Gooseberry Trail is a 4.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Moab, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Island in the Sky Visitor Center: Drive 6.25 miles southward on the Main Island Road. At the junction of Upheaval Dome/Grand View Roads bear left toward Grand View Point. Continue traveling five miles, past the Buck Canyon Overlook, to the Grand View Point Picnic Area.
Very steep decent with a lot of switchbacks. If you're not in top shape or are afraid of heights stay off this trail. Very challenging but the decent into the canyon gives you an amazing view.
Amazing views, well worth the descent into the canyon. A bit hard to find routes into gooseberry canyon but still a great hike
I went on this trip and originally planned on doing the Gooseberry - Dogleg Loop, but due to lack of planning on my part we were unable to drop down to the Colorado river for the Dogleg Loop par. Instead we ended up with the Gooseberry trail and it was still a great trip. You have to have a back country permit for this trip if you plan on staying overnight. Please note this is not the permit that will reserve the Gooseberry Campground, but you are able to camp anywhere outside of the campground with your permit.
This trail is difficult as stated. To start you Drop off Island in the Sky at the trail head and descend very quickly. The trail is clearly marked, and with the support of hiking poles, you keep yourself balanced with limited skidding. The trail was long and steady as but some parts have larger rocks to maneuver over, but nothing that an ordinary person couldn't handle.
Once you reach the end of the 1200 ft decent you end up in a dry river bed. This is a very wide path and much cooler as you are surrounded by the canyon at this point. This is a dry river bed, so walking can seem difficult if you are not used to the loose gravel. This trail is clearly marked as well, there are stacked stones, I encourage anyone to help keep these trials marked by fixing or replacing any missing markers.
As soon as you come to the end of the river bed, you immediately see the 4x4 road of the White Rim District. You continue to your right and you will run into the Gooseberry Campground (with a restroom). There is one shaded area at this campground, so if it is empty, it is a great place to take a quick rest. The Gooseberry Campground is reserved by permit, and with my experience, most of the people reserving this area are mountain bike tours. Some are very friendly and welcoming, but some, as with everywhere are very entitled and rude. There are markers for the campground, so if you have a back country permit, you will need to sleep outside of these markers. We kept close to the restrooms because they were convenient, but I wouldn't recommend this in hindsight because the mountain bike groups get pretty loud.
As I stated above, we planed on continuing down to the Dogleg Loop section of our our original trip, but I forgot to mark the GPS coordinates and we were unable to find the slab decent to continue down to the Colorado River. You can do this trip in one day, but we planned on taking three, so we took our time walking around the canyon and found beautiful areas to rest and take the scenery all in.
In the end upon returning on our third day to ascend back up the 1200 ft hike back to the car, I was pretty happy I didn't find the decent to the Colorado River because the hikes back up the Canyon walls are very tiresome. With this being my first backpacking trip I had high hopes and it ended up being an awesome starter trip, it is difficult, but well worth it.