Canyonlands NP: Needles District 4/24-4/27

AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
96
Hey everyone, originally this was going to be my first solo vacation but a few weeks before I was to start my drive from the Chicago suburbs my dad called me up and asked if he could tag along. So it became our first father son road trip, thankfully it went smoothly! His plan was to camp in Dead Horse Point State Park for the four days I hiked around the needles. It was my first time ever out in a desert terrain and my dads first time out to Utah and we both loved it. It truly is a beautiful and unique place! We spent two days exploring the area before I would start my hike, so these first few pictures are from Dead Horse Point and the northern portion of Canyonlands.

32253128_10213254411088003_3380512455955316736_o.jpg
31582397_10213185157556708_4000989879944085504_o.jpg
31732092_10213190930781035_7208116739542876160_o.jpg
31689289_10213190931261047_9003008324437803008_o.jpg
31655494_10213184070729538_8989983251997130752_o.jpg
31542692_10213184071649561_6574255390005919744_o.jpg


The morning of my hike I asked a ranger about water availability while I was out there and she looked at me as though I was crazy. She told me I would be lucky to find any and that I should carry at least 9 liters to start the hike. I only had the capacity to carry 7 so I filled them all up and took off. I had read about a few areas that would have water so I knew I would have a decent chance of finding some. At the trail head I also talked to some people who had just finished up basically the loop I was doing and got more conformations of water, so that calmed the nerves a bit. I would be doing a loop through Lost Canyon, up to Chesler Park and then back past Elephant Canyon and through Big Spring Canyon back to the trail head. The green lines are side hikes I did after setting up camp, with plenty more off trail exploring as well in Lost Canyon.


Untitled.png


Day 1:
My dad walked with me in for maybe a half a mile and then I was on my own. This was my first time solo backpacking so it was pretty exciting to get it started. The terrain was gorgeous and I only past a few day hikers on my way out to Lost Canyon site #2 I believe. Took a few hours and wasn't bad at all, though the ladders were pretty intimidating when I first came across them. When I got to the site, I set up camp and had some nice ant neighbors that I watched for a bit as they did their thing. I explored the area for a few hours, climbing up on rocks and just enjoying the view hoping to see some wildlife, no luck on that front. It got pretty windy in the canyon as the sun set, so as it got dark I climbed into my tent and started to read. I got out in the middle of the night hoping to see some stars but sadly some light clouds and rolled in.

Here is the friendly guy who pointed out where some water would be for me.
31578002_10213183981767314_5115027980468355072_o.jpg
31543243_10213183982247326_9181681665485832192_o.jpg
31531439_10213183986247426_1076163747468279808_o (1).jpg

32072699_10155201689641930_3795774946676834304_o.jpg
31947588_10155201688486930_2304709752027873280_o.jpg
31959770_10155201689126930_4070778962450579456_o.jpg
31957656_10155201688306930_1016025306152042496_o.jpg
31958322_10155201688871930_7086521886066081792_o.jpg


Day 2:
I had found some water a couple hundred yards away from camp so the next morning I topped back off and headed towards Chesler Park. The walk was nice through the canyon with a decent amount of running water as well. I didn't see anyone for a few hours which was nice. The one thing I wasn't expecting was how much sand I would be walking in. Not just sandy trails but trails that were just like walking on the beach, it made the walking a tad bit more difficult but not bad. Day two would be my longest by far at close to 7 miles I believe. The thing that was the most difficult for me was the amount of scrambling that was needed. I had an idea there would be a bit but it ended up being more tiring than I was anticipating. All went smoothly but I was pretty happy to make it up to Chesler Park. The last two miles were starting to take a toll on me, especially with the sun beating down on me constantly. For most of the day I wore a light wind breaker to keep the sun off me and thankfully it doesn't retain much heat at all, so I made it out of there without any sunburns.

Before making it to Chesler Park there was a small section of the trail where you have to squeeze yourself between to big rocks and the gap you had to squeeze through also went down, so it was a very tricky spot to get through with a pack. I ended up taking my pack off and holding it out in front of me as I pushed it through the opening. Was pretty damn challenging but a nice memory now! After making it to Chesler Park I took a little nap, had some snacks and then explored. I wondered around the Joint Trail, which was really cool and I definitely recommend checking it out. The sunset on the needles was beautiful and was perhaps the quietest place I have ever been.

