The last 200 yards you will have an extremely steep climb over slippery terrain and as a result many … Island in the Sky is shorter hikes, as this section is more catered to motorists with easily accessible viewpoints. The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands, so hikers must be self sufficient and deal with their own emergencies. Discover a landscape dominated by signature towering Cedar Mesa sandstone spires poking up from the desert floor and over 60 miles of trails that create the colorful canvas painted with red-and-white striped mesas, buttes, and needles. Many of the trails intersect, and a typical hike involves combining several of them, to form a loop. We had a blast. Here are our favorite short hikes in the Needles district of Canyonlands. ★ Prepare for desert days filled with world class four-wheel driving, backpacking, biking, camping, horseback riding, scenic drives, and stargazing when you visit. Hike the Elephant Hill Trail, which leads from a backcountry parking area in Canyonlands' Needles District and your eyes jump from the flowers rimming the trail and running across the ground to the surrounding minarets, boulders, and cliffs that define this section of the park. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Confluence Overlook is a nice hike to experience the Canyonlands. ). Also I frequently had to stop to scan for the next cairn. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The Joint was out of this world. We also got fantastic advice from the Rangers on places to see and how to get there. Dogs are allowed on leash at Squaw Flat Campground, on paved scenic drives, in parking lots, and on the Potash/Shafer Canyon road. The wilderness further west (The Grabens) and either side of Salt Creek to the south is essentially pathless. Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, the Needles District is a backpacker’s paradise. Elephant Hill, Lavender Canyon, and Peekaboo (Horse Canyon) roads all require day-use permits for four-wheel-drive, motorcycle, and bicycle travel. TrailAndHitch.com  is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The best short paths are probably Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome Overlook and Grand View. In this ancient land, wind-whipped and strewn sand across creating a layer of white sand. You could do it in a day if you start early and have plenty of water to bring along. This and Druid Arch are often considered the best in The Needles area. Take care, Hi Deborah! Cave Spring: Cave Spring is the best hike in the Needles district. I felt the hiking itself wouldn’t win any awards, but the views were absolutely phenomenal! Canyonlands is broken up into three districts, The Maze, Island in The Sky and The Needles. These cookies do not store any personal information. It’s easiest to think of the Island in the Sky having two distinct sections: (1) the overlooks, short hikes, and scenic drive on top of the mesa and (2) the area below the mesa, which you can get to by hiking or by driving the White Rim Road. It’s near Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. The Joint Trail winds through deep, narrow fractures in the rock. Definitely one of the highlights of our nearly week-long trip to Moab. It might be better to backpack out to Chesler Park, stay the night and then hike the loop. For our trip, we got the National Geographic Canyonlands National Park Map Pack. To get to the Needles park entrance takes about an hour and a half from Moab, UT by car. Chesler Park Loop Trail is by far the best trail in the Needles, but it takes a lot of sweat equity, water, and the whole day. Canyonlands National Park - Needles District, Chesler Park Viewpoint Loop via Druid Arch Trail, Lost Canyon Camp Site 1 Loop via Lost Canyon and Squaw Flat Loop, Big Spring to Squaw Canyon, Canyonlands Needles District, Lost Canyon Camp Site 1 Loop via Squaw Flat Loop and Lost Canyon, Best Hiking Trails in Canyonlands National Park - Needles District. 1 of 10 ... the National Park Service had to divvy it. The trail also offers lessons on local desert plant life through interpretive signs. Utah's largest national park spans 527 square miles, with 3 districts. The park posts signs asking visitors not to disturb the potholes by touching and walking around them – even when dry. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. An attentive wife, lover of geekish things, avid blogger, amateur photographer, and a freelance web developer & desktop publisher for hire who is seeking wisdom through the passions of adventure. Hiking trails and four-wheel-drive roads access backcountry areas for day or overnight trips. The east rim features an overlook of Little Spring Canyon and distant views of the La Sal Mountains. Canyonlands National Park is an enormous region; in fact, it’s the largest national park in Utah. Best Hikes in Canyonlands. Spring and Fall are the peak seasons to visit, with highs from 60 to 80 degrees fahrenheit and lows from 30 to 50. For more details of these click here. As a result, the park is divided into three regions: The Needles, Island in the Sky and The Maze. While snowfall is rare, a rogue dusting could mean impassable trails, come prepared for a winter wonderland by day and temperatures below zero at night. The highlights of this trail are Aztec granaries (storehouses) and of course the view from the top of the