Salt Creek - Needles or other options in the Utah desert

Mar 18, 2014
Planning on a backpacking trip to Salt Creek for late October. I just started browsing the reservation system online and it looks like Salt Creek options are open for my dates.

Anybody with experience on this trip care to fill me in before I start to dig into researching -

What would be the best route to take to see all of the glory of this hike? How many nights should I set aside for this trip? Any recommendations on camp sites?

I'm guessing the best way to do this is with a car shuttle but that may be tricky (unless someone on this board wants to go in on permits and has time to meet up. I have October 26-29 off for a desert trip.

Other backpacks I've wanted to do are Death Hollow, Buckskin or Paria (although these are a bit more driving), or Horse, Wolverine & Little Death Hollow.

What's late Oct usually like, weather wise?

Thanks for any help you can give.
Late October is usually a very nice time of year down there. Either do an in-and-out from the top (cathedral Butte) or a through-hike from the top; don't do an in-and-out from the bottom. If you do the though hike (probably the best option), I recommend ending at squaw flat; the peekaboo trail there at the end is spectacular and will give you a taste of what the rest of the needles district is like. I would choose your campsites based on what works best from a hiking/mileage breakdown, as all the campsites are pretty nice I think. I would personally recommend 4-5 days for the trip. I would also recommend the David Day book.
Ryan is right, for the most part.

Most of the cool ruin stuff is closer to Cathedral Butte, and a shuttle to Squaw flat is definitely the way to go.

There is a whole lot of exploration in the area if you are motivated, look around and you'll find stuff not in the guidebooks.
Awesome, thanks for the advice! I looked up all the areas you were talking about on the NPS backcountry map. I've been to the Needles before and hiked the Lost Canyon loop as well as the Druid Arch hike as a long dayhike. I would be excited to get back though. How is that road to Cathedral Butte? My Honda Element used to be pretty tough with off roading, but at 200K miles I have to treat her more respectfully these days.
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