31950471_10155201687221930_2210924158957649920_o.jpg
31958662_10155201689216930_3950099937735213056_o.jpg
31947448_10155201688011930_4365400206989066240_o.jpg


I found some evidence of bigfoot...
31944464_10155201687591930_8224799712562118656_n.jpg


It kind of looks like a....oh nvm...
31949225_10155201687026930_3823284572984967168_o.jpg


31949432_10155201687136930_2791589538214969344_o.jpg

32086681_10155201687476930_1739888678924189696_o.jpg


Joint Trail
31961450_10155201689566930_1199682613149696000_o.jpg


31946892_10155201687871930_1170814643304660992_o.jpg
31961176_10155201688966930_656857686771499008_o.jpg


Day 3:
Day three was an easy one, only two miles or maybe less to Elephant Canyon 1. I got there pretty quick and hid my stuff under a rock and took off towards Druid Arch. I brought my pack with some food and containers to fill up with some more water. The hike to the arch was almost all like walking on a beach but the surrounding canyon was very nice. The final scramble up to the top of Druid Arch was a lot harder than I was expecting and frankly it seemed a little bit dangerous for a hike they were recommending to older couples at the visitor center. The last bit was a lot of vertical scrambles up some slippery and loose rocks and again had a tricky ladder to navigate. The view at the top was very nice though and I'm glad I did it. I hung out at the top for awhile and had it to myself for about 30min and decided to descend when some other people showed up. On my walk back I ran until an older gentleman who I believe was 70 and was out in the area alone day hiking. He was a very interesting man with a very interesting life and I ended up spending more than an hour talking to him. Eventually I made it back to my campsite and once some shade settled in over the flat area I set up my tent and sat back to relax and people watch. The main trail went by pretty close to where I was along a cliff but nobody seemed to notice me so I got to hear some weird stories being told. About an hour before sunset the older man walked past my site down below in the canyon and was heading in the wrong direction. I tried calling out to him but he didn't seem to hear me and was looking confused. I scrambled down to him and got him to come back to my site to get some water. He had been out there for more than twelve hours with only two liters of water. I gave him some of mine and he sat down with me to have some food too while drinking. He again ended up staying for almost an hour talking with me before hiking back out in the right direction just after sunset. After that I settled into my tent to do some more reading. Once thing I forgot to mention was that on night two I woke up on the ground...my sleeping pad had gone flat and I could not find a hole. It held air for about an hour before going totally flat so I would wake up rather often. Thankfully REI has a good return policy and I was able to return it afterwards.


31958193_10155201688146930_6676590381766803456_o.jpg

31952715_10155201688676930_2743923299674226688_o.jpg
31958248_10155201687166930_5973474960914513920_o.jpg

31959319_10155201688441930_7571238756787683328_o (1).jpg


Day 4:
I got up early to meet my dad at the trail head. He had about a two hour drive from his camp to get me, before we would turn around and drive 8 more hours before stopping for the night. The hike out was again very nice. Clear blue skies, cool (ish) temps to start off and not many people. I didn't take many pictures on the way out sadly but it was just as beautiful as the rest of the hike. I made it out too quick almost and had to wait an hour for him to arrive, oh well. I didn't talk about it earlier but for much of the trip water was weighing heavy on my mind. I drink a lot of water it seems and I got low on the second and third day before finding some on the trail to Druid. I had thought about hiking out if I was unable to find any so thankfully I did. The only issue I had with solo backpacking was the evenings before going to bed. I always had this weird feeling that there was something I should be doing but there really never was. I hope to get out solo again soon to see if I can get past that feeling, hopefully in an area with more water though. Overall the trip was a huge success! The needles is an amazing place, the surrounding area of Utah is unbelievable and the weather was perfect.

