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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. 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