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Big Spring Canyon/Squaw Canyon Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.8 (33) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

7.4

Miles

11.8

KM

Loop

5,518' 1,682 m

High

5,103' 1,555 m

Low

541' 165 m

Up

541' 165 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

24%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

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.

Description

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!

Contacts

Shared By:

Joy Memmen with improvements by Jonathan Keller

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 33 votes

#2

in The Needles

#276

Overall
  4.8 from 33 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
12%
3 Star
3%
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0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in The Needles

#28

in Utah

#276

Overall
40 Views Last Month
10,401 Since Jun 11, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Have to jump across this little crack.
Feb 28, 2021 near Monticello, UT
One of the jumps along Squaw Canyon Trail!
Jun 11, 2016 near Monticello, UT
The needles.
Jan 19, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Rock formation. Big Spring Canyon Trail.
Jun 11, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Amazing sandy dirt singletrack.
Feb 28, 2021 near Monticello, UT
Great soft dirt section - this makes up about 70% of loop.
Feb 28, 2021 near Monticello, UT

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Check-Ins

Sep 15, 2022
Adam L
Oct 31, 2021
Jose Avila
Triple J
Sep 27, 2021
T R
Excellent hike!! couldn't find exact route for shortcut/overlook 7.4mi — 14h 15m
Jul 24, 2021
Peder Bisbjerg
Very enjoyable loop! 7.2mi — 3h 30m
May 4, 2021
Jamie F
Apr 3, 2021
Matthew K
Mar 11, 2021
Kristen Duncan
Nov 25, 2020
Vincent De Andrade
13h 00m