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Hog Canyon Loop
and Kanab TV Tower Overlook

Kanab is late to the mountain biking party. At the end of the year 2016, the only bike-legal singletrack is the 1.5 miles of trail built by mountain bikers during 2016, the Raven and Roadrunner loops. So if you're stuck in Kanab with a mountain bike, you might consider ATV trails. This page will describe two rides:  an out-and-back to the TV tower viewpoint, and a big loop on top of the mesa, all on ATV track. Both rides are difficult and will offend singletrack purists.

View north. The rim of white cliffs is Navajo Sandstone, part of the Grand Staircase. Photos and ride description by Bruce on December 13, 2016.

I strongly suggest you do these rides on a fat bike. There's a ton of sand. Yes, the trails can be done on a standard XC bike. But even experienced sand-surfers will hike a little. The out-and-back TV tower ride is tough but doable for an in-shape rider with sand experience or fat tires. The full loop ride is very taxing, with steep pitches and some tricky spots -- made worse by ATV tires polishing the rock then coating it with sand. The short "inner loop" option would be enough to satisfy for most riders -- see below.

The altitude starts at 5000 feet and rises to 6000 on the loop ride. In mid-winter, this area receives and holds snow even though it's "down south." But the winter riding can be good when snow cover is minimal because the sand is wet and possibly frozen.

Looking southeast up a fork of Hog Canyon.

Kanab TV Tower Overlook Hillclimb
The TV Tower hillclimb is an out-and-back of 8.6 miles total. You'll do 900 vertical feet of climbing, much of it on loose sandy road surface. Because this route is regularly smoothed for maintenance vehicles going to the towers, the riding surface is low-voltage for a mountain bike. But it will be lose, rutted, and churned. So a fat bike is still the way to go!

View in the bottom of Hog Canyon, just a bit up the road from US-89. Many miles to go!

Starting from the ATV staging area off Highway 89, smooth and well-packed dirt road takes you east into Hog Canyon. At mile 0.8, there's a second parking lot and staging area on the right side of the road.

At mile 1.7, take the right road fork heading steeply uphill. Settle into a good climbing gear, because you've got 1.4 miles to climb 750 vertical feet. At first you'll think it's merely steep -- but then, a bit uphill, here comes the sand.

We've turned south, and now we need to grunt up this hill. But at least the surface is semi-packable here and "floats" the tires well.

You'll soon learn that the red dirt packs under your tires, while the pale salmon sand bogs you down. Try to stay in the bottom of the ATV tire ruts. Let enough air out of your tires so that the tire flattens on the sand to form a larger contact patch. I did pretty well with 12 PSI in 2.25 tubeless 29er tires, but I was wishing I'd taken the fat bike. I probably hiked a total of 1/4  mile out of the 8.6 out-and-back.

A bit further uphill. And does that road surface look rideable? Well, I'm still riding and not walking.

When you cross a cattle guard to reach a road fork at mile 3.1 from US-89, you're at the top. Turn to the right on Route 2. There's a smaller alternate further to the right, but it's sandy-nasty in this direction. The alternate rejoins in about 1/3 mile.

At mile 3.8, you'll pass the marked entry to the Squaw Trail on your right. Keep left. (The first portion of the Squaw Trail is shared trail. After about 0.2 miles it's signed for foot traffic. After a bit of forested downhill, the Squaw Trail breaks onto the mesa's skirts and descends through switchbacks. At the bottom it runs down a boulder-filled unrideable washbottom to join the Kanab Singletrack Loops Raven and Roadrunner.)

Top of the mountain, and I've turned to the west to head for the towers. Looking north.

Pass the tower support sheds at mile 4.3 and approach the cliff edge to take in the views. Nice.

Now head 1.2 miles back to the trail fork. Here you can either descend the road to end your ride, or venture onto a loop on top of the mountain. (The short loop will add 2.7 miles to your ride and is a nice intro to the mesa ATV trails. The big loop -- as below -- will add 8.1 miles and a truckload of climbing.)

View to the southwest from the towers. That's Kanab down there.

The Hog Canyon Rim Loops
The ATV trails form a loop around the mesa mountain top, skirting the edge of the cliffs for fantastic views. First, you need to put in the miles to climb up to the trail fork as described above. Once at the top you'll go to the left, following Route 1.

