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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
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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 (204)
Photos (300)
Recordings (142)
Completed (413)
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Kaeli Caldwell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
Hiking

Went clockwise starting at 8:30am. Hardly anyone on the trail the entire time. First third was in the shade. The second half was pretty varied and I had fun traversing the boulders.

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Andrew Pham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

Going clockwise, the last half was difficult with all the scrambling and constant climbing and descending rocks. But so worth it for the variety!

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Lynette Pierson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
WalkingGreat!

Awesome hike! Incredible views and constantly changing scenery. Best hike we did in Canyonlands. Nice lunch spot at the dry falls after the Boulder field. That said, take precautions. Start early and do it clockwise for afternoon sun at your back. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, hat and hiking boots with good tread.

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Mark Booker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

We expected a hard trail to follow based on what we read on other websites but the Park Service did a great job marking the trail. As stated in other posts, make sure to bring plenty of water. Great hike.

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sean v
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking
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Mary Abd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020
HikingGreat!Scramble

2 people needed rescue

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Kevin B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

I read a lot about this being super difficult and hard to navigate but didn't find it to be either. The entire loop was well marked and for the most part wasn't that difficult. Some sections (like the boulder field near the north end) were slower going and then of course the ascent back to the start, but that is to be expected. I went CCW in the afternoon sun (the hotter way to do it) and also went the 1.5 miles ea way into the crater, for 3 hr 30 min total time. I would budget 4-5 hours for the typical person if you include the crater spur, 3-4 hours for just the loop. I will say that I did pass what looked to be a mom/son combo going the other way in the boulder field (about halfway around), and the mother was around 60 years old. I hope they made it back around ok as it seemed she was struggling. Know what you are getting into and prepare! I will also say that although it was good because it was at least more diverse and challenging than other trails in Island of the Sky, you really didn't get very good views anywhere. When I was in the crater you are just walking up a drainage, so you don't have a good sense of where you are in the crater. And when you are on the loop you are outside/below the crater rim, so have no views of the crater.

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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 :)

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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Patrick Robinson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
HikingScramble
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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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