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Onion Creek & Narrows Hike & Scenic Drive

If you’ve got a high-clearance vehicle, try a 1-hour scenic drive into beautiful Onion Creek Canyon, following a perennial stream just south of the Fisher Towers.

This scenic route just east of Moab is an extremely scenic drive with a high fun factor as you’ll be crossing and recrossing Onion creek’s shallow waters 30 times, however, the road beyond the first four miles of canyon gets more challenging and difficult and you’re riding on part of the Kokopelli trail.
You can do the first part through the canyon and take the short hike with just a regular SUV or high-clearance car.

Getting there

From Moab, head East along the Colorado River HWY 128 for 20 miles, then look for the Onion Creek sign. The turn off is just after it on the right. The dirt road is BLM 100 / Rose Garden Hill Safari Route
  • 4×4 with clearance is a good idea for the beginning section through the canyon, you will cross Onion Creek 30 times but the creek is rarely more than a foot deep, but 4×4 with clearance is a requirement if you will continue on past the canyon.
  • When it rains, water will come from all sides and be funneled down to the roadway. This trail is subject to flash flooding. Finding traction in wet sand or clay may be impossible if you get rained on, you can see on points where other motorists dig deep trying to get through thick mud. In other words, avoid rain. If you think it might rain, maybe choose another trail.
  • Some people drive the entire route up into the La Salle Mountains and back to Moab, but you can drive as far as you are comfortable and turn around and do it as an out and back too. You can follow the roads to the Bull Canyon Overlook and back down to the La Sal Mountain Loop road in Castle Valley and back to highway 128 (48 miles)

Onion Creek Narrows Hike MAP

The turnoff of highway 128

Turn off
From Highway 128 follow the dirt road toward Onion Creek Canyon.

dirt road toward Onion Creek Canyon.

You will cross Onion Creek a total of 30 times within the canyon’s 4 mile length. The canyon gets quite narrow with impossibly red sandstone walls and tall spires and the road becomes only wide enough for one vehicle.

crossing Onion Creek

Some of the rock totems you will see

Narrows Hike
At 3.2 miles you come to the west end of the narrows hike ( 38.706423, -109.315384 ).  The east end of the narrows hike is .8 miles farther ( 38.706531, -109.303977 ) just after a bridge. The hike goes along the stream bottom through the narrowest section of the canyon for 0.8 miles from one stream crossing of the road to another. You can hike it from either end. Parking is limited.

Parking area of the west end of the Narrows Hike.

Parking area of the west end of the Narrows Hike.

Parking area of the west end of the Narrows Hike directions

The narrows hike in Onion Creek Narrows

Back on the canyon road, you can continue with more scenery and stream crossings. After another mile, the canyon begins to widen out.

Toward the end of the canyon the scenery widens out

The dirt road

Heading into the back section

The drive continues, around canyon walls and into a beautiful valley. At ( 38.688876, -109.220570 ) you will come to a Y, to the left takes you to Rose Garden Hill this is a class 7 trail requiring high clearance and specially equipped off road vehicles and is not for stock 4×4 vehicles, so stay to the right continuing on BLM 100

First turn, not going toward Rose Garden Hill

Shortly you will come to a ranch in the distance on the right and another Y at ( 38.676993, -109.211836). Turn to the left, the right takes you along the boundaries of the ranch and to a dead end in 3/4 of a mile.

Onion Creek Narrows Hike left hand turn to avoid the dead end

Soon you will come to a steep section of the road at ( 38.683750, -109.204389 ) go slow and drop down following the road as it gets better, continuing along and eventually climbing to the top of the mesa.

Sketchy drop down and tight turns

Follow the Kokopelli trail marker

Follow the Kokopelli trail marker

nice scenery along the track

You will come to a rock overhang named projection rock at ( 38.688750, -109.170667 ).

Make a stop at Projection rock for pictures

Projection rock

Back side of the mountains in the distance

mountains in the distance

From Projection Rock it is 3.7 miles to the next intersection at ( 38.644870, -109.157600 ) take a right onto FR0033, continuing 6.5 miles to the Bull Canyon Overlook, where you can stop and see dinosaur tracks.

Bull Canyon Overlook

Dinosaur tracks at Bull Canyon Overlook

Now it is roughly 5 miles to hit the paved La Sal Mountain Road. You can turn left to follow it 34 miles to Moab or turn right and head down through Castle Valley and back to highway 128, 29 miles to Moab.

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