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Hiking guide for lower Seven Mile Canyon


The lower section of Seven Mile Canyon is beautiful to hike but it is also special because it was thought to have been part of the “Anasazi highway“, a migration route from the La Sal Mountains to the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park in the spring and fall 

Seven Mile Canyon Lower
Seven Mile Canyon (lower) has an interesting entry, an old cattle trail that you will use to descend from the canyon rim to the wash at the bottom. Most of the route is through the sandy wash until the confluence with the northern section of Upper Courthouse Wash Canyon which usually has water in it for much of the year. 
In the fall the cottonwood trees glow bright yellow, there is also supposed to be some good rock art in the canyon you might find.

Getting there

For Cars – From Moab head north on Highway 191 to the pull-off on northbound side of the highway, just south of the Hwy 191- Hwy 313 junction.
For 4×4 or high clearance continue north on Highway 191 just past the left-hand turn to Highway 313, take the next right onto the dirt road, open and close the gate and take the first right to the wash, turn left through the wash and find the road to the left to the parking area next to the canyon rim with another gate you need to open and close behind you, or go through the first gate and head 1/4 mile straight ahead, take a right after the building and continue to the parking area close to the canyon rim.

Map how to get to the parking areas for Seven Mile Canyon

  • For cars pull off on the northbound side of Highway 191 ( 38.669470, -109.684339 )
  • Canyon Rim Parking for 4×4 high clearance ( 38.668351, -109.679640 )

Canyon rim parking area for 4x4s

Canyon rim parking area for 4x4s
  • This is the lower section of Seven Mile Canyon. The South Fork of Seven Mile Canyon is full of interesting and famous petroglyphs
  • Dogs are allowed off-leash, except technically once you pass through the Arches National Park Boundary where no dogs are allowed
  • Binoculars
  • Water shoes if you are going to go up the northern section of Upper Courthouse Wash Canyon
  • An option is to not go down into the canyon but walk on the canyon rim on the right side of the canyon, which is smooth and almost uncut by side canyons. The views are delightful and spacious, it’s a hodgepodge of hills, humps, washes, cuts, and peculiar formations speckled with elegant pockets of cryptogamic garden and improbably twisted junipers growing out of bare rock. It takes about an hour of east-trending zigzags to reach the rim of Courthouse Wash. The views are spectacular.
  • There is supposed to be some nice rock art in the canyon but we have not seen it, as you would need to spend quite a bit of time exploring the sides of the canyon while most of the easy walking is down the center in the wash
  • 3.7 miles one way from the parking area to the confluence of Court House Wash Canyon
  • 6 miles one way to Scenic Road bridge in Arches National Park
  • 9 miles to do the loop through the canyon to the confluence, through the northern section of Court House Wash Canyon and take Copper Ridge Safari route back to the parking lot

Seven Mile Canyon Lower hiking map

If you park next to the highway you have to cross a barbed wire fence and follow a trail that will cross the Bar M trail and then walk on to the canyon rim. 
From the 4×4 parking area next to the canyon rim, look to the right for an obvious trail, follow this while looking into the canyon for what was an old cattle trail that descends into the canyon.

The old cattle trail leading down into the canyon

The bottom area is an easy walk through the sandy wash with thickening vegetation the farther you go.

Cottonwoods glowing in the sunshine

Canyon bottom

The leaf covered path of Seven Mile Canyon Lower Hike

About 2 miles in the canyon becomes thicker with more lush vegetation, and the route through the stream bed can even become tangled at times, but for the most part the going is very easy. Right at the border with Arches National Park you will come to a water seap on the right-hand side that was running even in November. 
Arriving at the confluence with northern Courthouse Wash Canyon, your options are to go right continuing downstream about two miles to where Arches National Park Scenic Road crosses Courthouse Wash. If you leave another car here you can set up an easy shuttle back to the Hwy 191 bridge. Or turn left at the confluence and walk up northern Courthouse Wash Canyon for a couple of miles, there was a lot of water here in November and there tends to be water here most of the time.
The walk up northern Courthouse Wash Canyon will be much more difficult than the walk you’ve made in Seven Mile Canyon Lower, it starts off nicely with wide areas to walk to, but will eventually require many crossings of the stream, with an ever-narrowing canyon and ever more choked with vegetation.

Water runs most of the year in northern Courthouse Wash Canyon

Heading up the canyon in the next half mile you have to start bushwacking through thick reeds and growth, and if the stream is running it can be difficult to walk up the stream bed due to the muddy quicksand in spots sucking your feet in.

The brush can get thick hiking through northern Courthouse Wash Canyon

As you make your way higher up the canyon, soon the walls begin to lower and close in tighter to you. If the wash is dry you can walk up it for easy walking, if it’s wet you need water shoes, if you don’t want to get wet you will need to fight your way up the canyon.

Brush forces you to the canyon walls in northern Courthouse Wash Canyon

If the going gets to be too much there are a few places where you can scramble up the canyon walls to the slick rock up top and follow along the rim to the start of the canyon.
Either way, you will come to the parking area ( 38.686829, -109.652819 ) at the start of the canyon. Go through the gate and follow the wash north. This is the wash that feeds Court House Wash Canyon, also known as the Copper Ridge Safari Route. Follow the Copper Ridge Safari Route all the way back to the starting parking lot.

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