butte that overlooks the middle portion of the Island in the Sky. Toddlers will need to be carefully carried up. ★ Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roadslead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park. Some routes and trails require climbing up or down ladders out of a dry wash, walking along precipitous canyon ledges, and scrambling through cracks. Located along the access road coming into the Needles District, take a step back in time to explore one of Utah’s Historic Monuments, Newspaper Rock… Some of the campsites can be reserved during certain times of the year. As you continue along the stream bed, a sandy trail, you’ll cut left passing several potholes and travel up toward the rocky part of a trail. Got to the trailhead around 7:30 am and we were one of the first few cars there. Cozy up at Squaw Flat Campground, an ideal base camp to popular day hikes like Chesler Park, Druid Arch and Joint Trail. The trek is strenuous, with numerous ups and downs, various terrain including uneven rocks, slick rock, and sandy streambeds. Discover a landscape dominated by signature towering Cedar Mesa sandstone spires poking up from the desert floor and over 60 miles of trails that create the colorful canvas painted with red-and-white striped mesas, buttes, and needles. This video describes the hike starting at the Elephant Hill Trailhead and going to Chesler Park the way it was on 10-28-2017. That sediment forms the red rock layers contrasting against the white sandstone. Another short hike that features a bit of history of the Needles area. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Backpacked this hike and went further into the joint trail then were lucky enough to stay in CP1. But driving the extra distance to explore The Needles District of the park is totally worth it. Regular floods from nearby mountains (present-day Grand Junction, Colorado) would submerge the sand with red sediment. The loop is 5 for a total of 11 miles if you decide to do it in one day. Trying to pick the best hikes in Canyonlands National Park can be challenging. The Island is the easiest district to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive. Definitely the highlight hike in the Needles (which is saying a lot). ★ National Parks, Travel Adventures, Utah We hope to get there someday and will definitely appreciate your advice Each pool is a curious ecosystem extremely sensitive to the slightest change. Not a lot of vertical on this trail, mostly pretty level. Pothole Point Trail is a short but sweet hike that traverses sandstone dimpled with pockets. This park is made up of three districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. The La Sal Mountains sit in the distance, often with snow-capped peaks, and slickrock hiking adds to the fun factor of exploring the desert of the Southwest. 8 great hikes in Canyonlands National Park . This family friendly hiking trail in the Needles district of Canyonlands NP will not disappoint! This section of the hike is the famous “Joint Trail” and part of what makes this one of America’s best desert day hikes. We saw vast views filled with sheer sandstone cliffs against a flame and copper sunset and explored overlooks showcasing a spectacular landscape. ★. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Just follow the cairns and stick to the trail. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I had a good time, though. Those used to crowded National Park roads and lines will find the Needles District refreshingly quiet—the nearest town, Monticello is a 60-minute drive, and Moab is a 90-minute drive. You’ll enjoy walking between gaps of lesser pinnacles then down to the floor of Elephant Canyon, and then past the grassland of Chesler park along a stream bed. Thanks to the rough terrain, some of the most beautiful arches and sceneries can only be accessed on foot. Pack and plan accordingly, as there is only one paved road, UT 211, that leads in and out of the Needles area. The Needles. The Pothole Point trail is a little under a mile long and takes about 40 minutes (more or less) to hike. The trail starts at Big Spring Canyon Overlook and crosses over a sandy area and crossing a gully before reaching the loop properly. It was hard to keep a good pace in the dry creekbed on the south section of the Big Spring trail (southwest section of this loop.) Trails in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park are either short, easy routes to viewpoints on the rim, or longer and more strenuous paths that descend from the plateau, to the White Rim Road or further down towards the Green and Colorado rivers. Armed with maps, sound advice, and my trusty Sunnto Compass (which I’ve owned for nearly two decades now) we felt prepared for a day hikes in the Needles. Dogs are not allowed on leash at overlooks, on hiking trails, in the backcountry or on backcountry roads (even in your vehicle) or in the rivers. This trail provides many great panoramas of the Needles formations. