The Needles
The Needles
4.5
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This area of Canyonlands has a great variety of rock formations and allows camping.
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles323 reviews
Excellent
231
Very good
61
Average
28
Poor
3
Terrible
0

teri1352
Portland, OR323 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Couples
It was beautiful place but really disappointing after visiting Arches and Islands in the Sky parks. It's a beautiful place and we did a few hikes but visit it prior to the other parks as this way it will be a buildup for the other parks. It DOES have less tourists which is nice! The highway leading to it was closed so we had to go out of the way 40 miles which wasn't worth it.
Written 21 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

michaeljones46
Oklahoma City, OK457 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
Visited the Needles District, enjoyed the beautiful drive up the canyon and Newspaper Rock on the way. At the Park, small visitor center has good restrooms, good gift shop and friendly rangers. Park is awesome. It was rainy when we were there so could not see the Needles very well, but of course rain is rare there. Awesome rock formations, took 100s of pics. Had it not been raining off and on, would have done some hikes as they look to be amazing. DO NOT MISS THIS!
Written 1 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

garbagecollector
Saint Cloud, FL1,119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
The Potholes trail hike is fairly short, a great hike on a hot afternoon, but it provides remarkable views -- and even a distant view of The Needles. Quite a payoff for just .6 miles.

The potholes were not filled with water when we went in August, but if you are lucky to have that too, you could see some small life within the potholes.
Written 27 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travel-from-NY-79
New York City, NY49 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
This was a total waste of time if you are just going for overlook views and not hiking. The actual needles view in the park itself is sort of hidden. follow the elephant hill trail road and take the unpaved road about 2 miles in, you will then start to see the needles. Btw, you will not find this on the map since it is on an unpaved road. The needles overlook view point is on the map, which is outside of the park going towards Moab which will show u the entire needles basin view, not up and close but a further look. So if you have time and lots of time, I would suggest taking a look. Otherwise skip this part and head over to the other side of canyonlands and do that and the arches national park!
Written 10 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HPSGene
Palos Verdes Estates, CA255 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
Beautiful drive to the park and amazing scenery inside. A lot of hiking available. We visited on our way out of town and only had time to hike Slickrock. Not a lot of people. I know the main part of Canyonlands on the N side gets a lot of visitors but this section is really amazing too.
Written 9 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve5863
Avon, OH12,824 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Family
Considered by many to be the most beautiful district of Canyonlands National Park with its maze of canyons and colorful banded rock formations of all sorts, including the many closely clustered rock spires known as The Needles for which the district is named for, it is much less visited than the Island in the Sky District as it much less accessible due to its distance from Moab (74mi/119k/1.5hr) or Monticello (49mi/79k/1hr) and its much lower level of development.

The less developed nature of the district means that it is more difficult to reach its key features with most requiring long, strenuous hikes or difficult, technical 4x4 drives to reach. This of course makes the district a magnet for an outdoor enthusiasts who will want to camp overnight to get the most out of their visit to The Needles. However, this makes it more difficult for the more casual visitor, commonly staying in Moab, such as ourselves, to experience the district but we were able to put together a worthwhile daytrip to The Needles that gave us a good taste for the district.

We departed Moab early in the morning taking Hwy 191 to Hwy 211 to The Needles visitor center in order to check-in and get advice from the rangers, bypassing Wilson Arch and Newspaper Rock until our return trip as they are both backlight in the morning, and knowing that the trails in The Needles, and the views from them, are best in the morning. We hiked all four of the short, self-guided trails, each offering something different, starting with the closest to the visitor center and ending with the furthest; in order, Roadside Ruin (0.3mi/0.5k), Cave Spring (0.6mi/1.0k), Pothole Point (0.6mile/1.0k) and Slickrock (2.4mi/3.9k). One the way from the Cave Spring trail to the Pothole Point trailhead, at the ranger’s suggestion, we detoured to the outlook about 1 mike (1.6k) down the road to Elephant Hill which provides the best view of The Needles without a long hike or 4x4 drive. We finished with lunch at a picnic area along the main park road a short distance east of Pothole Point.