A shorter loop of Route 3 and returning via Route 1 -- labeled as "inner loop" on my map -- is 2.7 miles on the loop itself, plus 6.2 miles for the up-and-back. That makes a 9 mile, 1100-vertical ride. The big loop (as featured in my GPS file below) has 8.1 miles on top of the mesa, with some fairly techy and steep pitches. Your total will be 14.3 miles with over 3000 feet of total climbing.

Here's the trail fork at the top of the hill. Go to the left.

After you turn left at the top of the mountain following Route 1, go about 200 feet then fork to the right on Route 3. You'll soon be near the cliff edge where a finger of the mountain juts into Tom's Canyon. Nice views here. First you'll be southbound, then you'll head back northeast.

After 1.6 miles, you'll come to a trail fork. Go right if you plan to continue the big loop. (If you're doing only the small loop, go left and proceed 0.2 miles back to route 1. Fork left again to go west and close the loop.) 

In addition to mild up-and-downs, on the loop there are two descents of around 300 vertical feet, which you'll have to regain. We're at around 5600 feet elevation here.

You'll now descend a bit into Tom's Canyon. In 0.3 miles from the trail fork above, there's another fork. The right fork is technical ATV trail that joins a path headed for the mesa south of Tom's Canyon. Stay left, and you'll begin climbing back uphill to the northeast. In another 0.4 miles, keep left again as the main path to Tom's Canyon Rim leaves on the right. And climb a bit more, because what goes down must come up.

Looking toward the east on the edge of Hog Canyon's South Fork.

Pedal one mile further on fairly flat terrain, and you'll be at the far southeast corner of the big loop. Keep to the left at the fork. The right fork heads over to Pugh Canyon. Now you'll descend again as the trail heads north on the far side of the loop. Next comes a long traverse around the mountain. There's a lot of up-and-down but no sustained climbs here.

Stay on what appears to be the main path. There's a sucker route 2.7 miles from the Pugh Canyon fork that I've marked on my map.

Lest you think it's all sand, there are stretches of rough, sand-covered rock too. (For size perspective, that's my bike up near the top.)

At mile 5 on the outer loop (since leaving the short loop/big loop split), you'll start climbing back to the south. Another 300 vertical feet back uphill at 10% grade. And 5.6 miles after the trail fork where you decided to do the "big loop" you'll be back at route 1 on top of the mountain.

The trails alternate between exposed brush and pinion forest.

Fork right and pedal 0.4 miles west to the original fork where you entered the loop ride. Turn right (north) to retrace your climbing route. Head downhill, sand-surfing as you go.

Bottom Line:
Only for the adventurous. Definitely not recommended for singletrack purists or sand-haters. The big loop ride is a leg killing monster. If you paused for a second to consider whether you can handle this ride, then the answer is no.

Killer views.

Riding notes, Hog Canyon Rim loop:
0.0   From US-89, east on dirt road
        N37 04.734 W112 32.295
0.8   Pass alternate TH N37 04.981 W112 31.594
1.7   Fork R uphill N37 05.314 W112 30.845
3.1   Fork L (R1) N37 04.309 W112 30.592
3.2   Fork R (R3) N37 04.323 W112 30.549
5.1   Fork R (L = bail out to make small loop)
        N37 04.271 W112 29.964
5.4   Fork L (R = to Tom's South Rim)
        N37 04.178 W112 29.711
5.8   Fork L (R = to Tom's South Rim)
        N37 04.301 W112 29.535
6.9   Fork L (R = Pugh Canyon Rim)
        N37 04.288 W112 28.753
9.6   Keep L N37 05.125 W112 29.855
10.7 Fork R (R1) N37 04.388 W112 30.112
11.2 Keep L N37 04.323 W112 30.549
        then go R downhill
14.3 Back at parking
Getting there:
From Kanab, head north on US-89. Just over two miles from Kanab's Center Street, turn right into Hog Canyon. For the full ride as described above, immediately find a spot to park and begin riding east on the dirt road. For a slightly shorter ride, drive 0.8 miles up the road to the secondary parking.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page printable riding guide 
Maps for printing:    Topo map      Satellite view 
Track files (to download, right-click and "Save target as..."):
    Tower climb track   Hog Canyon Rim loop track
    Area multi-track file
Lodging, camping, shops: 

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