ends towards the top, the climb turns into open prairies with fantastic views of the La Sal Mountains, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Canyonlands National Park.
Continuing on the gravel road, riders will intersect and turn right on Route 313 before entering the Magnificent 7 Trail network - starting with Getaway Trail.
Follow the Mag 7 trail network, East, towards Gold Bar Rim and legendary Portal Trail. Those not comfortable with extreme exposure and highly advanced, technical, and demanding bike handling skills, can alternatively follow Poison Spider Trail.
Both Portal or Poison Spider Trail end on route 279 - a soft pedal back on the road will be the only thing left between a killer meal and brew in downtown Moab, UT.