If you do not have the time or the energy to do all four of the short hikes, I would recommend hiking just the Cave Spring and Pothole Point trails as they provide the most to see and best views for the effort. On the way back to Moab, we stopped at Newspaper Rock on Hwy 211 where there is an enormous number petroglyphs inscribed on the face of a cliff, and Wilson Arch, which is a massive arch perched high alongside Hwy 191.
Written 7 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CrankingChick
Tucson, AZ7,690 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Couples
Canyonlands National Park is divided into separate districts. The Needles district is in the southeast corner of the park, about 75 miles southwest of Moab. The name "Needles" refers to the distinctive rock spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone that are found here. There are two paved roads into The Needles (both turn west off US191): the main entrance which is UT211 and Needles Overlook Rd. which is UT133. Needles Overlook Rd. goes 22 miles (one-way) to a viewpoint that overlooks a maze of canyons below. UT211 is a scenic route that goes 33 miles (one-way) to the park entrance, following Indian Creek among towering red rocks buttes. Until recently, BLM has been managing this landscape of rocky canyons and prairie farmland, but in 2017 the Obama Administration designated this area as Bears Ears National Monument. It's an awe-inspiring scenic drive so the miles pass quickly, though we found ourselves wanting to stop for photos frequently. Once you reach the entrance to The Needles section of the park (Admission $25/car or NPS passes accepted), there is a visitor center with an information desk for permits, exhibits, a small gift/book store, and restrooms. We found the rangers there to be extremely friendly and helpful. (Visitor Center is closed for winter from late November to early March.) There is also a camp store just outside the park entrance with food and fuel. The paved scenic drive inside the park is only about 7 miles long between the visitor center and Big Spring Canyon. There are about a dozen hiking trails from .3 mile to over 20 miles. We did the .6 mile trail at Pothole Point, which was easy, interesting and very scenic. At the end of the paved road, there is a parking area for the overlook of Big Spring Canyon and a trail head for the 2.4 mile Slickrock Trail. If the weather has not been too wet, take an unpaved 3.4 mile (one-way) scenic drive through canyons and hoodoos to Elephant Hill at Soda Springs. When we visited in late August the road had been recently graded and we drove it in a low-clearance 2WD passenger car, but I don't recommend it if it has rained recently or is forecast because the road crosses several washes (best to stop at the visitor center to inquire about road conditions). If you are adventurous and experienced and have a 4WD high-clearance vehicle, there are miles of backcountry roads to explore (permit required). There is not much in this area of the park that is accessible to people who use wheelchairs, but I still felt that the scenic drive alone was worth it. We spent 4-5 hours in the morning exploring The Needles district, then visited Island in the Sky district in the afternoon. Needles is more remote and therefore less crowded. The terrain in these two areas is quite different so I recommend trying to visit both. Note that leashed pets are allowed in the parking areas but not on the trails or in the backcountry. When visiting Canyonlands, be prepared for sun exposure (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) any time of year and bring water and snacks.
Written 19 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dmarkwind
Kansas City, MO2,696 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Couples
This part of Canyonlands National Park is located about 75 miles from Moab, and it takes about 1.5 hours to get here. It takes its name from the area’s distinctive sandstone spires. We enjoyed two trails in this area of the park. Both are about 0.6 mile long and relatively flat. Our favorite was the Cave Spring Trail, which winds around a white sandstone plateau. The first part of the trail involves exploring the shady alcoves under the rock overhangs. Along the way, you pass a few pictographs, a spring, and relics of an old cowboy camp. Then you climb a wooden ladder and explore the exposed rocky area above which is marked with stone cairns. You come back down another wooden ladder at the end. The other Needles area trail we liked was the Pothole Point trail. This easy, cairned path circles around a small mesa and also has good views over the Needles formations and Big Spring Canyon. There are hundreds of “pothole” depressions in the sandstone rock, which fill with water when it rains and house short-lived tiny ecosystems containing fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp, horsehair worms, snails, spadefoot toads, and other creatures that spring to life when water is added. They last only until the water is gone. Unfortunately, we were here during a dry season. There are a number of other trails in this area, but most require a longer time commitment than we had. Another landmark in this area is the Wooden shoe Arch, which you can you can see from a distance, and which looks kind of like a giant wooden shoe. Also in the Needles area, we saw lots of ravens, and got some great closeup photos of several of the big birds looking for handouts (though we didn’t feed them and didn’t see anyone else feeding them).
Written 1 March 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kevan j
Norman, OK1,484 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2018
I have done several hikes now in the Needles District. This place is like no other, and believe me as I've hiked in Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches, and the Grand Canyon (all of which are amazing). It's as if God just decided to have some fun and create a fairyland for hikers. I recommend the Chesler Park Loop through the Joint Trail from the Elephant Hill trail-head and the Lost Canyon-Squaw Canyon lollipop loop! Amazing! The trails are challenging of course, and I would not recommend young children.
Written 16 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

אמיר ש
Tel Aviv, Israel24 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2015 • Family
My family and I had one day in this part of Canyonlands NP so we decided on hiking one of the moderate trails and supposedly the most beautiful one.

First things first, the hike is 11 miles round trip, it took us 6.5 hours and we had to walk fast at the end so we would be out before dark. The ranger claimed it can be done in 5 hours, but I wouldn't recommend it. Instead I would suggest going early in the morning before it gets hot and that way you'll have plenty of time for pictures and breaks. The hike starts at Elephant Hill, a 3 mile drive from the visitor center along a dirt road suitable for all types of vehicles (just take it slow and easy..).

For this hike you'll be needing:
WATER- About a gallon of water per hiker. Although some of the trail is shaded, most of it isn't. DON'T underestimate the water, we've done that mistake and believe me, you don't want to.
SHOES- Wear a good pair of hiking shoes, it's a long walk with several climbs, rocky and sandy sections.
MAP- The trail has multiple crossroads and is sometimes hard to follow. Stop in advance at the visitor center to get your map and park newspaper. Surprisingly, the newspaper has a much more detailed map of The Needles, and the rangers can help you mark the trail on it. Another option is taking a picture of the map at the trailhead to view later on.

The trail itself is beautiful, with new landscapes behind every corner. Take your time to enjoy and appreciate the uniqueness of this place. Stay on track to avoid harming the vegetation and soil. There are many cairns marking the trail and several signs, mostly in crossroads. The cairns can sometimes be hard to see at first, so pay close attention so you won't get lost. There are some parts along the trail where the path crosses a meadow and the tracks are easy to follow so there are no cairns there.
When you arrive at the crossroad at Chesler Park the sign points left to walk the loop clockwise. I recommend doing so, that way you'll be going down the joint trail instead of up. The joint trail is very easy to walk compared to the other parts of the trail with few rocks to climb down and one "log-ladder" with steps carved into. At the end of the joint trail you'll reach a dry river, the trail continues right across the other bank and not along the river itself. Afterwards the trail meets the backcountry road used by 4WD vehicles. There is a picnic table there and an outhouse. This is your half way mark and also the end of the tricky part, from here on it's back to the Chesler park crossroad you took earlier and back to the car. The signs all point you to Elephant Hill and show you the remaining mileage. On your back trip remember to take a look again and you might find things you missed the first time around...
Written 30 September 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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