The Slickrock Foot Trail is an excellent trail to help hone your desert hiking and navigation skills before moving on to more difficult hikes in The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Much of the route is marked only by small stacks of rocks called cairns. Hikers must follow these cairns along a loop with four signed viewpoints to stop at along the way. This trail is recommended for children and adults in good physical condition.

The Trailhead

The trailhead for the Slickrock Foot Trail is located in The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. To reach the Slickrock Foot Trail trailhead from Moab, Utah:

  1. Drive south on US-191 for approximately 40 miles to the signed junction for Canyonlands National Park.
  2. Turn right onto UT-211 and continue for 34 miles before arriving at the entrance to Canyonlands.
  3. Drive 6.5 miles past the entrance station to the signed trailhead for Pothole Point on the right (38.177011,-109.814552).

Note: There is a $25 per vehicle fee to enter Canyonlands National Park. Trail guide brochures with additional information are available at the trailhead for a $.50 cent fee.

The Hike

Begin hiking east from the parking area on the well-marked trail. For the first quarter-mile, follow the trail as it climbs through a series of ledges to the top of the mesa and the turnoff to the first viewpoint (38.17952, -109.81188).

Continue hiking down the trail as it winds through the rolling Cedar Mesa Sandstone layers. After about 0.6 miles, you’ll encounter a signed junction for the loop portion of the trail (38.18195, -109.81382). Turn right here and continue hiking. The trail skirts the east side of the mesa, offering a great view just about everywhere you look.

Approximately 0.9 miles from the trailhead, the signed junction for the second viewpoint is encountered (38.1853, -109.81229). The hike out to the second viewpoint is longer than the other viewpoints and involves a bit of a climb. Go as far as you’d like before returning back to the main trail and continuing on to the third viewpoint.

Keep hiking until the junction for the third viewpoint is encountered (38.18735, -109.81366). This viewpoint is an easy walk to the rim for a peek down into Little Spring Canyon. From the third viewpoint junction, continue following the cairns, now headed west across the mesa. At times a less defined set of rogue cairns may lead north to the tip of the mesa. These are not part of the main trail and should not be followed unless you want to explore away from the main route. The fourth viewpoint is located on the west side of the mesa, only slightly north from the third viewpoint (38.18802, -109.81591).

From the fourth viewpoint junction, the trail turns south back toward the trailhead, eventually arriving back at the start of the loop. Continue hiking back to the trailhead to complete the 2.4-mile round trip hike.

Rules and Regulations

  • Pack out all trash.
  • Stay on designated trail and rock surfaces.
  • Do not draw or carve on rocks.

Special Considerations

  • This area can be extremely hot during spring, summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.


This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.