Upheaval Dome via Crater View Trail

MODERATE 140 reviews
#5 of 67 trails in

Upheaval Dome via Crater View Trail is a 1.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Moab, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

1.5 miles
301 feet
Out & Back


nature trips




no dogs

The Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail offers views of a spectacular geological formation - a mile-wide crater of mysterious origins, possibly caused by a meteorite that created a big splash of minerals when it hit or a salt dome that originated from within the earth. The rocks along the trail tilt away from the dome as a result of the impact. Upheaval Dome doesn't fit with the rest of the Canyonlands terrain -- it's obviously not the result of gradual erosion like the rest of the park, but rather a dramatic deformity in which rocks have been pushed into a domelike structure. At one time, it was believed that the dome was formed by a hidden volcano, but a more recent theory suggests that a meteorite may have struck the earth here some 60 million years ago.

5 days ago

Good short hike that goes up a bit more than expected, but hey - you are going up over a crater, so it takes some time. Took our kids and we really liked it.

13 days ago

I thought this was spectacular! The breeze at the top was nice and made it really enjoyable to sit and stare for awhile.

16 days ago

This trail is great. The crowd thins out once you get past the first overlook. It is Definitely worth it to continue to the second overlook. The path is well-marked with cairns. The Canyonlands newspaper said that you're not supposed to make any new cairns, just follow the existing ones. Bring lots of water, obviously.

28 days ago

Nice, short and easy hike. Some great views but viewpoint 2 seemed inferior to 1. More up and down than we expected.

1 month ago

Really fun hike, a bit hard to find the trail at times. We found no need to continue all the way to overlook #2 when in between #1 and #2 there's a perfectly good high viewpoint that gives you a great view of the impact feature as well as the rest of the park!

2 months ago

Very cool hike, but it was easy for us to get off trail. Pretty steep if you go to the second overlook, but it is do-able.

2 months ago

Fun little hike...lots of walking on sandstone. Wouldn’t do it again...but cool to see once.

3 months ago

This is a short hike with good views, not just of the upheaval dome, but of the entire surrounding area. You only need to go 0.5 miles to the first vantage point for viewing the dome. If you are feeling perky, it's only going to take you around 30 minutes, and if you've bothered to drive all the way out to this trailhead in Canyonlands, why wouldn't you do it?

6 months ago

If you're into geology then this is a must see I guess. Otherwise, I'd do something else.

6 months ago

Great hike - steep with steps at the start, and then some scrambling to get to the end. Nice view. Can see parts of the Syncline Trail below, which is also pretty neat.

7 months ago

This is really an amazing geological feature. The trail climbs moderately to one of several viewpoints.

7 months ago

Can’t believe this only averages 4 stars. This is a short and easy hike and the geological formation here is pretty special (asteroid crater is the leading theory). View 1 (0.3 miles in) is worth doing even if you don’t hike the extra 0.5 miles to the 2nd viewpoint (which is basically the same as the 1st)

7 months ago

Cool hike. Def do it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nice view

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Go to the second overlook. Totally worth it!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Cool geologic history behind this dome. The meteor was very large and was estimated to be 10 km long and 5 km wide when it hit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A good short hike with a bit of elevation that may slow down a flat lander. The view at the end was great and the conditions are great for March.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hike to the second overlook, its well worth it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Birthday trip to Moab in late Oct. After seeing the sunrise at Mesa Arch we took to this short trail. The parking lot was empty when we got there, while we were making coffee 3 or 4 more cars joined us. After a quick stretch up the hill you reach the 1st overlook. The second overlook grants you a better view of the dome. You'll spend your time here alternating between pondering the massive salt formation at the center of this big crater, and surveying the wide expanse that is the surrounding Moab. The central feature is unlike anything else in the area, and well worth the low effort hike to see it. You can do this hike and several other smaller hikes within a day, and still have time to go elsewhere.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Awesome and very short/easy hike with a lot of people on it. Once you get out to the further second viewpoint the crowd thins and you get some truly spectacular views. A must see in Canyonlands. I could hear the harder loop trail a calling my name as well.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Decent trail, pretty quiet, at least when we were there in the morning, the Dome is worth the effort if you got time, great views from up there in all directions

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We did a bunch of short hikes in one day and this was our last one. The parking lot was full since it was a holiday weekend when we went last Fall. We had to circle around a few times until a spot opened up. There are some nice picnic tables, restrooms and water here. The trail was doable for my younger kids even though it was hot (bring water!) The view is simply incredible and I would love to see it again in the winter.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Backpacked the loop in two days. Need a permit to do so and this trail is only for hard cores. First day is all down hill via very rocky trail under sun exposed heat. Great camping in the basin with spectacular views of the cliffs. No water at all unless maybe you do it in early spring but don't count on it. If you get hurt good luck to you getting out. Awesome rock scramble up water fall cliffs to get out of basin. Both of us brought a twenty liter water bladder and ran out of water on last mile of the trail. Backpacking this is totally hard core.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hiked in early June. There were quite a few others on the trail. If a view is what you're looking for, the second overlook is no improvement on the first and the trail is not as well marked.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fun little uphill. We did first overlook only. The dome is unlike anything else you'll see in the park. Worth your time to head up the path and see it. Make sure you read the sign about the formation.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Decent little hike to a bizarre geological event best described as a dome down in a hole. Quick hike so worth the time to stop by and see it.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Saturday, November 14, 2015

This is a pretty easy hike up sandstone to the top of the rim surrounding upheaval dome. I did this hike with my parents who are not avid hikers and they managed fine. This hike is a must do. If you are an experienced hiker and take on the Syncline Loop be sure to the extra time to view the crater from the top. It will blow your mind!


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Like a stair stepper. The view of the dome is fantastic. So interesting. Going slow up and down took 2 hours. Out of shape and older. :-)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bring a lot of water! I did a 17 mile out and back on this trail in April and made the mistake of drinking water from one of the springs that happened to have water seeping out of the rocks. Unbeknownst to me the water was seeping out of some kind of salt deposit and ended up more dehydrated.

Overall the views are amazing, but the canyon floor is slow going because it is covered in a deep layer of small rocks and pebbles. Going up towards the dome is a steep switch back that takes nearly two hours to acsend and one hour to descend. Some guide books recomend doing this trail as quick overnight trip, but the moderately fit adventurer can certainly do it as an out and back. The trail is marked by cairns, never the less, it does have some navigational challenges; so do not forget your map and compass.

Load More