Alcove Spring / Syncline Loop

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20 Miles

Route Type

Single Loop




3,027 ft.

Highest Elevation



A primitive and remote loop through Canyonlands National Park through canyons, on the White Rim, along rivers, and along rock formations.

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Alcove Spring / Syncline Loop Directions

Begin at the Syncline/Upheaval Dome parking area at Canyonlands National Park. Run, following the road back toward Whale Rock. Pass Whale Rock, and go to the Alcove Spring parking pullout, which will be on the left. Take the Alcove Spring trail, which immediately begins dropping into the canyon. Pass a large cave-in on your left less than a mile into the run. As you enter the bottom of this canyon, Taylor Canyon, the trail is buffered and flowy. The closer you get to the Taylor Canyon Road/Zeus formation, the more the trail becomes part of a wash and interpretive. You should always carry a physical map.

Taylor Canyon Road begins when you intersect with an outhouse. (Note, no water). Follow the dirt road, left, for about 5 miles. The next outhouse you get to will be at the White Rim Road’s Labyrinth Campground. Follow the White Rim Road left, keeping the river over your right shoulder. Again, there is no river access. You are on a 20-30 ft cliff above it. The White Rim Road is flat and runnable, and quickly enters the Upheaval Bottom section, which is characterized by sandy trenches. Within the Upheaval Bottom, look for a sign for Syncline Loop/Upheaval Dome. Follow that sign, leaving the White Rim Road after only about a mile.

This section is interpretive and generally follows a wash, with no trail. Traffic is very light. Shade is very limited. Approximately 4 miles in (this could be longer, depending on how you wind through the washes) you will reach the Syncline Loop. You’ll be at the halfway point of this loop, so could take either direction. We think the views are better if you split right/counterclockwise, and, there is a very slight chance of finding water in this direction in the washes. Follow the Syncline trail, which is primitive, up and out of the canyon and back to the trailhead.

Note: GPX file for this route is a general direction, and often is not on a proper trail. Be prepared to use your backcountry navigation skills. There is zero water on this route.

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