Start the ride on Alien Run
with a nice warmup on dirt tread, swooping in and out of small arroyos just off the edge from the Hart Canyon rim. This eventually transitions to a mixture of slickrock and distinct trail.
After the optional "Black Hole" loop (an area that rolls around the convexities and concavities of the canyon edge), the route transitions again to slick rock with Moab-style paint arrows. Some are faded or missing so a bit of route finding may be needed. Throughout this section, there are lots of opportunities for sessioning.
At an intersection around 2.9 miles, you can turn left and do the 5-mile loop. Continue straight to follow along the rim.
Eventually, the trail leaves the rim and climbs up a canyon through boulders to reach a different elevated rim. This terrain change completely alters the character of the trail.
Around mile 4, the alleged "UFO Crash Site" is off to the left somewhere. Cue the "Close Encounters" soundtrack!
At 4.3 miles, you reach the Alien Run Outer Limits
intersection. Continue straight here and enjoy new surroundings with very different characteristics.
The beginning of this part of the ride head east and up a hill. The tread is coarse gravel and the grade considerable and much different from the rim riding.
Once over the hilltop, the benefits of a directional trail become apparent. There are no switchbacks on the downhill side... you just plunge down!
From here, the trail meanders north, skirting the edge of John Brown Canyon along high cliffs.
Beyond the canyon, the trail joins a road for about 700 feet. At the top of the hill, bear left and back onto the trail. Signage is pretty good. Watch out for fast-moving vehicles.
Now the trail turns back south, contouring along the base of a low escarpment. After a number of road crossings, the trail rejoins itself and closes the loop.
After rejoining Alien Run
, you'll be on the north side of the loop and away from the canyon rim. From here to the end of the ride, the trail is tight singletrack with swooping turns among pinons, with occasional sandy sections.