Syncline-Taylor Loop, Island in the Sky


Mar 4, 2012
I outran a mild spring blizzard on the Wasatch Front Thursday morning and headed down to Island in the Sky for my first trip of spring. I picked up a permit for a night in the Syncline Valley and an extra night in the Taylor Zone, just in case I wanted to linger and explore another day. I had in mind a 20-ish mile loop down the Syncline to the north of the Upheaval Dome, overnight at the the bottom of Syncline and then down Upheaval Canyon to the Green River, along the White Rim Road, up Taylor and eventually climbing out Trail Canyon via the Alcove Spring Trail. The weather forecast didn't look great and there was a stiff wind all morning driving south, but when I got out of the truck at the Island VC, it was about as nice a spring day as I could imagine.I pulled my permit, then stopped for a few roadside photos on the way to the trail.

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I parked at the Alcove Spring TH where I would eventually exit and walked down the road a little ways to Upheaval Dome. I climbed up to the first overlook for a peek at the dome and to get a route overview.

The Upheaval Dome

The trail is physical, but not exceptionally tough, and is well cairned. Given that it is next to one of the major touristy turn-outs, I suppose it needs a scare sign. The only tricky section is the bypass of a dryfall with some very mild exposure in Syncline Canyon.

Here in the lower section of Syncline, the trail climbs up quite a bit to bypass a dryfall. Gives you nice views of the route ahead into Upheaval Canyon. There was nice clear flowing water in several sections of Syncline.

I made it to camp with a couple hours of daylight and explored the Upheaval Crater from the bottom up for a mile or so then set up camp. There was possible rain in the forecast, but it never showed up.

[bimg=Cooking with Esbit][/bimg]
I woke up and got moving down Upheaval Canyon to warm up and planned on doing breakfast on the Green River. Upheaval Canyon opens up after a few miles and eventually intersects the White Rim Road right on the Green.

White Rim Road

My sunny breakfast spot.

From the Green River I headed up Taylor passing Moses and Zeus

Moses and Zeus

I didn't shoot many pictures in Trail Canyon along the Alcove Springs Trail. By that time I had decided to hike out that afternoon and a burger from Ray's Tavern was calling for me. It was a nice section though and had flowing springs in a couple of side canyons.

The climb back up to the rim looks a little perplexing from the bottom, but it works its way nicely up along the cliff via what appears in a few places to be an old cattle road although the grade has sluffed off along most of it. The park road to Upheaval Dome sits just above the rim where my truck was waiting. Short and sweet, just what I needed. I came home to more winter on the Wasatch Front, with another 6" snow this morning.

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Jan 17, 2012
I pretty much love anything in Island in the Sky.
Great TR!


Aug 9, 2007
Nice Cody! So awesome to see all this in a trip report. I always love your pics on Facebook but wish I knew the story! I'm about to switch the site into 'no posts' mode while we move to the new server but I'm glad I have this one to read in the meantime. :)


Mountain Carver
Feb 19, 2012
Fantastic. I keep seeing so many BCP hikers that pack a light rain fly instead of a tent. I have always been too chicken to cross over and try it but it seems everyone that uses them likes them. Your pic shows me that you are yet another data point leading that direction.

Great photos.


I lava it!!!
Jan 19, 2012
I love the Syncline Loop, did it as a day hike two years back and it was a lot of fun.
I always wanted to do the Syncline Taylor Loop, you're pictures finally agrees with my my thoughts about it.
Thanks for sharing


Aug 9, 2007
Cody - do you happen to have GPS tracks from this? And for water, I know you said there was some along Syncline. Any idea if that's normal? Any other water sources along the route?


I lava it!!!
Jan 19, 2012
Nick, along Syncline there is a spring in an alcove. Pretty sweet, but running a bit slow.It will take a while to fill your water bottles.
When I day hiked the loop it was a reliable source. I also found many water filled potholes and a few other pools.
Not sure if they always have water, because 2010 was a really wet year.
Unfortunately I never went past the confluence to Taylor Canyon.


Mar 4, 2012
After work I can export my Spot breadcrumb track. Water was actually flowing nice and clear in Syncline and dipping bottles was easy. I will mark up a map and post it to this thread. NPS indicates that there is usually water in Syncline (speaking of the section north of the Dome... I didn't hike any of the southern Syncline Loop section). Coming around the north side of the dome you cut north through a big portal and there is a shaded pothole on the ramp going down the "portal" into the head of Syncline. There is a wet alcove at the head of Syncline Valley and good flow most of the way down to the junction with Upheaval Canyon. Worst case water scenario, you have easy access to the Green River before you head up Taylor. Taylor is all dry until you head up the Trail Canyon fork (Alcove Springs Trail) there are a couple little flows coming out of side canyons on the west side of Trail Canyon, ironically no apparent water near the alcove "springs" although it is so close to the exit I didn't bother investigating it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk 2


Mar 4, 2012
Here is an image marked up with approximate water locations and 10-minute track fixes from my Spot. No guarantees on water there in the future of course, but Syncline Valley is a good bet (and it's a short loop anyway so that you're never far from water (especially with the Green River at the top of the loop). Total mileage is probably just over 20 miles.
Syncline-Taylor Overlay.jpg


Alien from over the pond...
Sep 5, 2012
Great TR!

I hiked Syncline loop a couple of years ago. That was a neat hike.
Taylor loop looks great. Reason for visit Island in the Sky again.

Nick, I can confirm too about the water sources below the Breach.

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