After we finished the Grand View Point Trail we drove to Upheaval Dome for the highlight of the day’s activities, Syncline Trail in Canyonlands National Park.
Upheaval Dome is believed to have been created by the impact of a meteorite, as you can see from the crater and concentric circles in the picture above. Syncline trail is a loop trail that follows the perimeter of Upheaval Dome for 8.3 miles, opening up midway through the hike. This particular hike takes about 6-8 hours and would classify as strenuous, involving quite a bit of scrambling. The trail is marked by cairns for the duration of the hike. The trailhead starts at 5680 feet elevation and slowly descends over 1000 feet for the first half of the hike.
I have to admit, from everything I have read about this trail, that April is the perfect time to be in this area and an ideal time to hike this particular trail. July temps easily reach in the 90-100’s. That would make me reconsider what time of day I would attempt to hike this trail and what I would pack (like a gallon of water). Our April hike stayed in the mid-60’s and allowed us to pack a couple of liters of water.
The stunning beauty of this desert area is comprised primarily of sandstone and shale, which make for some amazing formations and sights. There was one particular area (picture below) where we sat down and just took it all in. It was absolutely quiet, not a sound to be heard… just complete stillness. Such artistry in what we saw and the stillness of being enveloped by all of it. A person does not get to experience that very often. It was heavenly.
No… Patrick was not drinking the water! It was staged.
At the midpoint of the hike it open up with the opportunity to take a trail to the center of the crater. Although we initially wanted to take that trail, we realized that the first half of the hike took longer than we had anticipated… because we stopped for so many pictures! We decided to not make any stops for the second half of the trail so that we could finish in reasonable time. Take note: if you travel counter-clockwise on this trail… the most strenuous portion is the last mile with a 2000 foot vertical ascent to get back to the parking lot. Needless to say, I didn’t take many pictures during this time.
Syncline Trail, which loops around Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park, is an absolutely amazing and rewarding 8 mile hike that will not only give you an amazing full body workout because of the hiking and scrambling, but an opportunity to see views and formations that will give you glimpses of heaven. I highly, highly recommend this hike.