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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Confluence Overlook Trail, UT

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Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southeast
4.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,949 feet
Elevation Gain 138 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.2
Interest Historic
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2018-04-22 John9L
11  2018-04-22 chumley
17  2016-04-22 trekkin_gecko
6  2014-04-07 Sun_Ray
40  2013-10-14 CannondaleKid
Author CannondaleKid
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 137
Photos 20,492
Trips 1,900 map ( 15,617 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:02am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
See you at the 'Y'
by CannondaleKid

Likely In-Season!
This hike is all about the destination, ending 1,100 feet above the confluence where the Green River flows into the Colorado River. At the confluence, at least when we were there, you can see the Colorado is the muddy brown river and the Green is, well, somewhat green.

This time of the year (mid October) we had beautiful weather, 40's to lower 60's so we didn't need much fluids. But with very little shade this could be one HOT hike in warmer months, so plan accordingly.
Although some of the short climbs are steep, as one with an advanced fear of exposure/heights I had no issues at all on this hike. The one ladder was very easy.

The Confluence Overlook Trail begins at Big Spring Canyon Overlook TH/parking lot at the end of the paved Scenic Drive, 6.2 miles from the Canyonlands Visitor Center. Leaving the parking lot you head toward the sign marking the start of the trail, then right behind the sign, the trail drops quickly. It will wind 135' down into Big Spring Canyon, cross a few hundred feet of sandy bottom then climbs up on the other side.
A word of advice... follow the well-placed cairns, DO NOT follow footsteps in the sand! Do this for the whole hike and you won't get lost.

Climbing up the other side of Big Spring Canyon just follow the cairns leading straight up the canyon wall to a small ladder that leads you up to the canyon rim. At the top you will continue through a small passageway in the rocks. Soon after you will traverse a high open mesa for almost a mile. This part offers wide ranging views across desert grasslands and long depressions in the terrain called grabens.

Next the trail descends into lower Elephant Canyon, passing through a dry wash before rising out of the canyon and again drops down into the grassy Twin Valleys. Next you will cross a Jeep road, scale an outcrop then drop into Cyclone Canyon. Soon you will cross Cyclone Canyon Trail at which point you want to bear right until connecting with the Jeep road again. Follow this road the rest of the way to the Confluence Overlook TH where there is a parking lot for 4x4's and an outdoor toilet. From there a Confluence Overlook sign directs you west for half a mile to Confluence Overlook.

Be sure to take time to enjoy the views and the solitude... ok, we only had the solitude for 20 minutes before more people arrived. The return trip should be a breeze as you won't waste time looking for the route to follow.

BTW, the rough 4x4 drive and short walk version of this hike is the Confluence Overlook.

Water Sources
Nothing to rely on.

Only with back-country permits.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-10-22 CannondaleKid
  • Needles District - 1
    area related
    Needles District - 1
  • Needles District - 2
    area related
    Needles District - 2
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Confluence Overlook Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After backpacking we set up camp at nearby Indian Creek and headed out the next morning on a hike to the confluence.

This is a great trail with excellent views, more amazing geology, and the added bonus of seeing where the Green River joins the Colorado. With spring snowmelt in full swing, the mathematics of art was fully at play. Not only does Red + Green = Brown, but Brown + Brown = Brown too! It might be fun to see this when the colors of the rivers were significantly different, but it was an impressive viewpoint nonetheless.

I might have to make a point of visiting more Colorado River confluences along it's course. :-k

It's an out n back hike, so we turned around and returned the way we came, passing 2 or 3 other groups who were similarly impressed that a maintained NPS trail with paved access saw so little hiker traffic.
Confluence Overlook Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
After our three day backpacking trip, Chumley and I car camped in Indian Creek. Our plan for today were two day hikes and then exit the park and head south to Goosenecks for car camping. We drove over to the parking area and started hiking around mid-morning.

The trail drops a couple hundred feet into a wash and immediately climbs up the other side. We knew this would be a chore on the return. The next couple of miles are a mix of trail and following cairns over slick rock. There are several very cool geologic sections and several pot holes had water from rain two days earlier. Prepare for a dry hike, we got lucky. We set a moderate pace and made good time. The trail becomes much easier roughly 3-4 miles in and we found ourselves at the overlook soon after.

The views of the confluence of the Green River and the Colorado River was a real treat. Both rivers were slightly brown but you could see the mix. It was really cool in person. We tried a couple of different viewpoints and took a short break. From there we cruised back to the trailhead and headed on to a different hike.

