Squawflat Loop is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hanksville, Utah that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.
off road driving
If you're connecting to Elephant Hill Path, make sure your are on the lookout for the cairns! We got lost for a while before realizing we had to take a sharp right turn to go up and over the canyon
So much to do, one of my favorite places in the world.
From the Arches NP entrance (after an early morning walk down Park Avenue), we took a right on 191 then a left on Hwy 313, passing the entrance to Dead Horse Point State Park on the left, and getting to Canyonland's Islands in the Sky District Visitor’s Center pretty quickly (34 mi./40 minutes). We were on top of a plateau, or islands with canyons all around, a mesa resting on sheer cliffs. The 12-mile main road plus a 5-mile side road enabled us to see all the overlooks. Canyonlands is divided into Islands in the Sky to the north, the Needles district to the south, and the Maze district to the west (the place where Aron Ralston lost his arm in a slot canyon – the movie “127 hours.”) Our first stop was the Mesa Arch Trail, a half-mile loop that looked menacing as a Raven greeted us by the sign as we got out of the van. After hiking along a path in the middle of the high desert among prickly pear cacti, the world opens up into a wide and deep canyon in front of us. At the trail’s halfway point is Mesa Arch, definitely one of the highlights of this district, as the arch reveals a wide, narrow window straight down the cliff into the canyon – lots of photographs here. Located on the edge of the rim and making a dramatic frame for the desert below, the arch added strong winds blowing upwards as we peered over the edge through the hole. This arch has no guardrails so be careful. Next, we headed for Grandview Point overlook at the end of the main road. The overlook is wide and has great views of the canyons along the Colorado River. The point is 1,000 feet above the plateau, which is another 1,000 feet above the Colorado. There is also an exposed trail along the cliffs called the Grand View Trail, which has the best views in the park – similar to the views at the overlook. We also stopped at the White Rim Overlook, which gave us a great view of the White Rim Road around the canyons (100-mile, 2 day trip for 4WD vehicles on the edge of the rim at 1,000 feet above the rivers). Due to time constraints, we skipped the .75-mile White Rim Overlook trail; it has great views of Monument Valley and the river. We turned left to see the Green River overlook, which is a newer facility with concrete, nice railings and great views of the canyons and rivers below. The Green River looks clean while the Colorado is muddy (the confluence mixes the two). Our next highlight was Upheaval Dome Overlook, which brought us to a spectacular geological formation – a mile-wide crater of mysterious origins, possibly a meteorite that caused a big splash of minerals when it hit or a salt dome that originated from within the earth. Next time at Islands of the Sky, we can climb Whale Rock – a 1-mile RT with handrails to help with the 100 ft. climb to the top of the whale’s back. We briefly stopped in the VC on the way out as some storms were closing in from the west.
The next day from Moab, we drove down 191 toward the Canyonlands Needles District. We drove by Wilson Arch, and 40 miles south of Moab, at Church Rock, we took a right onto Hwy 211, leading straight into Needles. The drive seems like forever (34 mi.), there are plateaus on both sides of the road, and we almost ran over a gopher snake. The most noticeable characteristic about this park is that there it’s very remote. We passed by Roadside Ruin Trail, and our first stop was Cave Spring Trail, a really nice short hike. We finally saw some other visitors – again, this is a remote area. We probably should have hiked the Pothole Point Tr. as we had a hard time actually viewing the Needles and this trail offers dramatic views of Needles and 6 Shooter Peak. We also could have hiked the Slickrock Foot Trail, a 2.4-mile loop that leads to four exciting viewpoints but takes about three hours. The viewpoints show off the stair-step topography of the area, from its colorful canyons and cliffs to its flat mesas and striped needles. The 4 viewpoints are Six-shooter Peaks, La Sal and Abajo Mtns. and the Needles overlook. Instead, we drove to the end of the park road to the Big Spring Canyon Overlook – we went to the end of the cliffs and climbed around on top – the end is a plateau of rock pinnacles surrounded by a walled canyon wash; there is also a 5.5 mile one-way hike to Confluence Overlook, which is only 500 feet above the Colorado and Green River Junction, but we skipped it. We viewed the Needles from a distance from the Squaw Flat campground at the base of Elephant Hill (another hike we passed on) and also saw Shoe Rock (looks like a wooden shoe) from a distance. After that we returned to Hwy 211, and drove the 35 miles back out to 191S. Next time will take more time to visit, as there is a lot to see. Great NP to visit!
Not as heavily visited as Arches so your chances of some solitude on the trails is greater. Beautiful views everywhere you look.
Great National Park near Moab, UT. It has three different districts. The Island in the Sky and the Needles districts are the most accessible and have some great hiking trails, and scenic drives.
We did the Needles district and the island in the Sky on different days. both are worth a day or two. Get out of the car and hike, even the short trails offer awesome scenery. Headed back in the spring to spend more time in the backcountry.
Love Canyonlands NP. It's divided into three separate section by the Green and Colorado rivers. Each section a little different each other. All of them are amazing.
My first backpacking trip and it was amazing... make sure you bring water though almost dies out there.
Breathtaking views near Moab, Utah, you might wanna have your videocamera! Drove over from Dillon, Colorado and did Arches National Park, too...all in one July day! Not a cloud in the sky, it was awesome to say the least!
Doing the scenic drives point to point is the first and smallest feature of Canyonlands National Park. There are several small-ish hikes to do at each parking area and each one is amazing and worth the time.
My recommendations are the hike at the Grand Overlook and the Upheaval Dome hike. Both offer the most bang for your viewing pleasure. It's like no other place on planet Earth.