I love this loop because I can do it quickly if I have a limited time. The best times to run are sunrise and sunset. The views at these time of days are breathtaking! The real fun section is running across Cliffhanger and Jackson's Trail
There's a creek crossing at the bottom of Jackson's Trail
. If the river is up (spring run off) it backs up into Kane Creek so it can be a short swim across. No worries there isn't current its a pool of water. There is a side trail mountain bikers have trudged that goes up Kane Creek to cross with much less water. I don't mind the very short swim after the run
Exposed trail ledges and technical trail in sections.
This run starts at the Kane Creek Trailhead parking lot just after the Kane Creek paved road turns into a dirt road. Most runners start clockwise, which means you have to run on Kane Creek dirt road up to the Amasa Trailhead. The trailhead is approximately 1.4mi from the Kane Creek parking lot. On your run up to the Amasa Back TH you'll pass the Amasa Back trailhead parking lot where there is a pit toilet and more parking. Note:
(Start at Kane Creek parking lot to get the road segment out of the way first).
Passing the parking starts your first hill climb to the trailhead. Ther9e is a sign on the side of the road indicating the trail. Once you see the trailhead you turn right down a very loose rocky and steep 4x4 road. You'll follow this down into the bottom of the canyon where you'll need to cross Kane Creek. In spring runoff, you may get your feet wet.
Once you cross the creek follow the Amasa Back
4x4 road up out of the creek bed. This is really where the hill climbing starts! The footing here is a mix of loose baby head rocks, dirt, and slickrock. You'll soon come up to a switchback not too far from the creek crossing. Note:
(At the top of the second switchback there is a spur trail that leads you up to a petroglyph panel. Go discover it if you have the time!). Continue following the 4x4 trail up to your first viewpoint approximately 2mi from the creek crossing. While running up out of the canyon you'll get beautiful views of the La Sal Mountains and Behind the Rocks to the east. To the west at the first viewpoint, you'll see Dead Horse Point State Park and further west Grand View Point in Canyonlands National Park. Take in the scenery!
From this viewpoint, continue north on the Amasa Back
trail 1mi to the Jackson's Trail
junction. This is approximately 1mi. You'll make a right turn onto the Jackson's Trail
. From here you are approximately 2mi from the Kane Creek parking area. Jackson's Trail
starts on the other side of the ridge. Jackson's Trail
is fun and fast! There are a lot of exposed areas dropping off into the Colorado River corridor, so be careful. The singletrack will steeply drop you into the mouth of Kane Creek. Here you can cross the creek over a pipe and pop-up at the Kane Creek parking lot. If the river has backed up and you don't want to get wet, there is a side trail mountain bikers cut out. This trail runs up on the west side of the creek to another spot with less water to cross. Either way, you'll end up at Kane Creek parking lot.
The best time to see wildflowers is March-April. The Desert Rose blooms along the trails here and has a beautiful citrus fragrance.