Squaw Spring

Round Trip Distance: 8.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 8703 - 9283 feet
Cellphone: 2-4 bars
Time: 5 hrs.
Trailhead: Squaw Spring
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike/bike, deer

The Squaw Spring trail is located in the La Sal Mountains near Moab, Utah. The trail begins off of the Geyser Pass Road and stretches for 4.3 miles to the La Sal Pass Road. Enroute it provides access to the Brumley Arch trail at the 0.6 mile point and around the 3 mile point it comes to Squaw Spring from which the trail gets its name. The Squaw Spring trail also serves as a segment of the much longer Trans La Sal trail which begins with Bachelor Basin on the north and ends with the South Mountain trail.

To get to the trailhead from Moab drive south on Highway 191, measuring from Center and Main, for 7.8 miles and turn left onto the Old Airport Road. Follow the signs for the La Sal Mtn. Loop Road for another 12 miles and turn right onto the Geyser Pass Road. It is about 2.9 miles along a graveled road to the trailhead.

The trail starts out with a quick climb but before it has gone a tenth of a mile it is already beginning to descend toward Brumley Creek.

Some parts of the trail are a little rocky and there are a few exposed tree roots in places. The entire length of the trail is easy to follow except for the section right around Squaw Spring.

The first crossing of Brumley Creek is strewn with logs. The amount of water in the creek will vary according to the snow melt. This picture was taken around the first of September and there wasn't much of a flow to worry about.

The creek crossings are all followed by an uphill climb.

A look at the trails profile shows all of the trails ups and downs. Each of the dips are either stream of creek crossings. Also notice that the La Sal Mountain Road is the lowest point of the trail.

Before the trail has gone 3/4 of a mile it passes the point where the Brumley Arch trail begins. If you have never hiked that trail it will only add 0.8 miles to the round trip distance. Of course it also adds about 350 feet of elevation gain if that is a concern. The Brumley Arch trail is a hiking only route.

The rest of the trail is a mix of aspen groves, dark spruce forests and a few open areas with outstanding views of the deserts to the west.

Around the 2.3 mile point the trail crosses a wooden bridge and enters a section of dark forest.

So little sunlight makes it to the ground in these spots that very little of anything grows there other than the trees which grow tall to compete for their place in the sun.

Near the 3 mile point the bulk of South Mountain comes into view and the trial begins its biggest descent.

Around the 3.3 mile point the trail comes to Squaw Spring where the ruin of an old cabin looks out over a small meadow.

The trail gets hard to follow at Squaw Spring. There were a lot of fallen trees and the cows had trampled the only trail marker. We made use of a lot of the smaller branches and used them to outline the route across the meadow as well as to erect a couple of cairns.

There is a short easy climb after Squaw Spring that is followed by the final descent that takes the trail out to the La Sal Pass Road. Go to the left and follow the road a short distance if you want to continue on the last segment of the Trans La Sal route.

We encountered a doe that was running down the trial towards us that we thought was just about to run us over. Once she got close enough to hear the camera she turned and ran off through the trees.

If you are doing the entire trail in round trip fashion you can look forward to about 2,800 feet of elevation gain. Adding in a side trip to Brumley Arch will take that well over 3,000 feet. If you are just doing the trail from north to south the elevation gain is only a little over 1,000 feet so obviously most of the work is going in the other direction. Backpackers will find several nice places to camp and shouldn't have any trouble finding places to filter some drinking water. All in all, the Squaw Spring trail is a great place to spend a summer day in the Moab area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.