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Horsethief Mountain Bike Trails
Region Overview

The Horsethief trail system is found along Highway 313 northwest of Moab. The riding area opened in 2015 with around 20 miles of new singletrack. There are several options for entering the area, after which the system is best viewed as four connected loops:  
1. the Mustang Loop at the heart of the system
2. the Horsethief Campground loops, via the Chisholm Trail from upper Mustang
3. the Whirlwind Loop, connecting the east (downhill) side of Mustang to 7-up
4. the lariat loop of Wildcat, 7-up singletrack, and Hildago

Heading uphill on the Whirlwind Loop

Trailheads / Access
Highway 313 (Chisholm) Trailhead

The Chilsholm Trailhead is located on Highway 313 about 12 miles from US 191. It provides access to an easy lariat loop ride (western Chisholm plus the short Wrangler and Rowdy loops at the Horsethief Campground) and to the intermediate-technical trails branching off the Mustang Loop downhill to the east.

For most riders, this will be the preferred trailhead for riding this area. Eastbound on Chisholm, the Mustang Loop is 0.5 miles downhill.

Upper Gemini Bridges Road (Getaway) Trailhead

There's roadside parking along the dirt Gemini Bridges road just as it leaves Highway 313, where you'll find the top of the Getaway Trail. This trailhead is used by riders shuttling the Mag 7 ride (or doing a loop of Bull Run plus Getaway), so it tends to fill up. The new (as of 2015) upper Getaway singletrack will take you to the handle of the Mustang Loop in 0.6 miles. Or you can continue on Getaway down to 7-up to enter the Horsethief area from below.

Horsethief Campground Road

The Chisholm Trail crosses the campground road east of the campground. There's a small trailhead here.

Campers (and only campers) can enter the trail system directly from the campground loops. One access leaves the apex of the eastern camping loop. Wrangler has two connectors, one to the western end of the east loop, and one at the far west end of the west camping loop.

Upper 7-up - Bull Run Trailhead

Riders who want to enter the area from downhill can drive 1.1 miles down the Gemini Bridges road to the Bull Run Trailhead. From here, pedal north on 7-up. Your first fork (mile 0.2) will be Getaway, where you can climb to the handle of the Mustang loop. Further along at mile 1.7 the new 7-up singletrack option will take you to the southern end of Wildcat. Or you can continue on 7-up to the bottom of Hidalgo at mile 2.5, or the Whirlwind Loop at mile 3.1.

Connection via lower 7-up or Navajo Rocks

You can do these loops as a side-ride (or a destination) while climbing 7-up. This route involves substantial climbing to reach the Horsethief riding area. From the bottom of 7-up on Highway 313, it's 7.1 miles to the bottom of the Whirlwind Loop. If you drop down to 7-up from Navajo Rocks on the doubletrack connector (expect some sandy dirt-road riding), it will be about 4 miles from the southern side of the Navajo Rocks loop to reach Whirlwind.

Horsethief Area Trails
Horsethief Campground Loops Wrangler and Rowdy

The Wrangler Loop is the easiest trail in the area, suitable for true beginners and kids. It's 0.7 miles around the loop with virtually no elevation change. There are two connectors to campground roads, plus a connection to the eastern loop Rowdy.

The Rowdy Loop has a couple of ledges and a bit of gentle rolling dirt path, so it's a tiny bit more difficult than Wrangler. But it's still a very easy 0.5 miles. The eastern side of Rowdy shares 100 feet of trail with Chisholm, which is your connector from the campground trails to the main Horsethief system.

[ Go to Horsethief Campground Trails Page ]

Chisholm Trail

The Chisholm Trail runs between the Big Lonely portion of the Navajo Rocks loop and the Mustang Loop, crossing Highway 313 on the way. There's a trailhead with parking where Chisholm crosses the road, with the trail descending in both directions from the highway. It's 7.2 miles long; intermediate; mostly dirt with some slickrock. West of 313 the trail has 500 vertical feet of climbing southbound, 200 northbound.

