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4,977' 1,517 m


4,913' 1,497 m


64' 20 m


70' 21 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Cave · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A spring emerges from a cave in a sandstone bluff once visited by ancient Puebloans, and more recently used by cattle ranchers. Two easy ladders of 7 and 11 rungs. Views of The Needles.

A 1-mile unpaved road leads to the trailhead.


You'll want to take this loop trail clockwise to eventually climb up the two sets of ladders here, unless you're better at descending them. At first, it's a sandy singletrack trail through Sagebrush, Greasewood, Rabbit Bush, Skunk Bush and other desert vegetation. In 700 feet, you'll see the old cowboy camp beneath the sandstone ledge on your right. Shortly after, you'll see a wooden oat bin, then a small cave containing the Cave Spring. Notice the moss and vegetation where the water drips out. The trail leaves the overhang for another open brush area where sweet smelling Alyssum abound. The trail heads back under the ledges. After 1/4 mile, you'll reach the first ladder with 11 rungs. There's a large step where you get off the ladder, so be careful.

Immediately after is a ladder with seven rungs that leads you to a slickrock path. Follow the cairns as the trail bears to the right. You'll soon see the famous Needles formation far off to the south. Continue on to see flowers and prickly pear cactus shaded by the pine trees. Continue on the slickrock and be sure to follow the cairns. At the halfway point, you can look back at the trailhead from atop the sandstone bluff. Although the loose soil may look like an easier path, stay on the path to preserve the cryptobiotic soil.

Begin a gradual descent as the trail switches back. Be sure of foot as part of the slickrock track is at an 18° slope. You'll soon ascend off the slickrock into a sandy singletrack trail that is bordered by Alyssum and scrub brush. The trail follows under a sandstone ledge. You'll return where you started, but come back changed.

Flora & Fauna

A sandy singletrack trail leads through Sagebrush, Greasewood, Rabbit Bush, Skunk Bush and other desert vegetation. Alyssum and desert flowers of prickly pear cactus are shaded by pine trees.


Shared By:

Greg Reasor

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes


in The Needles


  4.8 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings


in The Needles


in Utah


2 Views Last Month
846 Since May 16, 2019
Intermediate Intermediate



Top of the first ladder, firmly chained to the the rock.
May 16, 2019 near Moab, UT
The cowboy camp
May 16, 2019 near Moab, UT
Looking back toward the trailhead from atop the slickrock path.
May 16, 2019 near Moab, UT



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 58 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Oct 29, 2022
Bob Plagens
Nov 5, 2021
Tom Herr
Informative hike of the history of previous visitors. The spring in the cave was cooler than nearby. An old cowboy camp, pictographs and 2 ladders. 0.6mi
May 5, 2021
Steven Boyer
Apr 7, 2021
Joe Buda
Oct 19, 2020
Theresa Nel
Great trail for kids. Not too difficult, interesting scenery, & ladders!
Oct 18, 2020
Lou Hibbard
With Jan 0.6mi
Aug 3, 2020
Amy Myers
Enjoyable trail passing an old cowboy camp and unique natural spring, culminating in an easy ladder climb to the top of a large rock outcropping wi… — 1h 00m
Jun 30, 2020
Heather Lynn

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