Gooseberry Trail

HARD 25 reviews
#15 of 68 trails in

Gooseberry Trail is a 4.2 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, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

4.2 miles
1,548 feet
Out & Back



nature trips




no shade

no dogs

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.

1 hour ago

Beautiful view hiking down. Loose and slippery rocks made for a slower decent but well worth it

3 months ago

This hike will test your endurance! Most of the elevation is in the first mile. Although a shorter hike (distance), make sure to bring enough water. It is fully exposed in the afternoon, and with the hot sun and the return ascent back up, we drank much more water than we usually would on a hike that short of a distance.

3 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. But it is not for the faint of heart. The mileage shown here is inaccurate, probably due to the extremely tight switchbacks going down the canyon. The NPS map says 5.4 round trip.

The majority of the elevation gain/decrease is in the first 1.3 miles of the trip. I don’t love hiking down as my knees aren’t the best. But the view as you hike down is unbelievable. It actually took us longer to hike down than up due to the fact that we stopped for photos and were cautious about the terrain.

Once down, the wash was enjoyable and mellow. It took us an hour and 20 to get down. An hour going down the canyon and 20 in the wash. We got back out in an hour total. 20 in the wash and 37 minutes hiking up the canyon. I was surprised at how fast we made it up given how long it took to get down. But it was strenuous. And at the end we had the greatest sense of accomplishment.

4 months ago

This is an awesome trail down the side of a canyon (1400 feet in I believe less than a mile). The walk down the wash to the White Rim was a really nice break before the trek back up.
Moving time was around 2 hours, including taking pictures and looking around the rim. Poles recommended.

7 months ago

Great, fun, and short canyon hike. Little bit of scramble when leaving the canyon but its a fun one! Views at the bottom around the white rim make the walk through the wash worth it!

8 months ago

Great hike down, lots of scrambling on the way up (fun fun fun!). The wash was fairly unremarkable as far as washes go, but getting to the white rim was cool. There were a few mountain bikers and cars on the white rim, so it was neat to see "the other side" of an adventure. I took some time to walk around the white rim. Wish I would have planned better - I could have gone down one trail, walked the white rim, then walked up a different trail. Something to think about for my next trip out. Started at 730am, and with stops, walk on rim, and sun salutations, I still made it up by 10:30...which was a little shocking to me.

10 months ago

Excellent trail, highly recommended.

I got up and down in 3:50, with a 20 minutes stop at the bottom (so 3:30 walking time) and I am fit but no superstar. Excellent views and a great place to stop for lunch. Great to see IitS from a different vantage point. Very peaceful and with lots of solitude. Only saw 2 other groups on the hike.

As the other reviews mention this is a challenging hike. The bigger challenge is consistently putting your feet into good positions as slipping could be fatal. I could have gone faster, but rushing isn't a good idea. Make sure you were sturdy boots with rubber soles. I wouldn't even think about doing this on a day when it has rained or could rain.

I would recommend not taking anyone who is 'on the fence' about going. If a lot of exertion and hiking steep trails is your thing you'll enjoy this - a more casual hiker on vacation might not. I wouldn't recommend it for children at all. In terms of exposure, I didn't feel that exposed for a lot of the hike but was acutely aware a big tumble could end in serious injury or could be fatal so took my time, and would recommend anyone do the same.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Very challenging hike, the steepest in Canyonlands. I did this after a rare rainstorm and there was a lot of rock scree on the trail, so had to be extra careful with foot placements. If you're in good shape, sub 4 hrs is very do-able.

Friday, June 16, 2017

WOW! This kicked our butt! We are in our late 50's and hike a lot. Completing this gave us that exhausted satisfied feeling! The trail is loose, but well maintained. You really need to be observant as you make your way down. Some places are just dirt, and you can slide very easily. The views as you make your way down are is the! Coming back was challenging. The 90+ degree heat made it more exhausting. We started out about 8, the heat comes early in the Summer. We finished and sat in the car for about 20 minutes, thinking"Wow Babyboomers Rock". Saw another older couple killing it too! Do this hike!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Awesome hike! The trek down is no joke and very steep but the views are spectacular and you feel accomplished hiking out

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Loved this trail. You are climbing down a cliff, so the way back up will definitely test your endurance! Quite a work out. Trail is in great shape and the views are awesome when you get down to the White Rim

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Amazing views. Really. The trail is steep and technical, but surprisingly well maintained as steep trails go. At times you can't believe there is actually a path down (or up) due to the steepness of sheer cliffs. Yet this just adds to the fun of the adventure. Never did we feel unsafe, but perhaps did experience bit of vertigo. And by the end you'll think: "I climbed that?" A great alternative to the Lathrop trail. Faster decent. Took 4 hours with a 30 minute break at the bottom. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Amazing views, well worth the descent into the canyon. A bit hard to find routes into gooseberry canyon but still a great hike

Thursday, July 05, 2012

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.

1 month ago

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11 months ago

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

recorded gooseberry

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Friday, June 03, 2016