Explore the best trails near Monticello with detailed reviews, photos, trail maps, and driving directions curated by hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
off road driving
Great trail. Definitely some climbing involved. My wife and I did the trail counterclockwise to end with the aggressive climb. We were happy to do it this way as we usually like to hike up the steeper inclines. Most of the steep incline out of the canyon had steps set into the cliff side as well and made the elevation gains a bit easier.
Jared H. on Syncline Loop
Solid trail. Be sure to bring enough water, my girlfriend and I had 2L each in the winter and were ok but would have been more comfortable with more.
My lovely lady and I did the loop last week in just over 4 hours and we were not disappointed! The trail was intense in a few places, and the views you take in while hiking are incredible. We highly recommend this one if you have the time and energy. Good shoes and extra socks are a must have too. And don't forget the snacks!
Recently I ran this trail during the Easter Jeep Safari in my Toyota FJ Cruiser (very modified). It was definitely not for the faint of heart. Not a beginners trail and not one I would recommend going on my yourself even if your rig is pretty modified (at least not by yourself the first time). The most major obstacle is a spot Hamburger Hill, a tough rock garden that requires careful wheel placement. Expect scraping on rock sliders and skid plates and even bumpers. And be willing to take body damage as there are outcropping rocks at some points that could cause side damage to your vehicle.
One of my favorite hikes to date! We did this loop counter-clockwise, which I would recommend if you don't mind doing the longer climb at the end. Also gives you great views entering & exiting the canyon when hiked this way. I thought the boulder fields were fun, and the stretches of sandy washes provided perfect rests in between steep sections.
The park measures it at 8.3 miles and recommends 6-8 hours and 4 liters of water for the hike. My GPS tracker clocked us in at about 8.5 miles, and we busted it out in 4 hours. I could definitely see it taking 6-8 hours in hotter weather or for those who take steep sections slowly and don't plan to haul it in the flats. Overall, really fun hike with great views and a trail that keeps you interested!
This is an both an interesting and challenging hike/ climb. Most of this trail is not level. That is to say that you are not just going up hill and downhill but the path is tilted such that one foot is higher than the other. Some of this is much like walking on a slanted rooftop. Other times there are some pretty steep climbs. It's all good but just be prepared.
Last thing to know is the trail is a couple miles longer than advertised (9+ miles) with more elevation than advertised too (see my track history). The loop itself does not provide views of the interior of upheaval dome so if you are interested in seeing that add another mile to your total as there is a lookout path near the trailhead.
I have done this route a couple of times over the years. Just did it again enroute from New Mexico to Salt Lake, Utah. Rec. opportunities are all but endless along this route. I try to stop and see at least one on the way and always wish I could spend a week.
I absolutely loved this hike despite the fact I twisted my ankle twice on the way round. The trail takes you down to the bottom of the canyon then around into the center of an impact crater! There is a camping spot where the three canyons and mouth of the crater meet. I did not get a chance to camp here but it is something on my 'must do list'. I took a right from the trailhead which seemed like a mistake seeing there is a 1500 foot climb out of the canyon floor you have to do at the end of the hike. I feel it'd be easier to make a left, descend into the canyon at once and then climb out over the boulder field section and the ascent up seemed like it would be more tame.
This trail is NOT recommended if you have a fear of heights...which I do and had a VERY difficult time scrambling down the boulder field. Talked in depth with a Park Ranger prior to the hike so we started to the right of the trail head in order to save our knees knowing that other side of the trail was very steep. Now knowing how steep the boulder field is, there's no way I would've been able to climb up that section. The trail is incredibly beautiful but as we were climbing out the steep switchbacks, it felt as if the trail was never going to end.