Big Canyon is one of my favorite trails in the Horse Gulch area which is saying quite a bit. Best ridden from North to South, Big Canyon provides a steady descent the entire way.
Primarily fast flowing singletrack packed dirt broken up by sections of rocks and trees throughout. During spring runoff and in wetter seasons, you crisscross a small stream multiple times while riding the bottom of the canyon ending up at a car dealership in town.
The canyon is usually dry however as the area has been in drought for several years. Even when water is flowing, the trail itself is dry except for the sections you splash through. There is also an awesome banking rock wall near the bottom which is fun to hit at high speeds.
Accessed in two main ways, there isn't really a direct way to ride just Big Canyon unless you ride up from the trailhead at the car dealership and then turn about face to come back (not recommended as most people only ride down this trail). Big Canyon is better ridden as part of a loop either via Telegraph
to Big Canyon or from the other side of the mountain (out by the hospital) from Three Springs Trailhead to Grandview Ridge to Big Canyon.
Parking for the Telegraph
route is at the Horse Gulch Trailhead. This is the most common way of access. Parking for the Three Springs route is either at the hospital, the Three Springs Business district (free parking), or street parking by the apartments above the hospital. The Three Springs route provides easier access with much less of a climb. If you use Three Springs access ride up to the water tower above the hospital which connects with the Horse Gulch system via the Grandview Ridge. Grandview Ridge then connects to Big Canyon.
Big Canyon trail is not technical at all, just a fast, smooth, free-flowing descent providing miles of smiles the entire way. When ridden from Telegraph
, Big Canyon provides a nice payoff descent after the uphill grind Telegraph
puts you through. When ridden from Three Springs, you almost feel like you cheated because you get the amazing descent without as much of a climb. To cheat even further, shuttle with a friend, parking one car at the car dealership and then head back to either the Horse Gulch or Three Springs. If you don't shuttle you can ride either trails or pavement back to your starting point.
Big Canyon is a must ride trail if you find yourself in the Horse Gulch trail system.