Big Spring Canyon Trail
ElevationAscent: 648' 197 m
Descent: -509' -155 m
High: 5,556' 1,693 m
Low: 5,133' 1,564 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)
Current trail conditions
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“A fun trail offering some of the best hiking in The Needles.”— Karl W
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.
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Canyonlands