3 Days in Canyonlands Needles District
Well, after my very successful and gorgeous trip to Utah last year (we did Zion, Bryce, Escalante and Capitol Reef areas) I am heading back to Utah AGAIN this year and have three days to spend in Canyonlands.
Everyone here gave me some wonderful suggestions last year for "must do" hikes so I'm hitting y'all up for info on Canyonlands since our time there is so limited.
I'll be in Canyonlands in September and was looking at the Needles District so what day hikes would you recommend there? I have Confluence Overlook on my list as well as Chesler Park/Devil's Kitchen. Would it better to go to the Island in the Sky district? Horseshoe Canyon is already on my list for a day before we go to one of the other districts~~~~
Any suggestions/recommendations are much appreciated so thanks in advance!
07-18-2008 08:45 PM
What type of vehicle will you be taking?
I have a high clearance Nissan XTerra NOT 4WD so I know I need to be careful and check road conditions if I go out to Horseshoe.
Unless there is a large storm, Horseshoe Canyon should not be a problem. The Road is actually very good, just a little rough towards the end. You might want to consider Little Wild Horse Canyon while you're in the area. And Goblin Valley.
Can't help with Needles, never been there.
Quoting my best friend, Bob McNally, after a bad boating trip: "Nature scares me!"
Utah photos: www.winpics.fototime.com
Unless there is a large storm, Horseshoe Canyon should not be a problem.
Also be aware that as the crow flies, Horseshoe Canyon and the Needles may appear pretty close, but they are actually several hours away from each other by vehicle.
There are some nice hikes from Island in the Sky, but the Needles is better for hiking uless you have a 4WD.
Would it better to go to the Island in the Sky district?
In the Needles, I would recommend the following:
Upper Salt Creek
In the Horseshoe Canyon area, you should visit Bluejohn Canyon:
If you come in the West E/E route you can get in and see some great parts with out using ropes.
Win...thanks for description of road conditions to Horseshoe. I was a little worried being that it is near the Maze and the fact that I don't have 4WD
Scott.....Thanks for the recommendations. I know that it'll be a drive to Horseshoe Canyon but we are actually going to be in Arches NP for a few days prior to visiting the Needles district and plan on leaving at half past dark to get to Horseshoe Canyon. Does BlueJohn require any technical hiking/canyoneering/rappeling?
Chesler Park is on my list and I'll look into Druid Arch as well.
Awesome to get feedback from people who have been to these places. I wish I had more than just a few days to spend up there in each area.
Thanks so much~~~y'all are the best!
Not via the route I mentioned above. Here is the link:
Does BlueJohn require any technical hiking/canyoneering/rappeling?
I have no problem with canyoneering/scrambling but am not into technical climbing and have no climbing gear so I'll check out this second link. When I read the description of the first link it seemed that there was some rappelling and high class technical stuff I'm just not suited for which is why I asked.
I appreciate your feedback
I would add the Peek-a-Boo trail from Squaw Flat to the Peek-a-boo campground, then another mile along the road to the crassly named but beautiful Paul Bunyan's Potty. Nice hike, lots of varied terrain, and it really gets you into the heart of the Needles...
Thanks Richard....I LOVE your pictures and those landscapes are the reason I keep returning to Southern Utah.
Will research your recommendation as well
I'd recommend heading to the Elephant Hill Carpark/Trailhead and commence your day hike to Chesler Park and work out a route among the trails in order to visit Druid Arch as well as the Joint Trail. If that proves to be too ambitious, you could break it into two day hikes with the hike to Druid departing from the Squaw Flat Campground Trailhead instead of Elephant Hill.
From the campground you can also hit the Peek-A-Boo trail and as Richard notes you can include Paul Bunyan's Potty and even the Tower Ruin if you're feeling strong.
The Confluence Trail, in my opinion, doesn't have nearly the wow factor that Chesler Park or Peek-a-Boo has. I'd save that for the third day and if you're slowed down by blisters, heat and muscle fatigue perhaps just a loop involving a stroll on the Elephant Hill jeep trail might suffice.
And if by the third day your feet are completely done in, consider driving back to the Dugout Ranch and taking that dirt road south out to Beef Basin and visit the roadside ruins.
Plan on carrying all your water on these hikes. Shade will be at a premium during the midday hours. The Needles trails are well marked and well maintained.
erial...Thanks for your input. Everyone who has replied has mentioned Chesler Park and Druid Arch so these seem to be the hikes to do. We'll being in Canyonlands after hiking many other miles in Arches and Horseshoe Canyon so I am trying to plan one day with a longer, more difficult hike and the next with shorter, easier hikes so not to overtax our bodies. We might have to do the Confluence hike on another trip because we definitely want the WOW factor.
If you have time and like archeology/anthropology you should look into hiking to the All American Man.
I also highly recommend doing the Joint Trail when you do Chesler Park.
You also asked about the Island, and while it's all beautiful, I found the Lathrop Trail particularly nice last November. You might consider it. It was late in the day when I took it, so I only went about 2.2 miles, but if you get an early start, you can go all the way to the river...
My trip plans are almost finalized and I wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions.
One member even went out of his way to send me a detailed topo map (you know who you are!!!) MUCHAS GRACIAS Next time you are in the Phoenix area, let me know.
Richard....your pictures are pretty freakin' awesome! I'm thinking I need to see ALL the place you suggested.
Thank you all! I could not have planned this without your input.
This may or may not be useful, but i believe there is a vending machine located near the visitor center. After a long day in the hot sun having exhausted the contents of rather warm water bottles, i do recall all these years later the bliss of rocking in a few quarters and enjoying an extremely ice cold bottle of dasani.
EIGHT days to go! I feel like I'm 7 years old again and it's almost Christmas. Can't wait to hit the trails.....OH the anticipation!!!!
Thanks again for all your input and with your suggestions, making this another memorable trip.