Last updated: October 6, 2022
Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Trailhead
The Big Rock Candy Mountain Loop Trail goes south through Marysvale Canyon and back through Long Valley. The portion through Marysvale Canyon is paved until you reach the Whistle Point Trailhead near the big Rock Candy Mountain Resort, where many amenities are available. From there the rest of the trail is unpaved trail and dirt roads until you return to the paved portion further north at the highway 89. ATVs are prohibited on the paved section but are allowed on the historical unpaved portion.
Back in the early to mid-1800s, traders along the Old Spanish Trail reached a difficult decision when they approached this section of trail. They had to decide to take Long Valley or Marysvale Canyon, both having advantages and disadvantages. The canyon followed the river, which was a crucial resource for travelers and their mules but was extremely difficult to pass due to the thick vegetation and rushing water leaving little space for travel. Long Valley was open and easier to traverse but was longer and lacked water. Ultimately the pack mule caravans chose Long Valley because they could rejoin the river after only a day.
The mountain itself was named after the song by Harry McClintlock in 1928. Known for its interesting caramel yellow color and beauty, this cluster of hills was named after a group of early Utah residents, who after hearing the song, placed a sign at the base where the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort sits today. The same group named a nearby spring “Lemonade Spring,” which name has also stuck and is now a local popular spot.
Location (2727-2747 Sevier Hwy, Sevier, UT 84766)
The trailhead is in Sevier, Utah, right next to highway 89. This section of the Old Spanish Trail follows the Northern route as pack mule traders traded good between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. The trailhead has ample parking and restrooms, along with a trail sign and other interpretation providing information about the old railroad that used to run through the canyon.
The paved path heads south through Marysvale Canyon and is five miles long. It is mostly downhill and is rated as easy. It follows right beside the river and provides a cool breeze and shade from the canyon walls depending on the time of day. Grasses, shrubs, and trees surround you for most of this portion of the trail. As you head down the path you can see an old tunnel that was used for the railroad but has now since been abandoned.
The unpaved portion begins at the Whistle Point Trailhead near the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort. This path is 19 miles long, rated as moderate to strenuous, and offers a harder challenge than the paved portion. The valley provides a more open space allowing for a wider viewshed of the area, especially at the valley overlook point indicated on the map. Vegetation is sparser here due to lack of abundant water, but shrubs and cottonwood trees are still prevalent.
Sevier County - Big Rock Candy Mountain Bike Trailhead Exhibit Audio Description
Listen to the audio description of the Sevier County - Big Rock Candy Mountain Bike Trailhead exhibit.
Exhibit 1 of 2 The exhibits are mounted on a large metal kiosk. There is a flat metal silhouette of traders and pack mules with small shrubs on top of the kiosk. The panel is 48 inches wide and 36 inches high. Title: Finding Passage. The exhibit has black and gray topographic line banners along the top and bottom. There is text on the upper left and center section of the panel along with a map to the right side. A large photograph shows snowcapped mountains and a sunlit green valley in the background, with a shadowed snowy hill filled with dark green shrubs in the foreground. Above the mountains is a clear blue sky. Primary Text: Traders could make a lot of money transporting woven goods from Santa Fe to Los Angeles and returning with mules and horses to sell. Caravans had to choose whether to travel through Long Valley, situated just east of where you are standing, or Marysvale Canyon, directly ahead. Choosing the route through the canyon was tempting, but the steady path through the valley where they later rejoined the water, was a better choice. Secondary Text: Choosing Wisely. While the trail through Long Valley increased the overall length of the journey and lacked water, it was easier to travel through than Marysvale Canyon. Caravans could later rejoin the Sevier River near the town of Marysvale. Map: The map shows the different routes that could be taken once caravans reached this section of the trail. Satellite imagery shows the paths through Marysvale Canyon and Long Valley from an aerial perspective. The path through Long Valley follows the Old Spanish Trail, while the path through Marysvale Canyon breaks away heading east from the trail at the town of Joseph and rejoins it further south at Marysvale. Features for more information: Beneath the map there are two blocks containing text and QR codes. Text block 1 with QR code: Learn more and these sites. https://www.nps.gov/olsp/index.htm Text block 2 with QR code: Audio description available go.nps.gov/BigRockCandyMountainTH
- Date created:
Bottom Banner: Text: Explore the Old Spanish Trail.
Exhibit 2 of 2 Title: Hit the Trail! The background of the exhibit has gray topographic lines on a black background with two thin red banners along the top and bottom. There are blocks of text, a small, captioned map, and a large trail map. Primary Text: The trail network known collectively as the Old Spanish Trail originates from a combination of indigenous footpaths and early trade and exploration routes. Traveling through this rugged environment was risky but worth the rich rewards one could obtain from trading valuable goods. Bikers can follow the historic route through Long Valley along the Old Spanish Trail and back through Marysvale Canyon. ATVs can travel on the unpaved portions of the trail. Small Map: The map shows the four routes of the Old Spanish Trail across the Western United States, spanning from New Mexico to California. The different routes, the Northern Route, the Armijo Route, the Northern Branch, and the Mojave Road, converge and separate at various places along the trail. Along the trail, major cities are labeled. A red square indicates that you are on the Northern Route section in Central Utah. Caption: For 20 years, Mexican and American traders traveled different routes linking Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, which were a part of Northern Mexico during this time. The first Old Spanish mule caravan in 1829 took the southern Armijo Route, but later parties chose the Northern Route for its easier passages and more abundant grass and water resources. Travelers from Taos, New Mexico, used the North Branch. Large Map: This is a trail map of the bike loop going through Marysvale Canyon and Long Valley, between the town of Joseph to the north, and Marysvale to the south. The background is a gray hillshade layer showing the topography of the area. A large ‘YOU ARE HERE’ indicates that the reader is at the Big Rock Candy Mountain Trailhead where restrooms and interpretation are located. Heading south through the canyon, a solid brown line following highway 89 indicates the trail is paved until reaching the Whistle Point Trailhead where bathrooms and interpretation are also available. After this trailhead there is a dotted line going eastward then back north indicating the trail here is unpaved until it rejoins the highway. A thin red line symbolizing the Old Spanish National Historic Trail aligns with the unpaved portion of the bike path through Long Valley. Below the primary text and the maps there are two blocks of secondary text. Secondary Title 1: Respect and Protect Text: • Travel responsibly • Respect the rights of others • Educate yourself • Avoid sensitive areas • Do your part For more information visit treadlightly.org Secondary Title 2: Need to Know Text: The paved portion of the bike loop extends from the junction of Sevier Highway and Ross Lane to Whistle Point Trailhead. The remainder of the loop is unpaved. From the southernmost point there is an optional 2.5 mile ride along the road into Marysvale where amenities are available. It is recommended that riders start by heading into Long Valley first then loop back using the paved trail through Marysvale Canyon. Paved Portion: Length - 6.5 miles. Difficulty – Easy Unpaved Portion: Length - 19.8 miles. Difficulty - Moderate to Strenuous Bottom Red Banner:
Text Block with QR code: Travel the trail with the Explorer app to go on a self-guiding adventure! Maps can be downloaded and used offline.
A black silhouette is set to the right of the text block. It shows a man with a cowboy hat sitting on top of a pack mule, with two other mules behind him in line attached by ropes.