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Big Spring Canyon/Squaw Canyon Loop



7.0 mile 11.3 kilometer loop
95% Runnable


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

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

Running 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 run 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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Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes, History & Background


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Dec 27, 2018
Brian Medina
Amazing variety of terrain seen and scrambled on! 7mi
Nov 24, 2018
Lia Engelsted
Nov 8, 2017
Annie Lo
Apr 30, 2017
Adam Pecan
So good!
Feb 25, 2017
Garth Schulz
Big Spring/squaw loop, plus Lost Canyon to Peakaboo back to Squaw TH 10.6mi

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 25 votes


in The Needles


  4.8 from 25 votes
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in The Needles


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94 Views Last Month
8,166 Since Jun 11, 2016



Needles District. with permission from Nick Terrett
Jun 15, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Spires to the east of the Big Spring Canyon and Squaw Canyon junction.
Jun 14, 2016 near Monticello, UT
The needles.
Jan 19, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Rock formation. Big Spring Canyon Trail.
Jun 11, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Big Spring Canyon.
Jun 11, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Squaw Canyon 1 - Needles Campground.
May 16, 2017 near Monticello, UT


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