Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Syncline Loop

HARD 148 reviews
#10 of 78 trails in

Syncline Loop is a 8.6 mile moderately 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, trail running, and camping and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,630 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

running

views

wildlife

scramble

washed out

no shade

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 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.

hiking
scramble
13 days ago

Took this loop counterclockwise (CC). Have not hiked this clockwise so can’t compare the two directions, just reviewing our route. Chose CC direction primarily to avoid long and steep down hill section due to knee issues. Preferred to tackle the 5 miles of more gradual down hill which was pretty easy and scenic in the morning. Mostly Shaded or sun at your back for most of the first 4 miles. Canyon walls in front of you are brilliantly lit up by rising sun. At about 4 1/2 miles in you will hit a boulder action that requires scrambling with a lot of exposure. This section would certainly be more comfortable up-climbing on the clockwise route, but doable on the way down with caution. If we had more time, the upheaval canyon trail toward the river looked very cool. Quite a few spots where trail crosses in and out of the wash and you need to look for cairns to know which is the trail. Please back track if you miss the trail and don’t destroy thousands of years of desert crust on the sand. Last 2 miles is full sun exposure and a tough set of switchbacks and rock steps.

hiking
14 days ago

Great hike, but not easy. Hiking clockwise is recommended. Pretty difficult rock scramble around mile 3.5, be prepared for rock climbing. In places the trail in this area is hard to follow. Look for the trail markers, they’re out there but sometimes they’re in the distance ahead of you.

hiking
14 days ago

some interesting climbs but not a lot of views

Trail had cairns along the way. You’re in the wash for the last half toward upheaval dome. No water so bring plenty.

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

We started this trail at 9 and did it counter clockwise, finishing at 3:30. We had a lot of great shade starting out and some spots toward the end. Definitely bring more fluid than you think you need and start early! It's an incredible hike with amazing views so take the time to enjoy them - especially in the shaded spots. The cairns help a lot.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

one of my favorite hikes! we were definitely not prepared and ran out of water within half of the hike, but we continued. we went counter clockwise and the views were astounding. it was hard climbing back out of the canyon at the end from exhaustion(i might recommend starting clockwise.) this trail was very unique and sometimes hard to find. be aware of following the correct cairns. the trail was was one of a kind coming into the canyon. i hope to camp here next time for an overnight trip and out to the river. take lots of water and sunscreen!

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This is an amazing hike! But it is not for the faint of heart. Many beautiful views. A LOT of rocks. One section will have you scrambling over (and squeezing between) some big boulders. Can be difficult to locate the trail in many spots, so keep your eyes peeled for the cairns marking the trail. I kept referencing the track on All Trails to make sure we were headed the right direction. We went in mid October, and it was still pretty hot out, so take lots of water. I think I went through all 5L of water I took with me.

hiking
no shade
scramble
3 months ago

Did this trail a few days ago and it was great. A park ranger recommended doing it clockwise for some (but not much) afternoon shade. Clockwise also means a steep descent off the mesa and a slightly longer, more gradual ascent up a canyon back to the trailhead. The ascent had some scrambling and the route often crosses or is in washes so avoid if rain is in the forecast. I did the whole loop in 6.5 hours (9am - 3:30pm), including the full spur up into the crater and a decent break to cook a dehydrated meal for lunch. The whole loop plus spur is like 11-12 miles, so bring A GALLON OF WATER. I used it all, but I was hiking in the heat of a 95 degree July day, so you might need less in different conditions. Beautiful views, good workout, and lots of fun. Side note: the spur was just up a wash and the crater is underwhelming from up close, so only do that if you have extra energy. Highly recommend this hike and as long as you look carefully for cairns you won't get lost!

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

We went in June, set off right around sunrise to avoid the worst of the midday heat. No shade, bring lots of water. Steep switchbacks to get down the outside of the crater, make sure to take the spur trail into the center of the crater while you're down there. Definitely some scrambling on the way back up the last few miles. We didn't see many people until our return back up the dome (we went clockwise) around 11am - 12pm i think.

hiking
no shade
scramble
3 months ago

Great trail. We completed it clockwise and so had a steep downhill and then a more gradual uphill. Still required a lot of scrambling. Only saw one other person the whole time!! bring lots of water

hiking
no shade
scramble
4 months ago

Great trail. We backpacked it and camped by the spur into the dome. There was still a little bit of not so great tasting water trickling in way down the spur trail. We did the loop counter clockwise. The steep scrambling was in the beginning that way. Highly recommend.

hiking
off trail
scramble
4 months ago

This is an excellent trail and I highly recommend. I tracked on my garmin watch and in fact it’s a 10 mile loop and it took us 4hrs13 mins. Going clockwise it’s a steep decent, then you’re walking through the river beds and undulating tracks until you begin to make the ascent, which is longer and less steep. There’s some fab scrambling sections, breathtaking views and it’s extremely well sign posted by the cairns. Take at least 3lts of water per person (we had only had two each and it wasn’t enough). Hope you enjoy it it as much as we did!

