Upper Salt Creek
Some of Canyonlands’ most spectacular archaeological sites and arches are found in the Salt Creek drainage. The Upper Salt Creek Trail runs for 22.5 miles between the Peekaboo Trailhead on the north and the Cathedral Butte Trailhead on the south. With a shuttle you can hike straight through as a long day hike. If you want to explore the canyon’s features, and the interesting side canyons, you will need to backpack or do out-and-back hikes from either trailhead.
Trail Head: 38.1547, -109.754
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 22.5 miles one way
We don’t have the capacity to describe all of the interesting features here. Searching and exploring is part of the fun, as long as you stay on the trail and out of the sites themselves.
SALT CREEK ROAD
The sandy Salt Creek Road is located just inside Canyonlands National Park, in the Needles District. Follow the main road past the visitor center and then fork south toward Cave Spring. A permit is needed to drive the dirt road to the Peekaboo trailhead and campground. There is an interesting pictograph panel along the Salt Creek Road just below the Peakaboo Trailhead.
Horse Canyon is a major tributary to Salt Creek. It contains an interesting arch called Paul Bunyan’s Potty, and a famous archaeological site called Tower Ruin.
There is a designated campground at the Peekaboo Trailhead. You will also need a permit to camp there, or to backpack anywhere in the park.
One of the most famous features in this area is Angel Arch. An old jeep road extends from Peekaboo up Salt Creek to Angel Arch, but it is now closed to vehicle traffic in an effort to reverse environmental damage. It is about 8.5 miles one way from Peekaboo to Angel Arch.
CATHEDRAL BUTTE TRAILHEAD
The Cathedral Butte Trailhead is located along the Beef Basin Road, just to the SW of the park boundary.