Monday, August 24, 2009

Canyonlands, Needles District, Utah

Planned for spring 2010


  • Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau by Michael R. Kelsey, Kelsey Publishing Provo UT
  • Utah’s Incredible Backcountry Trails by David Day, Rincon Publishing Orem UT
  • Canyonlands National Park Favorite Jeep Roads & Hiking Trails by David Day, Rincon Publishing Orem UT
  • Needles District Trails Illustrated Map, National Geographic
  • NPS Website -
  • NPS Map -

Following is a plan for our spring trip in 2010. If anyone has experience in this area and would like to make suggestions we would welcome them.

This will be broken into two separate loop hikes. We will move the car in between. The first part includes a loop of the Chesler Park area and then a larger loop down to the Colorado River, up the river to the Confluence with the Green, and then back to the car. Part 1 looks like four days for us. The second portion will be in upper Salt Creek. The car will be relocated to the Cathedral Butte area. We’ll hike north in the West Fork of Salt Creek, and back to the car in the main fork. Part 2 looks like 3 days. This plan omits hiking into the Big Springs, Lost Canyon and Squaw Canyon. We only have so many days.

Day 1

Drive the Car to Elephant Hill. Hike 2 miles to campsite EC1. Bring 1 extra gallon of water per person. Drop the packs. Day hike without packs down to Chesler Park via Chesler Park Loop Trail, jeep trails, and the Joint Trail. Depending on our feelings at this point, we could go down to see Druid Arch or not. Then back to EC1. Distance without packs: 7.5 to 11.1 Miles.

Day 2

Using that extra gallon of water we carried on day one, hike down to the Colorado River via Lower Red Lake Canyon Trail. Distance: 8.3 Miles.

Day 3

Hike down river without packs as desired. With packs, hike up the Colorado to the Confluence with the Green. Distance: at least 4 miles.

Day 4

Hike back to the car at Elephant Hill. Distance: 7.5 Miles. Shower. Camp at Squaw Flat.

Day 5

Drive the car to Cathedral Butte. Hike down into Salt Creek. Before reaching Kirk’s cabin, cross over to the West Fork. Hike North in the West Fork. Camp in the West Fork, near the confluence with the main fork. Get water from main fork if necessary. Distance: 8-10 Miles.

Day 6

Leave packs at junction with main fork of Salt Creek. Day hike up to Angel Arch. Come back. Pick up packs and hike down to campsite SC3. Distance: 9-11 Miles, 5 without packs.

Day 7

Hike back to the car in the main fork of Salk Creek. Distance 9 Miles. Drive back to Salt Lake City.