Utah, Alcove Spring Trail (to Taylor Camp)

State: Utah
Location: Canyonlands National Park
Length, Round Trip: 12.8 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 4220 feet
Maximum Elevation: 5690 feet
Elevation Change: 1470 feet
Best Season: Spring, Fall
Difficulty: Difficult
Usage: Moderate

On the Climb to Druid Arch

Trail Information

The Alcove Spring Trail heads from the mesa top, immediately east of Upheaval Dome, into Trail Canyon. The route descends through Trail Canyon for several miles to meet Taylor Canyon. There is no water available along this route. Permits are required for overnight camping. Many people walk this trail only as far as the spring before returning to the trailhead and if you choose to do that the hike is relatively easy. Alcove Spring is only 0.7 miles from the parking area, with an elevation loss of 440 feet.

Begin hiking the Alcove Spring Trail approximately four miles from Grand View/Upheaval Dome Road junction from the trailhead along Upheaval Dome Road. The trail heads northeast from the road. It begins to descend less than one half mile from the trailhead. Descending steeply, the trail begins to switchback past Whale Rock and Alcove Spring immediately east of it. One mile from the trailhead the grade levels significantly as the tread nears the bottom of Trail Canyon.

A mile and a half from the trailhead the route reaches the bottom of Trail Canyon at 4,560 feet. Once the path reaches the bottom of the canyon it becomes much more vague, but there are still frequent cairns to mark the way. The route simply winds down the dry desert wash for the last 4.4 miles to the Taylor Camp. There is no water along this part of the hike, so be sure to carrying plenty. This canyon is wide but deep and the trail winds through its steep walls for several miles descending slowly toward Taylor Canyon.

About 6.4 miles from Alcove Spring Trailhead, Trail Canyon empties into Taylor Canyon. At this junction the trail forks. The route leading to the right is a short spur trail to Zeus and Moses, two spires often used by rock climbers. This spur is worth the effort used to ascend out of the canyon bottom. There are good viewpoints of both formations located along the route.

Note: This route can be combined with White Rim Road and the Syncline Loop Trail to form a loop hike. Hikers can expect heavy biking and vehicular traffic on White Rim Road.


From Island in the Sky Visitor Center:
Drive south on Utah 313 approximately for about 7.25 miles to the junction of Main Island Road and Upheaval Dome Road. Bear right at this junction and drive 5 miles to the parking area for Alcove Spring Trail.

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