Travel Destination: Canyonlands National Park-The Needles

The next step in our Utah National Parks adventure last May was to visit The Needles, a section of Canyonlands. Canyonlands is divided into three parts by the Green and Colorado rivers. The most visited part, Islands in the Sky, we visited the following day. The Maze, a much more remote area, we did not visit. For me, The Needles was remote enough!

Unless you choose to camp, the most convenient area to stay is in Moab. There is plenty of lodging there and we chose a location near Arches, and not too far from Islands in the Sky.

The drive to The Needles was about one and a half hours. Once we left the main road, we had quite a drive into the park and cell services were limited or non-existent. This always makes me a bit nervous, but fortunately all went well. We saw an occasional vehicle along the route, but very few until we got inside the park and to the hiking areas. They did have camping inside the park, so we saw a good number of people during our visit.

My overall opinion of The Needles is that it is fascinating, beautiful, desolate, and very open. Water, sunblock and snacks are mandatory. It was also very windy, at least the day we visited.

There were several hiking areas, and interesting stories about inhabitants of the past. There are some points where you can see over the canyon and view the distant Islands in the Sky.

It was certainly an adventure I’m glad we experienced. As you can see below, all of the terrain is very similar.

Along the road to the park entrance.

Inside the park

See the stack of rocks in the bottom of the next photo? That is how the entire hike is marked. Lose the rocks, and good luck! However, it was not difficult to follow the “path”. There were a lot of stacks of rocks. But I kept wondering, what if someone moved them?!

Slickrock Trail – Can be slippery in damp weather

Along Slickrock Trail

Below you can see the “needles” in the distance:

The area below is where water from a spring will seep through the porous rocks to create a pool. American Indians may have used this area. Before the park was created, cattle grazed the land and cowboys used the area as a temporary camp. The area still offers protection from the heat and the wind and is visited by wild animals.

Cave Spring Trail

Below is remnants of a cowboy camp:

Cave Spring Trail

Below is along Pothole Point Trail. Water collects in the potholes when it rains. We are asked to walk around the potholes and not to disturb the ecosystem.

Pothole Point Trail
Pothole Point Trail (my husband next to the huge rocks)

Below is an area created for storage or ceremonial purposes (most likely hundreds of years old):

Roadside Ruin Trail

They were in the process of doing some road improvements when we were there. The road below was recently paved. This was on our way back out of the park. It was beautiful desolate land. Learning about the area and the feeling of being so far away from everything was a fascinating experience.

Click to see my previous posts on the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef National Park, and Arches National Park.

27 Comments Add yours

  1. SoyBend says:

    We visited that area as well a few years ago. It didn’t seem like there were as many people there. I like your third shot – those rock formations look like giant mushrooms. Did you stop at Newspaper Rock and see all the petroglyphs? It was fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! No, we didn’t stop at Newpaper Rock. I remember driving by it, but we didn’t turn around and go back. Maybe we were too tired 😊 We didn’t see a lot of people, but enough so that we didn’t feel all alone out there!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard that Canyonlands is a great park. I would like to return to Utah for Canyonlands and Capital Reef. Thanks for confirming this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Watch for next post on Canyonlands Islands in the Sky. The weather was not ideal, but it was still a beautiful and amazing visit!


  3. Naomi says:

    That is a beautiful area. Makes you wonder about the people who lived there in the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes it does! Thank you! 😊


  4. The scale is awe inspiring, Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff Flesch says:

    Gorgeous pics and reflections, Lisa. There is a certain majesty to the desert. I lived in Phoenix for a few years and then in the high desert for a few more, and I miss it at times. Wonderful post. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jeff! The Needles was a fascinating experience, for sure! I did feel odd being so far away from civilization 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeff Flesch says:

        You’re most welcome, Lisa! Always. Ah, indeed, the desert can feel that way. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jyothi says:

    Great captures!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was quite an experience for sure! Great memories 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wind Kisses says:

    The photos are fantastic, but the info is one I will revisit. We are returning to Moab for a week in the Spring, and will venture into The Needles area. We will camp. I love the Cave Spring Trail/ cowboy remnants photos the best, but will put all of your hikes on our list. It is an amazing place. Great post!. donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Donna! I will look forward to seeing your post! It is so fun to see posts on places I’ve been! And you are so cool to be camping there 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wind Kisses says:

        we shall see. lol. I love being out there, but I hear every little thing. I just have to get used to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, I wonder what you will hear! When I am away from city noise, I love listening to nature. But then again, that’s during the day time! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wind Kisses says:

        Me too. Things we might not hear otherwise. Sound of the water, in any capacity is what I really love, even rain as long as I don’t live in it all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful thrilling adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an adventure for sure, and great memories! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just Teri says:

    Spectacular photos and wonderful insight and info❣️❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Teri! It was a real experience for me being so far away from everything. Fascinating place! 😊


  10. Whipped Owl says:

    Reblogged this on Whipped Owl and commented:
    I’ve always wanted to go there! Thank you for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! …and you’re welcome! It was awesome 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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