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Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail

  4.0 ( 32 ) Favorite


1.4 mile 2.3 kilometer loop


Ascent: 278' 85 m
Descent: -278' -85 m
High: 5,801' 1,768 m
Low: 5,626' 1,715 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Megan W

View the brilliant colors and mysterious geology of Upheaval Dome from two wonderful overlooks.

Megan W

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly TBD

No biking.


The out-and-back Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail provides the best views of the dome. This short and rewarding hike is a highlight for many visitors to the Canyonlands area.


From the parking area, follow the wide gravel trail uphill, utilizing rock stairs to gain elevation. The first overlook comes at about 0.3 miles, off a fork to the right. Here, interpretive signs explain the two theories about how this huge crater was formed.

Geologists are not sure, but most think it was caused by a meteorite 500-1000 feet across hitting the earth, causing a crater and then erosion slowly reshaping the land. Another theory is that a thick layer of salt deposited by ancient seas was pushed up through layers of rock creating a salt bubble that eroded away over time. The presence of shocked quartz has led most to believe the meteorite explanation.

After contemplating the enormous forces involved in creating this rough multicolored gash, return to the main trail. If you're pressed for time, you can return to the parking area- the views from the second overlook are not appreciably different from the first one. However, if you want more solitude and decide to complete the trail, continue west along the jagged rim of the crater. At some point, the trail begins to descend over sandstone slabs and you'll need to follow rock pile cairns to stay on track. The trail ends at the second, fenced in overlook next to a large outcropping. Retrace your steps back to the parking area.

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ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


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Sep 23, 2019
Kristin Marks
Sep 21, 2019
Scott S
Sep 19, 2019
Karen McWee
Sep 10, 2019
Stray Cat
Jul 20, 2019
Dimitri Almasi
Jul 15, 2019
Bo Taylor
Jul 7, 2019
Stephanie Cairney
Jun 20, 2019
Aaron Fagerwick
1.8mi — 1h 49m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 32 votes


  4.0 from 32 votes
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in Utah


49 Views Last Month
2,034 Since May 16, 2015



The First Overlook provides a stunning view of the surrounding rock strata.
May 14, 2017 near Moab, UT
Great dome.
Jul 6, 2016 near Moab, UT
Notice how the rocks stand vertically rather than horizontally like the rest of Canyonlands
Jun 23, 2018 near Moab, UT
View across Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands National Park UT
May 19, 2015 near Moab, UT
On the trail to Upheaval Dome Overlook
May 19, 2015 near Moab, UT
Follow these rock cairns so you don't get lost
May 19, 2015 near Moab, UT


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