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.
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?!
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.
Below is remnants of a cowboy camp:
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.
Below is an area created for storage or ceremonial purposes (most likely hundreds of years old):
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.