Upheaval Canyon Trail

Page Type
Route
Location:
Utah, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking
Season:
Spring, Fall
Time Required:
Half a day
Difficulty:
Hike

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Upheaval Canyon Trail
Created On: May 13, 2014
Last Edited On: Oct 26, 2017

Overview

Upheaval Dome is a crater roughly one mile in diameter in the western parts of Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Upheaval Canyon drains the crater to the northwest creating a corridor to the nearby Green River. A 3.6 mile trail follows the bottom of the canyon from White Rim Jeep Road near Green River to Syncline Loop Trail which goes around the perimeter of the crater. The trail can be combined with Syncline Loop to create a very long day hike. A better option is to use a four wheel drive vehicle to access Upheaval Canyon Trail via White Rim Jeep Road.

Upheaval Canyon Trail MapMap

Getting There

Directions to Upheaval Canyon Trailhead on White Rim Road: You will need a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle. Jeep Rental is available in nearby Moab, UT.

From Moab, drive 10 miles north on Route 191 and turn left onto Route 313. After 12 miles on Route 313, turn right (west) onto Mineral Bottom Road (not to be confused with Mineral Bottom Road that goes to Horsethief Campground).

Drive the Mineral Bottom dirt road 11.5 miles on the surface of the mesa. This portion of the road is well graded and can probably be driven by any vehicle when dry. You will then reach an edge where the road makes a number of steep twists and turns going down 800 feet in less than 1.5 miles. If the road is wet or ice is present, do not go down this road.

Mineral Bottom RoadMineral Bottom Road


At 13 miles from Route 313, you will reach a fork, turn left onto White Rim Road. This road has a rougher surface and in many places is only wide enough for one vehicle. Continue past the Taylor Canyon Road until after 19.2 miles from Route 313, you see the sign for Upheaval Canyon Trailhead.

White Rim Road & Green RiverWhite Rim Road and Green River

Short Hike from Trailhead to Green River

If you turn west at trailhead and follow the sandy bottom of the Upheaval Canyon dry wash, you will reach Green River in less than half a mile. At times of high water, the far end of the dry wash may be flooded preventing you from reaching the banks of Green River.

Sandy Wash to Green RiverSandy wash to Green River

Green RiverGreen River

Upheaval Canyon Trailhead to Syncline Loop Trail

Trailhead Elevation: 3950 ft
Elevation at the junction with Syncline Loop Trail: 4220 ft
Roundtrip Distance: 7.2 miles




Head east and follow the trail up Upheaval Canyon. You can follow the bottom of the dry wash or look for cairns identifying the trail which make a few shortcuts in the many twists and turns of the wash.

At first, you will walk on a wide sandy plain covered by bushes far from the walls of the nearby mesas.

beginnings of Upheaval Canyon

Beginnings of Upheaval Canyon trail


As you go farther east, the valley begins to get narrower.

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon


A canyon begins to form. The impressive slickrock mountains to the east come into full view.

Upheaval Canyon


The canyon keeps getting narrower and deeper.

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon


You will then reach the junction with Syncline Loop Trail. You can apparently follow a spur trail a short distance further east into the center of Upheaval Dome Crater.

Upheaval Canyon

Upheaval Canyon

Essential Gear

Hiking equipment.

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