Note June 13, 2017: Per Moab Trail Mix, until further notice, riders should do this trail clockwise. Note that my original ride (and video) were done in the opposite direction, before the trail was designated as one-way.The trail is early-intermediate in technical requirement overall. The length makes it moderately strenuous, with 900 vertical feet of total climbing over the course of the loop.
Pedal south on Chisholm 0.1 miles, then fork hard right on the alternate Chisholm route to the campground. Go another 0.1 miles to the 4-way intersection of Chisholm with Rodeo and Rowdy. Turn left on Rodeo for a counterclockwise ride.
For a clockwise ride, go south as above, but keep straight at the 0.1-mile trail fork. Continue another 0.3 miles, then turn right on Rodeo just before Chisholm goes up and over a pipeline.
Cross the road and pedal generally downhill on Chisholm for 0.5 miles. Just after crossing the pipeline, fork left on Rodeo for the clockwise ride.
For the counterclockwise ride, continue straight on Chisholm for another 0.3 miles. As you reach a trail sign, drop to the left on the slickrock. Then after 0.1 miles, fork left at the 4-way where Chisholm joins the Rowdy loop.
The ride itself is the "star of the show" here, as the area has no distant majestic scenes. It's good riding of satisfying length, and once the dirt sections pack down, it will be awesome.
(NOTE 6/13/17: Until further notice riders should go CLOCKWISE per Moab Trail Mix. So do it opposite from these directions!)
0.0 South on Chisholm from trailhead
N38 35.126 W109 48.438
0.1 Hard R on alternate Chisholm
N38 35.035 W109 48.426
0.2 Fork L on Rodeo (straight or R = Rowdy)
N38 35.014 W109 48.509
8.9 L on Chisholm N38 34.908 W109 48.249
9.1 Straight N38 35.035 W109 48.426
9.2 Back at parking
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 Trailhead: Turn left on gravel road at the campground sign 11.8 miles from Highway 191. After 0.1 miles, turn left into the fenced parking area. Pedal south on Chisholm 0.1 miles, then fork hard right on the alternate Chisholm route to the campground. Go another 0.1 miles to the 4-way intersection of Chisholm with Rodeo and Rowdy. Turn left on Rodeo.
Highway 313 Horsethief Area (Chisholm) Trailhead: At mile 12.5, spot the trailhead kiosk on the left side of the road. Turn into parking. Start the ride to the campground loops by taking the Chisholm singletrack westbound across the road. The southern limb of Rodeo meets Chisholm just after you cross the pipeline. To reach the northern side, go another 1/4 mile then keep left as the routes split. Descend to the 4-way intersection as above.
GPS track files (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
GPX multi-track, area trails
Rodeo trail only
Loop ride from West Horsethief
Topo map for printing: View Horsethief Area Trails topo
Lodging, camping, shops: Link to Moab area resources
Water: Horsethief Campground
Camping: Developed campground, nightly fee