Upper Salt Creek

  • USA SW: Canyonlands NP, Upper Salt Creek, Angel Arch, famous rock formation, Walkopedia

Key information: Upper Salt Creek

    • A superb hike up a relatively wide, shallow canyon, between sandstone spires and cliffs, enjoying arches and other formations.
    • Survey varied desert vegetation, Indian ruins and rock art.
    • Hot and dry walk in remote country: come prepared!

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating80
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating80

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 40km
  • 3 days +
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

Upper Salt Creek: Angel Arch, famous rock formation - ©wiki commons user David Hiser


Salt Creek is to the south-east of the main Needles area of the magnificent Canyonlands N.P. A superb 40km hike up a relatively wide, shallow canyon, between sandstone spires and cliffs, enjoying a multitude of rock arches and other formations. Beautiful Angel Arch is a 3.5-mile detour. Forest at the upper (southern) end.

Survey varied desert vegetation, mule deer and other classic wildlife, Indian ruins and rock art. With water much of the year, the creek has more vegetation than usual, which creates beautiful colour contrasts with the sandstone walls.

3 plus days, depending on side-trips. (You can drive in for a day, but that’s a bit of a waste.) This is a hot and dry walk in remote country, where you will have to be self-sufficient. Come fully prepared, including carrying a lot of water. (The Creek flows constantly in much of the canyon, but may not by usable.) Flash flooding is possible, beware. Check the position and weather forecast.

[southwestpaddler.com claims to be able to kayak down salt creek except in the height of summer, but says that after rainfall the river becomes muddied and murky]

It is hard to get to Salt Creek – you need a permit to drive in on the rough 4x4 track from the main road in the Needles area (and another to camp overnight). Access to the southern end, from unsurfaced route 107, is easier. You should be able to get a shuttle from Moab.

The trail is open all year, but avoid the broiling summer. Spring and Autumn are the best seasons. It was wonderful and mostly empty in November when Walkopedia was in the Needles.

The book is Canyonlands and Arches National Parks by Bill Schneider for Falcon Hiking Guides. Find relevant books on Amazon.

See our Canyonlands National Park page for more general and practical information and photos.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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