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Your email address will not be published. Winter can be a beautiful but challenging time to visit, and if you’re up for the challenge, developed campgrounds and roads are open year-round. Best Hikes in Canyonlands National Park for Kids | Needles District. Summer can be sweltering and reach well beyond 100 degrees along with the potential of flash floods. A great sunrise hike. Required fields are marked *. Further along, is a great view of Big Spring Canyons against the crimson cliffs and faraway mesas beyond. Very nice detailed article with great pictures! Over 60 miles of interconnecting trails weave in and out of the pinnacles, slot canyons, arches, and other beautiful rock formations. Monticello, UT, is technically the nearest town and it still takes about an hour to get to the Needles. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Some of the most famous and well preserved works of native rock art can be seen along this hike along with the soaring … Every trail offers something different and amazing, sweeping views, hidden arches, artifacts or writings left behind by native peoples, or an opportunity to get truly off the beaten path to absorb the feeling of being alone in the vast red desert. The confluence of the Green River and the Colorado, deep within spectacular canyons, lies in the heart of the … USA ; Utah (UT) Canyonlands Nationalpark ; Sehenswürdigkeiten und Aktivitäten in Canyonlands Nationalpark ; The Needles; Suchen. It is only .6 miles around the loop, and much of it is cool and shaded even on the hottest day. On the west rim, you will stand next to Big Spring Canyon and be able to get a good look at the layers of rock. Are you in love with the idea of seeing ALL 5 of Utah’s amazing National Parks? Hiking in Canyonlands is a truly rewarding experience. by Carltonaut No Comments. Trailhead: Big Spring Canyon Trailhead, at the end of the paved road in the Needles. ★ Thanks and I’m glad to hear from you again. The last 0.25 … The final part of the trail climbs up a gully, over a boulder and then a hill leading directly to Druid Arch. What an absolutly beautiful place. The Maze is an incredibly remote area that is only for adventurers that are experienced and well-prepared. If you want to make the most of exploring this fantastic area, you either must head out early or camp in the park. There are also some more strenuous canyonlands hikes that you can do ranging from 5.4 miles to 21.6 miles. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The Chesler Park Loop should be on the top of your bucket list to view panoramic views of the Needles formations and for a dose of history, check out Cave Spring, an accessible loop that leads to a historic cowboy camp and prehistoric rock paintings. What to do in Canyonlands National Park – The Needles District Canyonlands National Park. The 11-mile round trip hike drops you into what feels like some of the Southwest’s famous slot canyons, but without the crowds. Did this hike on a Saturday in late September. A few tricky spots along the way, but those spots are a lot of fun to navigate. Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, the Needles District is a backpacker’s paradise. Island in the Sky and the Needles are the easiest areas to access and are the best for the first time visitor. ★ The landscape is just stunning! Many trails are marked with cairns (rock piles) and have signs at the intersections, however, some of the remote trails do not receive regular maintenance and may not be marked, requiring some route finding skills. This park, located near Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park, has a lot of great hikes to choose from for hikers of all capabilities. Located along the access road coming into the Needles District, take a step back in time to explore one of Utah’s Historic Monuments, Newspaper Rock, a massive rock formation covered with pictographs and petroglyphs from various prehistoric cultures which have been attributed to peoples from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures some 2,000 years ago. I would suggest that you not attempt this during the summer since day temperatures often exceed 100° F or 38° C. If you are a fan of geology, then this hike is for you. Most people flock to Island in the Sky at Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is the high desert, so be prepared for potential swings in temperature of 40 degrees in a day and bring plenty of layers. Druid Arch. The sandstone spires rise hundreds of feet and form a network of canyons and grasslands interspersed between them. Full Day Needles Tour; Full Day Canyonlands Tour by White Water Raft and 4WD; Utah National Parks Tour. If backpacking isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend staying at The Squaw Flat Campground and doing one of the best Needles Canyonlands hikes: Chesler Park Loop Trail. The Slickrock Foot Trail is fun for kids, with plenty of rocks for them to climb, plus incredible scenery for the entire hike. The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park covers a vast area and has plenty of trails, though the majority are concentrated in just one part, south and west of the park road. Druid Arch in The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park Chesler Park Loop Trail. GPS and cellphones often cut out while in the Needles. The out and back hike on the peek a boo trail is not to be missed. All overnight trips into the backcountry require an overnight permit, and trips on the river require their own permit. Chesler Park Loop Trail is by far the best trail in the Needles, but it takes a lot of sweat equity, water, and the whole day. I recommend it. 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