Upheaval Dome Overlooks

A short but adventurous trail on sloping slickrock, to the rim of a giant and mysterious crater.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
2.6 km
Ascent
114 m
Descent
114 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
1.8 km
Gradient
Upheaval Dome Overlooks Map

All of Canyonlands is a treasure trove for those interested in geology, but there may be no singular place as fascinating as Upheaval Dome. A circular valley three miles wide, rimmed by vertical cliffs but with a hilly uplift in its center, has baffled scientists. Competing theories attempt to explain its formation, with no consensus reached. Signs along the trail explain more, and you can see the geologic enigma for yourself by hiking it.

Description

The trail takes you through typical Utah desert of sandstone and juniper trees to stand on the edge of this very atypical canyon. Whether or not you puzzle over how it was formed, it’s an impressive sight to gaze into the giant crater. Most people turn around at the first overlook, which is less than half a mile from the trailhead. If you continue another half-mile, however, you’ll reach a second overlook that’s arguably better than the first. The path crosses over slickrock domes and ridges with views in all directions, so it’s definitely worth the extra effort. Pay attention to cairns to aid in navigation, because there’s no discernable trail on the bare rock.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/articles/cany-upheaval-dome.htm https://utah.com/hiking/canyonlands-national-park/upheaval-dome-overlook

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area