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Really fun and beautiful trail! Although, it should be noted that the trail is actually around 8 miles, not 7.1 as AllTrails suggests. My partner and I hiked the loop counterclockwise on May 29th and conditions were great. We definitely preferred staring with the longer descent and then tackling the steeper ascent at the end, but if you’re not very comfortable scrambling down boulders, considering hiking the trail clockwise. Around half way through the loop the trail turns to a bit of a scramble which is easier technically if you are ascending. We also hiked about 1.5 miles up the Upheaval Canyon Trail into the dome and the whole excursion took about 6 hours. We drank about three liters of water each. Would definitely recommend!

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is really about 8 miles or more. The signs said 3.4 miles to the junction and 4.9 miles back going clockwise. We went on Wednesday May 22. It rained and thundered three separate times while on the trail. Be aware that the trail back up going clockwise is often via stream beds or crossing stream beds. If there is a chance of rain, don’t go because the trail is very dangerous when the normally dry stream beds become flooded by a torrent of water coming down the narrow canyon walls. We went clockwise because the steepest part occurs first. It was definitely easy going down that path but once you got to the bottom, you were walking in ‘dry’ stream beds. That is when we got our first rain storm and lightning. I should have turned around when we were descending and it started thundering. But we didn’t. That was a mistake. Then the sun came out when we reached the junction signs. Only 4.9 miles back to the car. No other signs, just cairns, and a very rough terrain lay ahead of us. Once we got past the first waterfall, we ended up walking up wet stream beds in a narrow canyon. And then the rains came and lightning. We stood under some trees and got our rain coats on. I decided to move up the trail in the rain, wading in the now wet stream bed. Then the trail went up a short rocky path to about 20 feet above the stream. Just as we got out of the stream bed and up on a high point, a torrent of water started pouring down the canyon walls down into the stream bed we were walking in minutes ago. A mini flash flood. It was like someone turned on a faucet full blast. At the same time lightning was striking nearby. My feet and pants were soaked and it was about 40 degrees. My wife and I were hunkered down under a rock next to the raging waterfall coming down the canyon walls. Should we move or risk getting hit by lightning? Then a young man in a soaked t shirt came down the trail and told us his friends were sitting in a cave a little ways up the trail. So we moved to their cave and waited for the rain to stop. They said it was three more miles back to the parking lot. That was a tough three miles because the normally dry stream bed was flooded and the path is the stream bed at times. Plus we had to get by several more waterfalls and rapids. And no signs, Just those stupid little cairns. Cairns in the stream bed. What a dumb idea. If you can’t have a trail that is not in a stream bed, you should close that trail until all of it is on higher ground. My advice for this trail is don’t even think of going if rain is in the forecast. Luckily we made it back to the car, alive and wet, just as the third storm of the day rolled in. I hope those young guys made it out of there.

hiking
5 months ago

Full value hike : )

rocky
5 months ago

Awesome trail that needed 5.5 hours including breaks. We did the trail clockwise which we strongly recommend for people who are not doing hikes that include rock climbing on a regular basis. We did the hike in May, the weather was a bit cloudy which made the hike by far more convenient. Also, the hike offers some shade around noon in the latter part of the clockwise hike. If you do the hike in summer and in sunny conditions, a gallon of water p.p. should be carried with you. Beginning involves steep decline but no very challenging parts. At the deepest point, we ran into a super bloom, as it rained during the days before - georgous!!! Second half starts with some climbing on rocks - make sure you are not afraid of heights - followed by hiking in a dry Creek. we did not enter the inner part of the crater (adds 5km and probably 90 minutes in total) All in all a fantastic tour for people who want to do a bit more than just a standard tour. We are no Alpine experts and considered the loop as challenge for improvement but had much fun on the hike.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

It took 6 hours 20 minutes to complete counterclockwise. The decline into the riverbank was treacherous and required some bouldering to climb done some huge rocks. Very beautiful scenery. We encountered 11 people that were hiking it clockwise. Bring enough water, we were very tired and drank 2.5 liters each and could have used more.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail took us 6 hours to complete without doing the dome trail around the half way point. We started at 9am on 4/27/19 and had shade for around the first mile or so going the clockwise direction. After the desent we were in the sun the rest of the way. There was very sparse shade spots. Make sure to bring plenty of water. My husband and I both finished our 3L about 1.5 miles from the end. We didn't find the decline or the rock scrambles too difficult but we often hike up in the mountains near Salt Lake so it may be more difficult for those who don't hike often.

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

4.5hrs

Load More

Featured Trails