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blueBlack Big Spring Canyon/Squaw Canyon Loop

  4.8 ( 18 )

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7.0 mile 11.3 kilometer loop


Ascent: 610' 186 m
Descent: -609' -186 m
High: 5,557' 1,694 m
Low: 5,099' 1,554 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)


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Trail shared by Joy Memmen

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Great example of Needles landscape and desert rock formations that includes traveling on rock faces.

Joy Memmen

Features Views · Wildflowers


Though a bit longer than some routes in the park, this loop highlights some of the best terrain in the Needles area. The route begins from the Squaw Flat Trailhead, and would be an excellent route if taken from the campground.

Need to Know

Hiking in the desert is thirsty work, and there won't be much shade or water along the way. Come prepared, and think about bringing some extra water.


This loop provides a great example of classic Needles rock formations and desert landscape. Cairns mark the trail, and you'll want to pay close attention to where they're leading. Especially across the exposed faces of rock that you'll cross, it can otherwise be difficult to make out the route!

Visitors will start out heading counter clockwise, on the Big Spring Canyon Trail. The way will be mostly smooth going at first, with moderate elevation gain. As the route progresses to the 3-3.5 mile mark, some areas will be quite steep and may make people who fear heights nervous. Luckily these portions are not overly technical.

From the turning point, there are gorgeous views of the Big Spring Canyon and Squaw Canyon, including many unique and visually appealing desert features.

At the intersection with the Squaw Canyon Trail, take a left turn (north) to begin the return journey. Like the Big Spring Canyon Trail, the most technical and exposed portions of the hike will occur near the junction. After about mile 4.5, the travel will mellow, and a gentle descent will return visitors to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of desert wildflowers, cactus, succulents and cottonwood trees. You'll see some marsh lands too!


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Apr 16, 2019
Tyler Willson
Dec 28, 2018
Lauren Marie
Sep 28, 2018
Rob Hixson
Awesome hike. Lots of varied landscape. 7.8mi
Sep 23, 2018
Andy Quinn
What a great hike, really lovely. We spent ages just looking at the views and taking photos, moving time was only 2h50. We just love slickrock! 7.5mi — 3h 47m
Sep 4, 2018
Elliot Gardner
Jun 29, 2018
Jamie Van Fossen
7.8mi — 4h 45m
Jun 21, 2018
Caitlin Keller
Apr 30, 2018
Tyler Willson

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 18 votes


in The Needles


  4.8 from 18 votes
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