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Little Canyon Singletrack

The Little Canyon ST is 2.7 miles long with 350 feet of elevation change. The trail leaves the Gemini Bridges road at the Metal Masher intersection. As it descends it connects to Great Escape, then the Gold Bar ST, then turns north to the Gemini Bridges road at the bottom of Arth's trail. (Note 2020: the lower portion of Little Canyon that continues to the Gold Bar Rim 4x4 trail is now part of the Gold Bar Singletrack.)

Looking south as Bruce and Gene hit Little Canyon. Original photos and ride description from April 13, 2011. Last updated June 2020.

Note: Don't confuse this ride with Little Canyon Rim doubletrack route, which is nearby. The Little Canyon Rim doubletrack actually starts northbound on the Metal Masher road! This may come up if you're talking trails with motorcycle or ATV riders, who will understand "Little Canyon" to refer to a very different route.
There's no trailhead at the upper end of Little Canyon. The Arth's trailhead is closest. But there's space on the shoulder of Metal Masher road for a few cars to park.

At the bottom, there's no formal trailhead, but there's a flat area on open rock with space for a couple of cars about 200 feet downhill on the Gemini Bridges road just past the cattleguard. This may be useful if you're riding the trail with a shuttle.

View east from the lower (new in 2020) section of Little Canyon. In upper middle of the photo, we see the Gooney Bird along the Gemini Bridges road.

The starting elevaton is 4900 feet. The first 2 miles is fairly easy riding on slickrock and singletrack. It would rate intermediate in terms of technical challenge. The final 0.8 miles (from the Gold Bar ST trail fork to the Gemini Bridges road) is a bit more techy.

Again, note that the trail designations have changed with the construction of the Little Canyon extension in 2020. The portion east of the trail fork for the extension trail is now considered part of the Gold Bar Singletrack. Little Canyon now officially follows the newer trail to the Gemini Bridges Road across from the new Arth's downhill segment.

Heading east toward the La Sal Mountains on Little Canyon.

Many riders will be doing this ride as part of the Magnificent 7, a 26-mile epic. It's the third segment. When you reach the Metal Masher dirt road after riding Arth's Corner, turn right on the road. Then cross the Gemini Bridges Road to the upper entry to Little Canyon. (The Mag 7 route exits Little Canyon to the Gold Bar Singletrack around mile 2 from Arth's Corner.)

A slickrock area. The route is well-marked with yellow paint marks, cairns, and logs.

For those who don't want to do the complete epic, the end of Little Canyon is a nice spot to stop and get shuttled back to the top, or to pedal out Gemini Bridges road. It's preferred that you follow Little Canyon out to the Gemini Bridges road, rather than exiting through the Gold Bar 4x4 route further on. (This avoids conflicts with motorized users.) The shuttled "short Mag 7" makes a 10.8 mile fun-fest that's mostly downhill. Or, you can cruise back to Moab via the Gemini Bridges road and the Old 191 paved bike path.

Derek heads southeast toward the La Sal Mountains.

You can also combine Arth's Corner and Little Canyon into a figure-8 ride of 7.3 miles with about 500 vertical feet of climbing. To do this ride, park at Gemini Bridges or near the bottom of the ST on Gold Bar. A nice variation on this figure-8 is Two Tortoise Rock as an alternative to the lower part of Gemini.

The trail is mostly downhill, but there's enough climbing to keep you honest. Derek gets up to the top of a small rise.

When descending Little Canyon, at mile 1.5 you'll hit the Great Escape trail fork. Keep right for Little Canyon. At 1/4 mile past Great Escape, turn left to continue toward the Gemini Bridges Road (and Arth's) on the Little Canyon extension. To do the Mag 7, keep right on the old Little Canyon, which is now officially part of the Gold Bar Singletrack.

Bruce heads down Little Canyon towards Two Tortoise Rock and the La Sals.

To do a smaller loop with Little Canyon as the uphill, find a spot to park on the side of Metal Masher near its intersection with Gemini Bridges Road. Descend Arth's extension downhill then climb up the length of Little Canyon to where you started.

Another nice small loop is Arth's Corner to Little Canyon downhill, then Great Escape uphill. (Great Escape is a harder climb than Little Canyon, if that makes a difference to you.)

There's a bit of climbing here and there, especially in the last 1/3 mile.

Bottom Line:
Nice ride, not highly technical. A nice out-and-back, loop ride, or piece of the Mag 7. Lots of options to construct your own route using pieces, or all, of Little Canyon.

Entry to the lower end of Little Canyon from Gemini Bridges road. We're just finished the lower half of Arth's trail and will taking the lower portion of Little Canyon over to the Gold Bar singletrack to continue the Mag 7 route.

 Little Canyon downhill...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Loop ride with road return:
        From parking on side of Metal Masher,
        go south to Gemini Bridges Road
0.0   Cross Gemini Rd, south on ST  N38 35.773 W109 41.621
0.8   Cross DT N38 35.731 W109 41.006
1.6   Keep straight (R = Great Escape) N38 35.645 W109 40.540
1.8   L to stay on Little Canyon N38 35.552 W109 40.331
        Mag 7: keep R to start Gold Bar ST
2.7   L uphill on Gemini Bridges road N38 35.965 W109 40.578
        (Arth's preferred direction here is downhill)
3.9   Back at Metal Masher
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 13 miles on 313 to the Gemini Bridges sign and turn L onto dirt road. (For the Mag 7 ride, start here.) To start at Arth's Corner), drive down the gravel road 6 miles to just past the Gemini Bridges area to the Arth's trailhead. To start at the Little Canyon ST, continue 1.4 miles past Gemini and turn L on the Metal Masher road and park on the shoulder.
Alternate from 191: Two miles south of the 191-313 junction, cross the railroad tracks to a dirt road. Climb a scary steep path over the skirts of the hill and follow the road 6 miles to Metal Masher.
Riding resources:
Printable one-page ride summary
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
     Little Canyon ST only    Little Canyon Loop
     Area trail tracks    GPX Mag 7 as single route
Topo maps for printing:   Low Res Mag 7     Little Canyon
Lodging, camping, shops:  Link to Moab area resources

Copyright 2011 Mad Scientist Software, Inc
latest update 2020