Salt Creek Canyon

Ruin along Salt Creek

Salt Creek is an amazing place in the Needles District of Canyonlands. The approx. 20 mile stretch from Peekaboo Spring to Kirk Spring is filled with incredible arches and outstanding prehistoric sites of ruins and rock art. It’s a great place to spend 2-3 days on an out-and-back or point-to-point backpacking trip. The route is also becoming a popular alternate for thru-hikers of the Hayduke Trail due to its amazing beauty and reliable water. One should note however that an impromptu trip through Salt Creek is problematic as permits are required and they are in high demand in the peak season. It’s too long (and too awesome) to rush through in one day and the area is routinely monitored by backcountry rangers. To further complicate things, backpacking here now requires a bear canister as the creatures are becoming frequent visitors in the upper part of the canyon.

Most point-to-point hikers leave/enter the upper end of Salt Creek via the trailhead near Cathedral Butte. Haydukers looking to connect to Beef Basin or Dark Canyon may opt for the more direct route along an old pack trail which heads SW from right near the southern park boundary. See the Hayduke Reference Map for detail.