Syncline Loop

HARD 49 reviews
#9 of 63 trails in

Syncline Loop is a 7.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Monticello, Utah that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and camping and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1538 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

camping

hiking

trail running

views

scramble

washed out

no dogs

Loop trail around Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park: Islands in the Sky This strenuous backcountry route follows the washes on either side of Upheaval Dome. Spur trails partway around the loop provide access to the center of the crater (3 mi/4.8 km) and the Green River (7 mi/11.2 km.) Total elevation change is roughly 1,300 feet. The north side of the loop passes through a riparian area where water and shade are usually available. There is one designated campsite along the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Wow that was awesome!! Going clockwise along the rock, down a long section of steep switchbacks and stairs, through scree and sand along the bottom, scrambling up and down rocks before making its way back to the top. Weather was perfect, and I had time for two other short hikes and lots of gawking at views to boot. =)

Definitely 8.2 miles. There are signs clearly stating this at the trailhead. Plenty of cairns marked the way very clearly.

hiking
1 month ago

Started the hike late in the day, so only went to the "split" and then turned back (The Devil you know is better when you are chasing sunlight hours). Will definately complete this hike on my next trip to Canyonlands. Was fantastic. Started clockwise, as others have stated. Well marked with cairns and footpaths.

hiking
1 month ago

Go clockwise! Did it in 5.5 hrs but in a poor health condition.

WOW is all I can say. One of my favorite hikes ever. I did the hike alone in November so weather was perfect and I didn’t encounter another person until the last hour of the hike. I had 3L plus of water and it lasted me the whole hike. Per my GPS watch the 8.3 mile estimate seemed short of the mark, but I still completed the hike in about 5 hours with plenty of stops for pics along the way (I am relatively fit and determined, but no iron man). Scenery changed the whole hike and the best part was standing at the meeting point of the opposite legs of the trail (as marked by the trail sign) with the 360 degree panorama of the scenery. Truly stunning.

I hiked the trail clockwise which was great for avoiding a tough hike up the switchbacks at the end. Trail is pretty well marked and I only got off course a couple times (and easily found my way back). Also, although I love scrambling/bouldering, I am not a fan of significant heights at all and definitely found a couple parts very challenging as a result. However, for me overcoming the fear inducing points made the trail even more satisfying. After all, that’s the sacrifice and reward of the outdoors!

2 months ago

We did the hike clockwise. Would recommend doing it this direction (unless you want steep punishment at the end of a long hike). Not “Colorado 14’er” strenuous, but a pretty decent workout. Great views and good variety. Mostly good footing. Some skree, sand, and a little scrambling. Nothing major. It is the best hike we did in Canyonlands.

2 months ago

Easily the best hike we did in Canyonlands!!! It was tough and required some careful stepping up and down rocks, but the geography changed so much that it was constantly interesting ! We did it backwards which made us hike up the stairs at the end .. the toughest part of the whole trip but it was the most rewarding!! I'd rate it a 9/10 !! Took us about 6.5 hours, bring lots of food and water! Your energy gets really depleted!

hiking
3 months ago

Fantastic hike!! If you are going in the afternoon, go clockwise, for afternoon shade which almost takes you into this other world. It was absolutely gorgeous. Stunning views of the canyon. If you go clockwise there is a steep initial descent, and then a pretty steep ascent around mile 4-4.5 which is probably the hardest part but its fun. A lot of exposure so take a lot of water and snacks.

4 months ago

It's 14 km loop, not 11. Hard, no shade. You must take a lot of water.

hiking
5 months ago

Really fun hike! Loved the scramble boulder section. You encounter Very few others

Great views along the way of the surrounding crater from the outside, and an awesome Boulder scrambling section.

hiking
8 months ago

This hike was AWESOME. The views are breathtaking along the entire hike; both up top looking down and along the canyon looking up.

That said, I'm sure you, the Alltrail member reading this, are experienced enough for this hike. If you're taking people with you, though, make sure they are also as capable. This is a challenging and potentially dangerous trail. The park-guide notes that the majority of rescues occur on this trail, and that's not a surprise after hiking it.

My wife and I took my parents, who are in their mid 50s and work-out 5-days per week. They are in better shape than us. That said, this hike was at the edge of my mother's ability, and we didn't make sure they brought enough water, making it a bit more challenging than it needed to be.

The clockwise descent at the beginning is steep switchbacks into the canyon. The clockwise ascent at about the 4-mile point, just after the crater trail spur-off, is fun and just scary enough to get your adrenaline going. It's not for those scared of heights, as there are a few exposed spots. The scrambling is more flat-incline scrambling than bouldering, but there is a little shimmying and climbing around boulders.

As an east-cost hiker, my biggest suggestion here is to take at least 2-liters of water each. I've done a similar 7-9 mile 2000+ foot trails (Old Rag is a good example) with a Liter per person, but slightly under-estimated the desert sun and dry-air sweat evaporation. My parents only brought 1L each, ran out at 4-5 miles, and put some stress on my wife and I by rationing the group on the return-ascent.

All in all, Amazing hike! Be Cautious and Prepared and you'll have an amazing time!

hiking
8 months ago

I completed Syncline Loop on May 1. It was sunny and about 70 degrees at the trailhead. It felt 10 degrees warmer at the bottom of the canyon. I consumed every drop of 3 liters of water that I brought with me. Clockwise direction is recommended since it provides nice shade in some parts of the latter half of the trail. There is a sign at the beginning of the trail warning that the trail is strenuous and difficult to follow. The strenuous part is certainly accurate, but there are plenty of cairns to show you the way.

hiking
8 months ago

Hike was totally worth the effort. Great views of the surrounding canyon walls. Exposed climbs on steep areas that gets the heart pumping (with a bit of fear too). Did it clockwise which I recommend because I find it easier to go up the really steep areas - you dont have to look down! It is a strenuous hike but the warnings about trail being hard to follow are wrong. The cairns are placed wonderfully and the trail is well boot marked.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike! Went clockwise as it was recommended for an afternoon hike. The initial downhill leads to a spectacular opening to the canyon and the view is unbelievable. I liked going clockwise because it gave me a chance to climb UP some pretty cool parts of the trail. Lots of rock scrambling/bouldering in the middle of the hike as mentioned by another reviewer, it's so much fun!! That being said, this IS a strenuous trail, I can see how it would be difficult and exhausting for inexperienced hikers and possibly those with less than adequate cardiac endurance. Be sure to bring enough water and snacks!
Would love to go into the dome next time. This is a great trail and I highly recommend you check it out when you're out at Canyonlands!

9 months ago

They have a sign that tells you difficult and strenuous. They are NOT lying !! They suggest going counter clockwise but if I did it again I would go clockwise. Who ever marked this trail with cairns did an awesome job. You would spend a lot of time trail finding without the cairns. It is a gorgeous and fun trail.

9 months ago

want to get away for some quiet geology geek time?...here it is in a loop trail!!! keep an eye on the cairns and dont forget your water. passed one spring(potable?...wouldnt tempt it...) in september '16 on the north side, watched by a mountain goat. start by going left early in the day to be in shadow for much of the hike - it helps, this is a tricky hike with some fun bouldering. channel your inner Abbey and let the silence speak to you on this one

hiking
Saturday, November 26, 2016

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.

hiking
Monday, November 21, 2016

I love love loved this trail. I hiked it in November, so Sun and heat were less of an issue...the middle section of the hike is a lot of fun rock-scrambling- I liked doing that part on the uphill, which was doing the loop clockwise.

Friday, November 18, 2016

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.

hiking
Friday, November 11, 2016

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!

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