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Squaw Flat and Big Spring Canyon Loop

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Canyonlands National Park

Squaw Flat and Big Spring Canyon Loop is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Monticello, Utah that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 6.6 miles Elevation Gain: 656 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome hike and views. Secluded. Some scrambling.

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Challenging secluded hike with great views. Our best hiking while visiting the Big 5 National Parks for the last 10 days.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice but not the best hike around. Some views, but nothing overwhelming, except passing that high point. Prepare for some sand too

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail Monday October 8 2019, counter clockwise using the Big Spring trail then connecting to the Squaw Flat trail. From the saddle at the connection of the two it was a terrifying hike down the side of the sandstone cliff to continue on the side of the cliff following the cairns down into the canyon. I was scared to death and my husband had to talk me through it. One misstep and one would roll off the sandstone cliff into the canyon; returning the direction we came would have been just as precarious trying to get off of the sandstone ledges. If we had known it would be so dangerous, we would not have done that portion of the hike. We are both seasoned hikers, and are careful. (We just hiked Hope Lake in Telluride last Friday with no issues). I’m 65 and my husband 69. We did not feel safe on the connection part of the Big Spring/Squaw Flat trail. Maybe the young people like the dangerous situations, but I prefer to be as safe as possible.

hiking
Wed Jun 26 2019

June 26, 2019. There is no reliable water on trail

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
Sun Apr 21 2019

We did this trail combined with Chessler Park. Started at Elephant Hill and made our way to Chessler Park. There is some scrambling to get to Chessler Park. Very little shade along the way as you traverse a couple meadows to get to Chessler which is a large meadow. Once in Chessler, the views are spectacular as you are in the middle of the ‘needles.’ At this point, we turned and headed back toward the Druid’s Arch trail and then turned toward Squaw Canyon. Be careful — there are signs that point in different directions to Squaw Canyon Camp Ground and Squaw Canyon CG/Elephant Hill. You want to make a left toward Squaw Canyon Camp Ground. This part of the trek is challenging as you ascend from low to high. The views are spectacular! You will do a fair amount of scrambling and traverse two ladders during this portion of the hike. Eventually, you will make your way back down off the canyon ledge and back onto a flat trail. There is a little more scrambling as you head back to Elephant Hill. This was a 14 mile hike that took approximately 7 hours to complete. Bring plenty of water and start early.

hiking
Tue Aug 14 2018

We did the Big Spring Canyon to Squaw Canyon loop, which I'd describe as perfectly pleasant but not mind-blowing. The highlight for us was climbing out of Big Spring Canyon at roughly the halfway point – definitely a fantastic place to stop for lunch. Some shade (especially in Big Spring) but not a ton. Only saw one other person on a Thursday morning in August. Decent bathrooms at the trailhead.

hiking
Sat Jul 22 2017

Beautiful hike through varied terrain. Take plenty of water!

hiking
Mon Jun 05 2017

Awesome canyon views. Bring lots of water

Fri Sep 23 2016

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

Thu Jun 09 2016

Needles Overlook

hiking
Sat Mar 19 2016

So much to do, one of my favorite places in the world.

scenic driving
Thu Mar 10 2016

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!

hiking
Thu Jul 09 2015

Not as heavily visited as Arches so your chances of some solitude on the trails is greater. Beautiful views everywhere you look.

hiking
Tue May 05 2015

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.

hiking
Fri Oct 31 2014

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.

ohv/off road driving
Sun Nov 10 2013

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.

hiking
Sun Jul 31 2011

My first backpacking trip and it was amazing... make sure you bring water though almost dies out there.

scenic driving
Thu Feb 24 2011

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!

scenic driving
Thu Jan 13 2011

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.

recorded Recording - Jun 25, 9:09 PM

hiking
13 days ago

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