Posts Tagged With: canyonlands national park

Canyonlands – The Needles

If you are following along, my last post was about Canyonlands – Island in the Sky.  The Needles was about 70 miles south of where we stayed in Moab so we went there on a different day.

Maybe it’s just because we were tired from a lot of hiking and activities in Moab, but we just were not as impressed with this section of Canyonlands.  If we had it to do over, we probably would have skipped it.  It was a long drive and in our opinion, not really worth it.

This park is pretty far out of the way so maybe they just don’t get a lot of visitors, but they really need more parking spaces.  To access the most popular hike in the park (Chesler Park), you need to drive down a narrow dirt road for 3 miles.  The big dually truck has no trouble on dirt roads, but it becomes a problem when that road is skinny & narrow and someone else is coming the other direction.

Once we finally made it to the end of the 3 mile dirt road, there was no available parking.  It was a very tiny parking lot for the most popular hike in the park.  So, we turned around and made our way back out the skinny 3 mile dirt road.

We made the best of it by going on some of the other hikes, but they just really didn’t measure up to all the other places we had seen in Utah.  Not to mention, parking was very limited at these other hikes as well.

Anyway, now that I’ve really built this up to be a great park, I’m sure you want to see my pictures, right? 🙂

The first cool thing we saw was on the way into the park.  There were several cows just lying on the side of the road.


And then we got to Newspaper Rock.  This is a wall full of petroglyphs.


Those are the Needles way off in the distance.  If you come to this park and are fortunate enough to find parking for the Chesler Park hike, you can hike all the way up to the Needles which would probably be a really cool hike.


We hiked on the Pothole Point trail which has beautiful views off in the distance and fun rocks to climb on.  Lots of potholes in the slickrock too which I suppose is how they came up with the name for the trail.





We learned about cryptobiotic soil.  The black-ish soil in the picture below is alive and made of tiny living things.  There are signs in the parks to let you know to stay on the trail and not walk on this soil.


The Slickrock trail also had some beautiful views.







I really don’t mean to make it sound like this part of Canyonlands is not worth visiting.  It certainly has some amazing views to see, and I’m sure if we had a chance to hike to the Needles it would have been awesome.

I also need to be fair and say that our lack of enthusiasm for this park may have a lot to do with the fact that we were all exhausted from 2 weeks of hiking in Utah.  The picture below of Jesse on the way home after the Needles pretty much sums up how we all felt by that point.



Categories: National Parks, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Canyonlands – Island in the Sky

While we were in Moab, Utah we visited Canyonlands National Park.  This park is separated into 3 districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze.  The districts are separated by the Colorado and Green Rivers.  The Maze is not accessible by vehicle so we didn’t go there, but we did visit the Island in the Sky and the Needles on 2 different days.  The entrance and visitor centers to these 2 districts are not at all close to each other, so it’s not practical to visit them on the same day.

I will add another post about the Needles later, but I will mention that of the 2 districts, we enjoyed Island in the Sky much better!

Our first hike was to Grand View Point.  It reminded me a little bit of the Grand Canyon, on a much smaller scale.










Next we did the Aztec Butte hike.  We found out that Butte is pronounced “byoot”, not the way we had been saying it, lol!  However, even though we now know the correct pronunciation, my kids still like to call it “butt” because they think that is funnier of course. 🙂

It was a steep climb up slickrock.  We met some other hikers along the way that said our kids are like monkeys.  I’m not sure what they meant by that. 😉 Maybe it’s because Jesse was way up ahead of us, climbing like a monkey?


The views from the top were incredible, and it was a great place to stop for a snack break.




My people thought this cave looked like a good place to take a nap.


There were some structures from ancient peoples that lived there a few hundred years ago.



The next hike was on Whale Rock.  This one might have been our favorite.  It is made up of huge mounds of rock that from a distance could resemble a whale.



On top of the whale was the perfect place for a picnic lunch.


Nap time again?  I think I tired my people out with all the hiking while we were in Utah!



After lunch we did the Upheaval Dome hike.  That was definitely the hardest hike of the day.  Maybe it was because we could have stopped at the first overlook, but I insisted we keep going to the second overlook which involved a lot more up and down hill hiking.  By the end of this hike we were all exhausted.





But no matter how tired we were, we couldn’t leave Canyonlands without seeing Mesa Arch.  It was a short hike to a spectacular view!





New Junior Ranger badges!


Stay tuned for another Canyonlands post about the Needles.  Cheers!

Categories: National Parks, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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