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Big Spring Canyon Trail

Intermediate
 4.8 (8)

A fun trail offering some of the best hiking in The Needles.


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Map Key

5.4

Miles

8.6

KM

Point to Point

5,556' 1,693 m

High

5,133' 1,564 m

Low

648' 197 m

Up

509' 155 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Commonly Backpacked · Views

Description

You can easily access this trail from the Squaw Flat Trailhead parking area alongside Squaw Canyon Trail. At the fork between the two, keep to the right/southwest and follow the dirt path to a small section of rock. Some very easy scrambling/big steps will take you up this. Keep an eye out for cairns on the solid rock surfaces as the trail may be hard to see.

After the small rock section, you'll be on flat, dirt canyon floor. You'll pass the Big Spring to Elephant Canyon Trail on your right after 0.75 miles. Continue south along the mostly flat canyon bottom. As you go, the rock walls on either side of you'll get higher and higher until they tower over you.

Just after 2.5 miles, the trail begins to climb. You're going to transfer out of the Big Spring Canyon and into Squaw Canyon - an excellent section of scrambling leads to amazing canyon views from the top at Squaw Canyon Overlook. The scrambling here can look intimidating, but it's really not too hard, and totally worth it. The sandstone provides great traction as long as it's dry. This may be a spot you choose to turn around at if you want a short hike.

Enjoy the views for a bit and then descend into Squaw Canyon. Squaw Canyon Trail heads north, and makes an excellent loop (see Big Spring Canyon/Squaw Canyon Loop Trail). Continue east around the rock pillar and curve back to the southwest. The trail follows a wide rock ledge that is marked by occasional cairns. You'll come to another canyon wall to scramble over that separates Squaw from a branch of Elephant Canyon. This scramble is less daunting, and also provides sensational views. A ladder will help you down into the branch of Elephant Canyon.

The trail continues down the branch of Elephant Canyon until it meets the Chesler Park Trail. This section descends a fair amount and weaves from the very sandy canyon floor to rock ledges near the bottom.

Contacts

Shared By:

Karl W

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 8 votes

#3

in The Needles

#725

Overall
  4.8 from 8 votes
5 Star
88%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#3

in The Needles

#64

in Utah

#725

Overall
11 Views Last Month
937 Since Feb 19, 2016
Intermediate

0%
0%
88%
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13%
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Photos

Needles District. with permission from Nick Terrett
Jun 15, 2016 near Monticello, UT
The needles.
Jan 19, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Rock formation. Big Spring Canyon Trail.
Jun 11, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Gorgeous canyon that spurs off of Squaw Canyon near the ladders to cross over into Elephant Canyon.
Nov 1, 2019 near Monticello, UT
Spires to the east of the Big Spring Canyon and Squaw Canyon junction.
Jun 14, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Squaw Butte and the snow covered La Sal Mountains not far from the Squaw Loop
Jun 6, 2020 near Monticello, UT

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Check-Ins

May 4, 2019
R Craig
Sticky mud after rains because it follow canyon bottoms. Easy except for the south end of the loop because of steep slickrock and no cairns. Use gps 6.9mi — 3h 15m
Apr 18, 2019
Tilman Giese
Dec 29, 2018
Lauren Marie
Apr 23, 2018
Jaclyn Rose
Mar 13, 2018
Nate Gross
Jul 2, 2017
Sarah Westmen
Jun 5, 2017
Meaghan O.
5.4mi
Jun 29, 2016
Michael Churukian