So, I had been near Canyonlands many times before, as Lockhart Basin is very close to the Needle District of Canyonlands, but I had never actually been into the National Park before.
Canyonlands National Park is a very big place, and the Needle District is one of three major sections of the park, the other two being Island in the Sky and The Maze. I started out my tour of the Needles District by driving along a dirt road that went towards the Colorado River Overlook, although I didn’t go all the way down to the overlook. The dirt road was not that bad, but I just wanted to have time to do everything I wanted to do. After that, I went to the Wooden Shoe Overlook, then I headed off to Elephant Hill. At Elephant Hill I hiked to Chesler Park, which takes you about 2.5 miles into the Needles. Now, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of Needles in the Needle district, it’s pretty deceiving. Once you pass through one little section, you see more ahead of you… you are just basically surrounded by these super unique towers of rock. This truly is a rock forest. Chesler Park was a very great hike, it was just very hot out. Apparently it was only in the mid 80’s, but it felt much hotter than that. I didn’t go any further down the path past Chesler Park, as you can hike to other cool things such as Druid Arch, but many of those cool things are very far away. Canyonlands is very spreadout, with very remote areas of the park, its pretty crazy.
Anyway, after the Chesler Park hike, I left the Elephant Hill area and went to a place called Cave Spring, which is a place where cowboys and trappers used as seasonal living spaces. It was pretty neat, but at that point I just wanted to get out of the sun and heat, so I took refuge in the visitor center for like a half hour, sitting in the auditorium watching the short film on Canyonlands.
Overall, even though I only spent one day in Canyonlands, it was a great day, and I saw a lot. I didn’t choose to go back in a second day, as like I said, many of the cool hikes are very remote, you really need to be prepared, and I didn’t feel like doing that. That one hike was perfect.