Druid Arch & Canyonlands Overlook


Jan 17, 2012
Friday - Sunday, March 15-17, 2013

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

After work on Friday I got in my Jeep and started driving towards The Needles District of Canyonlands. I reached a campsite just outside the park shorty before sunset. As I was getting my tent setup the setting sun broke free of the clouds and lit up the red rocks surrounding me, so I dropped what I was doing and grabbed my camera for a few shots.

Beautiful light on North Six Shooter Peak.

Six Shooter Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Camp View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I was up very early on Saturday morning so I could get on the trail to Druid Arch before sunrise. I ended up leaving the Elephant Hill trailhead about an hour before sunrise. As I hiked along the trail I watched the darkness turn to a soft light. Clouds had moved in overnight so the sky was completely overcast this morning, so there would be no direct sunlight to light up the canyon above me. There were a few drizzles of rain along the way, but nothing heavy enough to even get me wet. I ended up making it to the arch in about an hour and 45 minutes...it was a brisk and rejuvenating hike. The springlike temperature was perfect and there was no wind.

When I reached Druid Arch I took a few photos and then sat in silence for a while. The peaceful silence was only broken occasionally by the call of a raven. With spires all around me I laid down on the cool sandstone and enjoyed the solitude. After about an hour alone, I heard a sound. It sounded like car tires on pavement, but I knew there was no road nearby. The wind had picked up significantly in the canyon below. Then is started to rain a little and the wind picked up around me, too. It was a good time to start hiking back. I could smell the rain all around me. I'd rather be disturbed by the wind and the rain than by the first group of hikers for the day, which thankfully I wouldn't see until I was almost back to the trailhead. It was a great morning.

Looking back towards Elephant Canyon from Druid Arch.

Elephant Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Finally! Druid Arch - I've wanted to hike here for years! Too bad it was overcast this morning. Guess I will have to return another time ;)

Druid Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After returning form the hike I took my time and drove up to the Canyonlands Overlook in the nearby Canyon Rims Recreation Area. I have been to this viewpoint before but this time I wanted to photograph the sunset and then spend the night so I could catch the sunrise, too.

My campsite near the edge of the mesa.

Canyonlands Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This is a great place to catch a sunset.

Canyonlands Overlook by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Canyonlands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The following morning there were too many clouds in the sky which cancelled my plans of photographing the sunrise. After taking down my camp I decided to take a quick drive out to the Anticline Overlook since I was so close. By the time I reached the overlook the sky had started to clear up a little and the sun was shining.

Looking down on Hurrah Pass and Kane Creek towards Moab from the Anticline Overlook. You can even spot The Portal near Moab.

Hurrah Pass by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Edge of the mesa.

Canyon Rims by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another excellent weekend in the canyonlands region!

>> Druid Arch & Canyonlands Overlook Photo Gallery

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I lava it!!!
Jan 19, 2012
wow!! Again a lot of breath taking shots, especially the sunset shots are amazing.
And thanks for the great Druid Arch shot. Even with overcast skies it looks so impressive. Can't wait to see it soon.
How early did you start to get to the Arch? I guess it's best seen early morning


Dec 11, 2012
You pictures are fantastic. Great quality. Will be there next week. Can't wait. Campsite was great too. Thanks for the report


Dec 21, 2012
Again nice job.

Makes me jealous, I was to do this hike/backpack next week:( It does remind me that I have to get rid of my pass, any takers? Can you give them away or turn them back in to the rangers? If anyone wants it they can have it for free. It is good for campsite EC3 on 4-9

Robert Jenshoej

New Member
May 21, 2014
I'm heading out to Canyonlands in a month and I had thought about doing an overnight backpacking trip in the needles. However, I saw the picture of your campsite atop the mesa and that really piqued my curiosity as an awesome place to camp. Absolutely fantastic! Where exactly was it?


Jan 17, 2012
It's the Canyonlands Overlook in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area...on the way to the Anticline Overlook it's a 4x4 side road that takes you to the overlook.


Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Jun 7, 2012
The overcast shot of Druid is some of the best lighting I've seen of it. Every time I've seen it (in photo's and IRL) the sun is behind it, and blasts out the image.

Such a cool arch, hard to take photo's of it though.


Jan 17, 2012
Well, I was hoping for some early morning direct light on the arch...just didn't happen on this trip. I will have to try again some other time :)

Robert Jenshoej

New Member
May 21, 2014
Thanks. I had a feeling it would be on the 4x4 road. While I have an Escape, it's not 4x4. Know I'll have a great time regardless, but that would have been an awesome place to camp.
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