Lost Canyon

Canyonlands National Park - Needles District, Utah

Elevation Gain1,747ft
Trailhead Elevation5,107ft
Elevation Min/Max5107/5494ft
Elevation Start/End5107/5107ft

Lost Canyon

Lost Canyon is a hiking trail in San Juan County, Utah. It is within Canyonlands National Park - Needles District. It is 4.6 miles long and begins at 5,107 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,747 feet. The Lost Canyon Camp Site 1 camp site can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Squawflat Loop.

Lost Canyon Professional Reviews and Guides

"Although they are scarcely a mile apart Lost Canyon and Squaw Canyon are very different in character. Squaw Canyon is dry and generally uninteresting, while Lost Canyon is deeper and has a surprising amount of water and vegetation. Because of its water, Lost Canyon was well known to the cowboys who lived and worked in the Needles District during the first half of the last century. Even when other sources of water had given way to the dry summer heat, their animals could always depend on finding a pool or two of the life-sustaining liquid in the green recesses of Lost Canyon.

The route described here takes advantage of the Peekaboo Trail, which cuts across the lower parts of both canyons, to form an interesting loop hike. The path also passes within a mile of an old cowboy camp that was once used by local cattle ranchers. There is no trail leading to the cowboy camp, but it isn?t too difficult to find. If you wish to include it in your hike it will add about an hour to the time specified above. Trail: Easy, well marked trail. There is usually water in some sections of Lost Canyon, but Squaw Canyon is generally dry."

"A spectacular loop hike through some of the best scenery in the
Needles District. Lost Canyon is well named. It’s not only the kind of place you could get lost in, it’s so beautiful that it’s also the kind of place you want to get lost in.
Like other loops, Lost Canyon can be done in either direction. This trail description follows the clockwise route."

"A long loop hike nicely suited for backpackers. If you can afford the time to make this a three-day trip, you’ll have the opportunity to see most of the outstanding features of the Needles area. A three-day option provides the time for side trips to Peekaboo, Upper Lost Canyon, and Druid Arch
without your overnight pack."

Lost Canyon Reviews

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Second trip into Canyonlands in 2009. Loved this loop hike better than Druid Arch...longer views and vistas and cooler in the canyon.
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I had one day in the Needles district and decided on a long day trip loop: Lost Canyon and Elephant Canyon. The terrain was extraordinary - the camera was coming out so much it delayed my finish to dusk. The Lost Canyon segment was suprisingly wet, as advertised. The turnoff out of Lost Canyon was also as hard to notice as advertised - I walked right by it. Once I found it and surfaced onto the ridges that surround the canyon, a whole new level of photo taking began. The terrain was entirely unique to anything I had ever seen. It was eye-boggling. Following the cairn trail along the rock ledges and down into the other canyons was tricky soemtimes. At one point I searched for my next cairn and did not realize that the cairn I 'found' was the one I had already past. The sinuous canyon and the overcast day did not reveal my error uuntil I tried to photogragh the same cottonwood that I had shot 10 minutes previously. I reoriented only with difficulty, disbelieving my GPS. A long but wonderful trip out of Elephant Canyon, complete with scrambling through fissures in the ridge capped a perfect day. I could not do the side trips that a backpack trip would have allowed, but as a day trip, A MUST. Do it.
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Lost Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Canyonlands National Park - Needles District
Nearby City
Canyonlands National Park - Needles District
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Nat Geo Trails Illustrated Map: Needles
Local Contacts
Nat Geo TOPO! Map (USGS): The Loop and Druid Arch
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018