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gem icon Upheaval Dome [Suggest Edits]

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Easily visible from space, Upheaval Dome is a mysterious geologic formation in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Upheaval Dome is very different from the rest of Canyonlands, which consists of layers of red and white rock eroded by water and wind over time. It resembles a huge bowl 3 miles across with a multi-colored pointy rock protrusion in the middle. The reds and whites of rocks are more chaotic here—sometimes perpendicular to the rest of the park—and were not formed by rivers or wind. Geologists don't know how it was formed but have two competing theories: that a salt dome pushed up through layers of sand stone and then eroded away leaving the structure below; or that a meteor struck leaving a crater behind that was partially filled by the upheaval of rock. That two drastically different theories are in contention shows just how mysterious this feature is. It's also happens to be beautiful.

Short Hike: There are two main routes to see Upheaval Dome: the easy and common way along Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail, and the long strenuous route along Syncline Loop Trail to Crater Spur Trail. The former is only 0.7 miles one way to superb elevated views of the whole bowl and dome, but it does require some steep climbs. The other option is to take the difficult Syncline Loop Trail in either direction to it's low point (~3 miles clockwise, ~5 counterclockwise), and then taking the Crater Spur Trail 1.6 miles. This will drop you off in the bottom of the bowl for a completely different, and very secluded, perspective (making this a loop would be 9.1 miles).

Family Friendly: The Overlook Trail is fun for the family while the Syncline Loop Trail may not be.

Gem Type: Geologic Feature

Shared by:
Karl W

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May 13, 2022
alex carlton
Epic hike saw a young kid sit on a rock I've rcrater like Superman the crater is green which is weird Formed by a meteorite
Mar 25, 2022
Kristy Van
forgot I'd been here in 2009. colder and windier day, my memories are different.
Feb 19, 2022
Connor Greenhalgh
With Abby, Abbie, and Mariah
Nov 3, 2021
Tom Herr
Rock formations within a side canyon that were unlike any others in the area. Patterned moonscape pointed structured formations.
Jul 19, 2021
A L
Mar 8, 2021
Stephanie Norris
Challenging but worth it!
Dec 30, 2020
David Merrill
Nov 25, 2020
Lisa Munsch

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Shared by Karl W on Jun 22, 2018. All Page Views: 1,277. Last Month: 5.