Next up for me was going to be a solo trip in Colorado in September but my uncle has now talked his way into joining me on his first backpacking trip in more than 30 years, so should be fun! Looking like we will be doing a four day hike in the Rawah Wilderness. Thanks for reading! Sorry if the pictures are a bit blurry, was saving them off of facebook, my computer crashed.
 

Attachments

  • 31958131_10155201687361930_3364411315052347392_o.jpg
    31958131_10155201687361930_3364411315052347392_o.jpg
    325.1 KB · Views: 41
  • 31946086_10155201689941930_531919527672283136_o.jpg
    31946086_10155201689941930_531919527672283136_o.jpg
    562.4 KB · Views: 41

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,094
Love it! Very similar to the route that I did. I bet that was great to have your dad there for the ride there and back while still being able to get some alone time on the trail. Best of both worlds. Thanks for the report.
 

AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
96
Love it! Very similar to the route that I did. I bet that was great to have your dad there for the ride there and back while still being able to get some alone time on the trail. Best of both worlds. Thanks for the report.

Thanks! Yeah it was really nice having him come along, definitely made the drive a lot better that's for sure! He had a good story when I got back about how he forgot to secure his cooler and ravens got all of his hot dogs and a steak.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,094
Thanks! Yeah it was really nice having him come along, definitely made the drive a lot better that's for sure! He had a good story when I got back about how he forgot to secure his cooler and ravens got all of his hot dogs and a steak.

Lol, I’m pretty sure @Jackson knows those guys.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
1,263
Great share! Epic photo to have of yourself (first one).
Glad the father son road trip went ok :wavespin:
 

Titans

Member
.
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
1,428
Thank you for posting this - what an amazing trip! Love your pictures :))
We did several long day hikes in November/December 2017 from Elephant Hill trailhead in the Needles district and we were blown away by Chesler Park, Joint Trail and Squaw Canyon. Your report encourages us to make a multi-day trip! Thanks.
 

AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
96
Thank you for posting this - what an amazing trip! Love your pictures :))
We did several long day hikes in November/December 2017 from Elephant Hill trailhead in the Needles district and we were blown away by Chesler Park, Joint Trail and Squaw Canyon. Your report encourages us to make a multi-day trip! Thanks.

Thanks! It is definitely an amazing place, you wouldn't regret doing a multi-day hike that's for sure!
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,689
Cool trip! Glad it went well. The rangers in the Needles are notorious for their water-related paranoia :)
 

Deleted User

Deleted User
Joined
Aug 5, 2016
Messages
294
Looks like an amazing place! I have not spent much time in Canyonlands. I think that may have to change. Without stirring up a whole bunch of controversy, can you tell me how long in inches that track in the mud is? It looks huge compared to the hiking shoe prints next to it. The depth it put in the mud compared to the tread on those boots/shoes that left the track to the left of the photo has me curious. That is a deep print. Thanks for sharing. Sorry in advance for my curiosity.
 

AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
96
Rick and I need to make that happen! Here is a link to Rick's 360 SPHERE PICTURE in Needles Canyonlands :
(spin it around and it will feel like you are right back there now):
https://kuula.co/post/7lDxN

Sorry for the late response, been in the woods and mountains the last 2 weeks. :)
Oh man that is cool. I really need to look into getting one of those 360 cameras!

Looks like an amazing place! I have not spent much time in Canyonlands. I think that may have to change. Without stirring up a whole bunch of controversy, can you tell me how long in inches that track in the mud is? It looks huge compared to the hiking shoe prints next to it. The depth it put in the mud compared to the tread on those boots/shoes that left the track to the left of the photo has me curious. That is a deep print. Thanks for sharing. Sorry in advance for my curiosity.

