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Syncline Loop is a 8.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Moab, Utah that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and camping and is accessible year-round.

Length 8.6 mi Elevation gain 1,630 ft Route type Loop

Camping

Hiking

Running

Views

Wildlife

Scramble

Washed out

No shade

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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 and the Green River. 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. Go clockwise for a more gradual uphill journey back to the trailhead. If you'd like a bit of a challenge and don't mind very steep switchbacks at the end of your journey, try counter-clockwise.

Water and pit toilets available in parking area.

Canyonlands National Park 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 By Phone Visitor Information 435-719-2313

From visitors center drove to the upheaval dome parking area, trail head starts here.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (198)
Photos (284)
Recordings (130)
Completed (392)
Jenny Wadhwa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
HikingGreat!Off trailScramble

This is by far one of the beautiful hikes I have done in the US. The ever changing scenery and vast canyons make it a must-do in Moab. That said— My 22 yo brother and myself (19 yo) are athletes and still struggled physically with the elevation changes and rocky path, this is definitely not for the inexperienced hiker. We started at 6 am (saw the sunrise) and would not recommend started any later. Bring lots of water, snacks and enjoy :)

Andrew Kesselring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail! We underestimated how much boulder climbing there would be. It was a lot but doable with shoes with good tread. The trail can def be hard to follow if you’re not paying attention but there are cairns everywhere. If you’re on this trail and it’s been more than a minute since you’ve seen a cairn, you’ve probably wandered off the trail.

Steve Seidel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingScramble

Did the loop on 7/22 clockwise. Initial decent was not bad at all! My high milage old knees never complained. There are cairns everywhere so no worries about losing the trail. Just one small scramble section which is not bad when climbing up on the CW loop. We did the loop in 5 hrs on a perfect day with temps in the high 70’s

Joseph Lenoff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

If you’re hiking in the summer, bring a gallon of water and go as early as possible. We started walking at 7 am, and we were probably an hour late!

Michael Mezzatesta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

I went clockwise bc there seem to be more positive reviews on here from people who went clockwise! The first couple miles were definitely knee busters on the way down. It took me 4.5 hours total with one stop. If you’re crazy like me and you’re doing this in July, start as early as possible! The last couple hours were pretty brutal due to the heat, but luckily the incline wasn’t too bad. I didn’t make it into the crater, but will do it next time when it’s a better time of year. Bring lots of water.

View Michael's Recording
Patrick Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
HikingScramble
Dalton Simmons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

This is a great hike. A different type of hike compared to your normal beaten path, but we enjoyed this more. We decided to hike it clockwise and take the intense elevation change first and go down and then scramble going up instead of down. If you are going in the summer arrive very early otherwise it gets too hot. There are sections where you get shade and some without but prepare for a lot of sun. I packed 3.5 liters of water and used every bit by the end. We are avid hikers and clocked 9.3 miles in 5 hours with two snack breaks. The path can be confusing but follow the cairns, they are your best friends. We would absolutely do this hike again, and recommend it to other experienced hikers.

View Dalton's Recording
Marc Shumaker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 10, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

I solo-hiked this one clockwise, most people seem to do it the opposite way. Going clockwise means you have a very steep boulder scramble going up, and another steep semi-scramble. These sections would be downward scrambles going counter clockwise. Both ways require a few steep sections, but it never feels scary or dangerous, although physically taxing in spots. The trail remains interesting and beautiful throughout, even on the lower elevation sections.

View Marc's Recording
Becca Murdock
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 9, 2020
HikingScramble

We did this hike counterclockwise, and it was definitely more challenging than what I would anticipate clockwise would be. I agree a lot with what Sarah said 5 days ago. Bring lots of water and start in the morning, because it gets hot, especially if you’re going counterclockwise! Being a little afraid of heights myself, there were a few spots I felt nervous scrabbling, but it was doable! Navigation wise, the cairns are life savers! We actually ended up clocking close to 10 miles. It was full of diverse views and trail and so fun to be in the canyon. We felt pretty isolated even though it’s only a 9-10 mile loop! Not too many people were on the trail. I’d recommend this trail to others for sure!

Sarah-Louise Arnold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020
HikingNo shadeScramble

This is one of my absolute favorite trails. Hiked it on March 7, 2020 most recently. The title says closed but the park is back open though I would recommend holding off for cooler temps in the fall. If you love a challenge and also value your knees, I recommend going counter-clockwise. Yes, the climb at the end is a little daunting but I shutter to imagine pummeling my joints right off the bat and then hiking all the way around the loop. There is a short-ish section descending when going counterclockwise which has some consequences. That section would probably be best traveled uphill for someone who is more nervous of exposure (downhill is always scarier) . I can see why the park recommends clockwise but if you like a good physical challenge and aren’t turned off by scrambling a little downhill, counterclockwise is the way to go. Important to note: you cannot get a great view of the dome itself on this trail! If that’s what you want, do the overlooks instead or in addition. A spur trail takes you into the dome but it wasn’t really my favorite part of the hike.

Maria Burgess
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 13, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Great trail - completed clockwise on 3/12. It took us 4 hours and 15 minutes with no stops. I wouldn’t say that we are experienced hikers, but we are young (21 and 22) and had a lot of snacks prior to embarking on this hike, so we were adequately fueled! The trail was a great mix of sunny and shady; be sure to pack enough water. We loved climbing up the scrambles, but this might not be for everyone. A word of caution: there was a rattlesnake on the path that we narrowly avoided. Overall, a tough hike that left us feeling tired but accomplished! Would definitely hike again.

Michael P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 11, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Did it counterclockwise on 3/10. It took about 5.5 hours with some breaks throughout. This is not the toughest trail we’ve done but it did offer some challenges during the downhill bouldering sections. The climb out was modestly steep but there are ample stairs carved out of the rocks by the Park Service. The views during the hike are standard Utah spectacular. Would we do it again? Absolutely.

Curtis M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 24, 2020
HikingRockyScrambleSnow

Too cold and too much wind. Otherwise, would probably have been a really good hike. I hiked counter clockwise. And good thing, because the boulder scramble was ridiculous going down. Can’t imagine doing it going uphill. I think the trail crews just gave up trying to figure out how to route through this section. It was hard to tell for sure which way to go, and had to use my hands a lot to keep from losing my balance. Reaching the bottom, relatively flatter section, was a welcome relief. However, a lot of packed snow and slippery. I brought my chains and had to use them for about a mile. This section is shaded in February so not surprised it was snowy. Hiking back up, the trail was in much better condition. This is where the trail crews did all their work. Lots of “steps” cut into the steep sections. But still strenuous. The trailhead sign said to allow 6-8 hours. Took me about 5 1/2.

View Curtis's Recording
Gary Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 14, 2020
HikingRockyScrambleSnow
G Lollis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 23, 2019
Hiking

Did this strenuous hike counter clockwise to take advantage of the late afternoon sun on the accent on a 40ish degree day. Lite base layer and a wind breaker did the job fine. There is a rock scramble on the way down that is challenging, take your time. Take a break at the bottom for a snack. The walk back up a wash will warm you up and get you ready for a steep uphill back to the top. Long range views of your hike are rewarding.

View G's Recording
Shane Gesbeck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2019

Amazing trail. I did this solo in late November going clockwise and included the spur trail to the center of the crater. There were cairns to guide the way so staying on trail was no problem. This is a very strenuous trail. There is a section where you need to scramble over rocks on a steep incline and by going clockwise I went up this section. It took about six hours including the spur and stopping for lunch in the crater. The views and solitude were amazing.

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