Canyonlands Needles District
With a lot of life stressors coming our way (moving, new jobs, a baby on the way), we looked forward to a quick weekend backpacking trip to Canyonlands Needles District. With its remoteness, there is no better place for a disconnect than the Needles.
This May, we flew Katie’s Dad out for his 60th birthday and took him on his first backpacking trip. I am not sure how many people would think backpacking in the desert to be a good present, but it worked for us!
After driving from Denver, we briefly explored the Needles district by car before settling into camp. The following morning, we watched sunrise and then got ready for our quick overnight backpacking trip. As there is no water in Chesler Park we each carried around 8 liters. With the initial climb out of Elephant Canyon – this extra 20 pounds of weight made itself evident in the form of tired (or as in my case, out of shape!) legs from the outset. After making a brief detour to explore the magnificent Druid Arch, we arrived in the jaw-dropping Chesler Park. As a deservedly popular backpacking destination, we arrived to our designated site and set camp for the evening.
The following morning, we hiked the remainder of the Chesler Park Loop and back to the trailhead at Elephant Canyon.
When in need of a quick escape in a remote area – nothing beats Canyonlands National Park Needles District. This no frills section of Canyonlands is truly a hikers destination – with tons of trails and very few accessed by paved roads.
Pros: scenery, scenery, scenery. Remoteness.
Cons: lack of water at some backcountry sites makes packs quite heavy. However, this is a desert park after all.
Tips: reserve your backcountry sites early!