It really is an amazing place, be sure to check it out! In regards to the footprint I want to say it was close to the size of my 10.5 shoe, so somebody or something ;) with a big foot. My guess is that it was somebody walking around in those toe-shoes that happened to have big feet and probably stepped there when it was a lot muddier, hence it being deep. Though looking back on it I don't see any tread patterns so maybe it was somebody just messing with me and going barefoot...or bigfoot!
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
J Canyonlands Needles District simple backpack with a close friend April 1-3, 2021 Backpacking 2
J Canyonlands Natl Park Needles District Circumnavigation April 9 to 15, 2018 Backpacking 1
JDWalters Canyonlands/ Needles District question Trip Planning 5
George_Washington_Hayduke Canyonlands Figure 8: Packrafting Loop through the Needles and Maze District Backpacking 2
IntrepidXJ Bear-proof gear will be required at Needles District of Canyonlands General Discussion 36
Melissa Suggestions for shuttle hike in the Needles district of Canyonlands Trip Planning 17
Tyler Canyonlands NP: Needles District (Paul Bunyans Potty, Tower Ruin, and Druid Arch) May 2008 Hiking & Camping 3
TrailScot Canyonlands NP Needles backpacking permit in winter General Discussion 5
angeedraper Canyonlands - Needles 2 Night Backpacking (April 29-May1) Backpacking 0
JBPHXAZ Canyonlands Needles Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 8
K Hiking the Needles Canyonlands Trip Planning 9
Mike Schasch Canyonlands/Needles hiking along river Trip Planning 7
C day hikes in Canyonlands Needles in late November Trip Planning 19
J Canyonlands Needles Dist.: Crosscanyon Backpack Traverse April 10-15, 2016 Backpacking 1
Sarah Canyonlands: Hiking the Needles and Island in the Sky Hiking & Camping 6
Desertratgal 5 Days Solo Packrafting Canyonlands On The Water 4
Desertratgal Canyonlands Packrafting Rough Draft Trip Planning 18
dpnoll Colorado Canyonlands Backpacking 10
IntrepidXJ Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Accepting Comments on Proposed Fee Increases for Backcountry Operations General Discussion 38
Laura V. Bears in Salt Creek Canyon, Canyonlands Trip Planning 76
IntrepidXJ Canyonlands Permits going to Recreation.gov General Discussion 4
J Family hike in the Maze in June? (Canyonlands / Moab) Am I crazy? Trip Planning 5
Parma Pssst, don't tell anyone but Canyonlands is opening up General Discussion 3
gnwatts BLM Oil and Gas lease auction, Arches, Canyonlands, Bears Ears etc. General Discussion 5
DouginGJCO Hiking &/or backpacking partner for Canyonlands Natl Park and nearby Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
OwenM Canyonlands in winter/off-season Trip Planning 19
chandlerwest Monument Basin - Canyonlands NP - Not enough hours in a day. Hiking & Camping 6
P Salt creek in Canyonlands Trip Planning 13
Parma Missing Person In Canyonlands General Discussion 2
U Maze District of Canyonlands question Trip Planning 15
M Water in Canyonlands Salt Creek early April? Trip Planning 11
zionsky Arches & Canyonlands closed due to snow General Discussion 12
Benjamin Hayden Looking for advice on Maze District, Canyonlands Trip Planning 1
C cave of 200 hands in Canyonlands Trip Planning 0
IntrepidXJ Canyonlands National Park: Expanded Bear Container Requirements General Discussion 7
D Canyonlands 1976 Backpacking 2
Brian Skibbe Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP. May 2017 Hiking & Camping 3
J "Mazing" Six day backpack in Canyonlands Maze Dist. Pt 2. April 13-15, 2017 Backpacking 8
J "Mazing" Six day backpack in Canyonlands Maze Dist. Pt 1. April 10-12, 2017 Backpacking 0
blueeyes Canyonlands/Moab Jug Handle Bikepack Loop March 18, 2017 Everything Else 21
C Canyonlands: Chesler Park, Virginia Park ??? Trip Planning 7
C Horse Canyon on Canyonlands Trip Planning 7
D 2 or 3 DayTrip To Canyonlands National Park Trip Planning 34
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 4 of 4) Backpacking 14
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 3 of 4) On The Water 8
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 2 of 4) Backpacking 18
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 1 of 4) Backpacking 12
DrNed Canyonlands - Island In The Sky Hiking & Camping 12
DrNed Camping Outside of Canyonlands Trip Planning 7
Scott Chandler Veteran's Day Snow in Canyonlands Hiking & Camping 3

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top