[ Go to Chisholm Trail Page ]

Mustang Loop

The Mustang Loop is the key to riding the other area trails. Mustang has connections to Chisholm, Getaway, and the two limbs of the Whirlwind Loop. Just down the southern limb of Whirlwind is Wildcat, with Hildago forking off Wildcat. These trails tie the Mustang Loop to 7-up downhill.

Most riders will chose to ride to Mustang from uphill via Chisholm, or by taking Getaway to the lariat-handle of the loop. There's 300 feet of elevation change from top to bottom. The trail surface is about 50:50 slickrock and dirt, solid intermediate technical, and rides well in either direction. The loop is 3 miles, with a 0.2-mile "handle" on the south that connects it to Getaway.

[ Go to Mustang Loop Page ]

Whirlwind Loop

The Whirlwind Loop lies on the northeast (and downhill) side of the Mustang Loop. It shares about 100 yards of the Mustang Loop at the top. At the bottom of the loop is a short (about 0.1 mile) connector to 7-up.

The loop is 2.2 miles, with about 250 feet of elevation change. Climbing is mellow in either direction; I liked counterclockwise. The trail surface alternates slickrock and singletrack, and is intermediate in technical requirement.

[ Go to Whirlwind Loop Page ]

Wildcat to Hildalgo Loop

Wildcat forks off the southern limb of Whirlwind about 0.1 miles after it leaves Mustang. A bit further downhill, Hildalgo forks away (or returns, depending on how you're riding it). If you combine the bit of Whirlwind down to Wildcat, Wildcat itself, the northern end of the 7-up singletrack, a segment of 7-up doubletrack, and Hildalgo as a return climb, it forms a 2.7-mile lariat loop with around 300 feet of elevation change. This route is a bit more techy than Mustang, but still solid intermediate.

Wildcat is a good route for reaching Mustang if you started riding from the Bull Run trailhead northbound on 7-up.

[ Go to Wildcat - Hildalgo Page ]


Getaway runs from the upper Gemini Bridges Road down to the Arth's Corner trail -- where it also meets the downhill end of Bull Run. The trail is 7.8 miles long with 900 feet of elevation change. It connects to the handle of the Mustang Loop, and to 7-Up a bit further downhill.

Getaway is significantly easier than Bull Run for timid downhillers, and it makes a good climbing route. Overall this route is easier-intermediate.

[ Go to Getaway Trail Page ]

7-up with 7-up Singletrack

The 7-up trail is the "bottom limit" of the Horsethief riding area. From south to north, the first connection is to Getaway. Then the new 7-up singletrack offers a fork to Wildcat. The next connections are Hildago then the spur to the Whirlwind Loop.

7-up is intermediate in tech requirement overall, but does have some ledges.

[ Go to 7-up Trail Page ]

Getting there:  From I-70 and Crescent Junction, drive south on US-191 for 20 miles (about 9 miles north of the Colorado River if you're driving out from Moab) to Highway 313. Drive uphill 11 miles.
Horsethief Campground Road:  On your left at mile 11.8 from Highway 191, turn right on the campground road. 0.1 miles later, turn left into the Chisholm Trail parking. (Do not park in the campground unless you're staying.)
Highway 313 Horsethief Area (Chisholm) Trailhead:  At mile 12.5, spot the trailhead kiosk on the left side of the road. Turn into parking. Pedal east (away from the highway) on Chisholm to intercept the Mustang Loop in 0.5 mile.
Gemini Bridges Road (Getaway) Trailhead:  For longer rides of the area trails. At mile 12.9, turn left at the Gemini Bridges sign. About 200 feet from the pavement, spot a small parking area on your left with the Getaway Trail just east of parking. Mustang forks away from Getaway 0.6 miles from the trailhead.
Bull Run Trailhead:  Drive 1.1 miles down the Gemini Bridges dirt road, then turn right into the trailhead. Start your ride to the Horsethief Area trails by heading left on 7up.

Riding resources:
GPS track files (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
      GPX multi-track, area trails   
      Horsethief Tour from Getaway (14 miles)   
Topo map for printing:  View Horsethief Area Trails topo 
Lodging, camping, shops:     Link to Moab area resources

Bathrooms:  Horsethief Campground
Water:   Horsethief Campground
Camping:   Developed campground, nightly fee