Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Lollipop Loop, Needles District: Squaw Flat Trailhead, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Lollipop Loop - 8.7 miles

Needles District: Squaw Flat Trailhead

Needle formations along the Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Loop

Needle formations along the Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Loop

Round-Trip Length: 8.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,120' - 5,120' (5,460' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +340' net elevation gain
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Lollipop Loop - 8.7 Miles Round-Trip

The Lost Canyon-Squaw Canyon Loop travels through the open desert of Squaw Flat and two very distinct canyons. Though just a mile apart, Lost Canyon is wet and lush, while Squaw Canyon is dry and rocky.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

This varied loop is an excellent representation of Canyonlands' ecological and geological diversity. The following description travels clockwise, from Lost Canyon to Squaw Canyon:

The trail heads south from Squaw Flat Trailhead A for about 50 yards to a split - bear left for Squaw Canyon. It bends SE through flat, open desert and sparse pinyon - juniper woodlands to a split near the mouth of Squaw Canyon (1.1 miles).

Bear left again (SE) towards Lost Canyon and Peekaboo Camp, where travel grows rugged over outcrops on the north entrance of Lost Canyon.

The trail soon takes an abrupt turn straight up a challenging slickrock wall, then down a short latter to the canyon rim. It follows the slickrock rim before dropping into a sandy wash. Stay in the wash for several tenths of a mile to the Lost Canyon Trail (2.6 miles).

The trail rolls gently into a wide, lush canyon. You'll likely find standing pools if not a running stream deeper in Lost Canyon. This riparian area attracts a good deal of wildlife, especially birds. High, colorful walls and a tall cottonwood-willow canopy offer shade and a nice photographic contrast.

Despite mild grades travel may be obscured or obstructed by dense overgrowth - stay vigilant.

Just past backcountry site LC3 (5.2 miles) and a stream crossing that passes through head-high vegetation, anticipate cairns (5.4 miles) that turn sharply up the canyon's west wall (on the right).

This is a tough scramble leading up to the divisive rim between Lost Canyon and Squaw Canyon. The going is steep and cairns may be tricky to see; proceed cautiously, especially with a large pack.

The climb levels off on a sprawling slickrock bench for nearly .5 miles before making a steep descent into Squaw Canyon. The trail passes backcountry site SQ2 (5.7 miles) to the Squaw Canyon Trail junction (5.9 miles). Turn right to continue the loop.

The next 1.7 miles lead down and out of Squaw Canyon to the Peekaboo Trail in flat open desert. Turn left and retrace your steps 1.1 miles back to the trailhead.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 08.612 W109 48.213 — 0.0 Miles: Squaw Flat Trailhead A

Worth Noting

  • Though water is usually available in Lost Canyon, it may be difficult to access, or treat due to heavy sediments. Always carry adequate water into the backcountry.

  • Anticipate a sharp right turn just past backcountry site LC3 in Lost Canyon. This turn follows a cairn-marked path up towards Squaw Canyon. It may be difficult to spot, and the scramble itself can be challenging.

  • Follow cairns closely, and always note the last cairn you saw. If it's been a while in between markings, stop hiking, gather your bearings, and retrace yourself back to the last known marking. Be courteous to other hikers and rebuild knocked over cairns. Never disassemble or move trail markings.

  • Always carry a reliable map into the backcountry, and study your route prior to departure. This is an exposed and hot trail. Carry full sun protection, no matter the season.

  • Help keep scarce water sources pure by avoiding unnecessary travel and wading through streams and water pockets.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Canyonlands National Park. Permits can be acquired at Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Advance reservations can be made up to 4 months out and are recommended during peak season.

Call the Backcountry Reservation Office for more information: 435.259.4351

Click here to access the online reservation system.

  • There's a $30 fee per party to backcountry camp in Canyonlands National Park.
  • Hikers must camp in designated sites where explicitly stated. You may otherwise choose your own campsite in designated at-large zones.
  • At-large sites must be at least 1 mile away from any road and 300' from any archeological site, historical site or water source.
  • Mountain Bikers and 4WDs must stay on established roads and camp in designated sites at all times.
  • Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Canyonlands National Park.
  • Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools. 

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $25 fee per vehicle to enter Canyonlands National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
  • $15 per motorcycle.
  • $10 per person (walk or bike).
  • Dogs are not permitted on trails in Canyonlands National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Lost Canyon - Squaw Canyon Loop is accessible from Squaw Flat Campground A in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Drive about 2.7 miles past the visitor center and turn left into the Squaw Flat Campground. The road will soon fork; bear left toward Campground A for trailhead parking and access. There is also trailhead parking and access from Campground B, but this adds additional mileage and climbing before reaching the main trailhead area at Campground A.

Contact Information

Canyonlands National Park
2282 SW Resource Blvd
Moab, UT 84532

Backcountry Reservations

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