I'm really glad we spent the time to do this hike. The hiking is rugged but not overwhelming. Keep an eye on high temps this would be a tough hike when it's over 90 degrees.
Confluence Overlook Trail
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
spent friday in the needles district
had several recommendations for this hike, and it turned out to be my favorite of the trip
a more remote feel to this part of canyonlands, and fewer people
the longer drive in might have something to do with that
from the trailhead, an immediate drop into a canyon, then a corresponding climb back out
through a passageway and up one ladder to ascend a pour off, and that's the hardest part of the hike in the first 2/3 mile - nothing else is as steep or sustained
lots of ups, downs, ins and outs following the best route down a drainage or over a rock formation
very fun hiking, interspersed with flatter stretches on firm sand
the last mile is along a jeep road, with a final ascent to the overlook
good scenery throughout, with changing geology
distant views of the needles to the south
saw maybe a dozen others on the trail, shared the overlook with four
cool to see the green and colorado rivers merge, with a definite difference in color
more like light brown into brown today, but still distinct
quite a drop-off, at 1000 feet below
spent some time at the overlook, then retraced our steps
breezy with occasional high clouds, low 80s by the end
a very nice hike :)
had some lunch, then drove around a bit
much more to explore in this section, especially from elephant hill or squaw flat trailheads
lots of backpacking opportunities
a return trip might be in order ;)
made a stop at newspaper rock on the drive out
took a scenic route back to monticello
drove back to phoenix on saturday, through very high winds
felt fortunate to have good weather all week, as a cold front came in on saturday
great trip!
Confluence Overlook Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Day hike to see the point where the Green River merges with the Colorado River. An out and back with view of the Confluence at the turn around. Up and down for the first 1.5 miles then it's mostly easy trail the rest of the way. At a point about half a mile from the turn around a jeep road ends and there is a new pit toilet and a shaded picnic table. View of confluence worth the miles. Judy and I hiked with friends Rich and Sue from Ocean City, NJ. Time includes many stops to take pictures and breaks.
Confluence Overlook Trail
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
We originally planned on driving up Elephant Hill and continue the drive out to the Confluence Overlook TH but a bad oil leak in the Cherokee :x at the last minute meant we had to take Tracey's Honda Fit, which has about as low clearance as you can get.

So instead of a long, rough drive and a 1 mile hike we had to settle for the 10+ mile Confluence Overlook Trail hike, which begins at the Big Spring Canyon Overlook TH. But as usual my curiosity lead us off on extra side-trips and we ended up with 11.25 miles.

Moments after leaving the parking lot we began the descent, winding our way 135' to the canyon floor, walking across the canyon barely a few hundred feet, then it's a 200' ascent up the other side where we will reach 5,000' in elevation. Luckily the trail follows a passageway between boulders, which spared us a longer climb. Through the passage we were greeted with awesome views but with little time to waste we're descending again. Not too much of a descent because within less than 10 minutes we're climbing a ladder to clear a pour-off and will climb a bit more until we look out over one of a number of flat open areas we will encounter along the way.

And that's pretty much how the hike went... drop, climb, drop, climb, drop, flat, climb, drop, flat, etc. But through all that it provided a wide variety of views and terrain, providing us with plenty of practice for the hikes we will do the rest of the week.

Hmmm, what did I leave out? Oh yeah, the Confluence!
Eventually we reached the Confluence Overlook TH at the end of the 4x4 road and from there it was barely half a mile and we are treated to the awesome sight of the Green River flowing into the Colorado River.

Wow! :y:
What a great place for lunch, so that's what we did. After a PB&J lunch Tracey sacked out on a smooth rock while I chatted with a guy who had driven out with his Tacoma 4x4.

As we were about to leave the overlook a couple came jogging up. They appeared to be husband & wife but she was wearing the pants today, berating him for not keeping up. About 2 miles into our return trip the joggers passed us. The woman was so proud they got to the confluence in just over 2 hours! Although we kept it to ourselves at the time Tracey and I got a pretty good laugh out of that... wow, averaging 2.5 miles an hour while jogging with a minimal 2-bottle fanny pack.
Now that must have been tough! :roll:

If we hadn't stopped for over a hundred photos and took the side-trips along the way we would have made it with our packs in the same time. But even funnier, when the guy, who of course was not keeping up, passed us he said he couldn't believe how long it took them to catch up to us, you guys were really moving!

Funny, we didn't think we were doing much more than strolling, and certainly not working up a sweat. And we even got to enjoy the scenery, and that was awesome!

Anyway, the rest of the return trip passed quickly since we already knew the best routes and already had enough photos... well, not quite. Rather than boring everyone with a huge photoset, I limited it to 40 photos on HAZ.

Now for those into watching our vacation photos and videos... :oplz:
Full set of 144 hike photos:
Video shot along the Confluence Trail:
Video of a climber at Indian Creek:

Permit $$

Canyonlands National Park
Vehicles: $10 (Good for 7 days)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Moab: Drive 38 miles south on US 163 to UT 211, turn right onto UT 211 and continue 34 miles to the Visitor Center.
From Monticello: Drive 14 miles north on US 163, turn left onto UT 211 and continue 34 miles to the Visitor Center.
Continue along the paved road past the Visitor Center following the designated 'Scenic Drive' signs to the parking lot at Big Springs Canyon Overlook.
page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Oct 22 2013 1:14 pm
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