by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
The official newspaper of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Twelve pages of articles and visit recommendations. Includes maps of Island in the Sky and Needles. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
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Visitor Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands Pull-out hiking guide inside! A visitor hikes through Chesler Park NPS / KRYSTINA CARPENTER A Lifetime of Exploration Awaits Canyonlands National Park preserves 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fns, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. Water and gravity have been the prime architects of this Horseshoe Canyon Green River land, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape we see today. Island in the Sky Colorado River Canyonlands preserves that natural beauty and human history throughout its four districts, which are divided by the Green and Colorado rivers. Island in the Sky is closest to Moab and is the most visited district. The Needles is a farther drive, and is great for a day trip or backcountry hiking and backpacking. The Maze is the most remote and rugged district, requiring a four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, and more time. The Maze’s Horseshoe Canyon unit contains intriguing rock markings from tribal cultures. The Maze The Rivers separate the other three districts and ofer world-class boating opportunities. The Needles While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and ofers diferent Cataract Canyon opportunities for exploration and adventure. Though they appear close on a map, there are no roads in the park that directly link the districts. Traveling between them requires two to six hours by car. Check inside this visitor guide for the best way to plan your visit to Canyonlands. Welcome to Canyonlands. Drink water. It’s easy to become dehydrated, even in cold temperatures. Drink at least 1 gallon (4 L) of water per day. You can get water year-round at The Needles and Island in the Sky visitor centers, and seasonally at The Needles Campground. Walk on hard surfaces, watch your step. Stay on trails to protect fragile living soil crusts and plant and animal habitat, and to reduce your risk of getting lost or falling. Do not cross wood or rock at trail edges. The sun is intense, and shade is rare. Avoid exertion during peak heat (>90°F /32°C). Protect yourself with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not rely on cell service at Canyonlands. Much of the park is outside cell phone range. You may find service where the La Sal Mountains are visible, but availability will vary by provider. Keep off the arches. It’s prohibited—and dangerous—to climb or walk on any arch in the park. Pets are not allowed on trails. Activities with pets are limited in the park. See page 2 for details on where you can bring your pet. Respect nature. Leave plants, rocks, and artifacts where you see them. Do not feed, chase, or disturb animals. Preserve natural darkness. Using artifcial light sources to illuminate features for photography at night is prohibited. Leave the rocks as you see them. Carving, scratching, or chalking marks onto rocks is illegal and causes irreparable damage. Find your way. Cairns (small rock piles) mark routes. Don’t build your own; they could mislead other hikers. If you get lost, stay where you are, and wait for rescue. Leave drones at home. Launching, landing, or operating remotely piloted aircrafts (such as model airplanes, quadcopters, or drones) is prohibited. Do not use ATVs. It’s prohibited to use any type of ATV or OHV. There are many roads outside the park where you can use ATVs and OHVs. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior General Information i INFORMATION CENTERS Canyonlands National Park operates visitor centers year-round at Island in the Sky and Hans Flat (The Maze), and spring through fall at The Needles. Hours vary with the season. Many neighboring communities have information centers with knowledgeable staf, brochures, and maps. Canyonlands National Park 2282 Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 email email@example.com phone 435-719-2313 website nps.gov/cany 7 WATER Visitor Guide 2023, Volume 1 Canyonlands is in the high desert, and it is easy to become dehydrated, even in cold temperatures. Plan on drinking at least 1 gallon (4 L) of water per day. You can get water year-round at The Needles and Island in the Sky visitor centers and seasonally at The Needles Campground. This Visitor Guide is published by Canyonlands Natural History Association, a nonproft organization that assists the National Park Service in its educational, interpretive, and scientifc programs. For more information, see page 8. The NPS App is Here. " RANGER PROGRAMS } E W FOOD, GAS, LODGING There is no food, gas, lodging, or other amenities at Canyonlands. Come prepared with adequate food, fuel, and water. These may be found in nearby towns—see next page. Search “National Park Service” and begin exploring. Find us online. − CAMPING The Needles Campground N P S / C H R I S W O N D E R LY Campgrounds at The Needles and Island in the Sky have toilets, picnic tables, and fre rings. The park has no hookups or dump stations. Maximum length is 28 feet in most sites. Individual sites at Island in the Sky are frst-come, frst-served. You can make reservations for group campsites and some individual sites at The Needles online at Recreation.gov, or you can call 877-444-6777 (toll free), 877-8336777 (TTY), or +1 518-885-3639 (international). There are also many campgrounds outside the park. twitter @CanyonlandsNPS instagram @CanyonlandsNPS fickr.com/CanyonlandsNPS youtube.com/CanyonlandsNPS ç BACKCOUNTRY PERMITS AND RESERVATIONS Park Fees We charge fees for park entrance, camping, and permits. Eighty percent of your fees collected at Canyonlands return to the park to address needs in maintenance, infrastructure, resource management, and visitor services. Fees are subject to change. You must have a permit for all overnight trips in the backcountry. If you’re taking a four-wheel-drive, motorcycle, mountain bike, or e-bike day trip, you must have a day-use permit on Lavender Canyon, Horse Canyon/Peekaboo, White Rim, and Elephant Hill roads. Find more information on page 9. = EMERGENCY If you have an emergency: Entrance Fees $30 Motorcycle (per vehicle) $25 Pedestrian/Bicycle (per person) $15 Interagency Annual Pass $80 Southeast Utah Parks Pass $55 • Go to a visitor center. If the building is closed, use the emergency phone outside by the restroom. • If service is available, dial 911 on your cell phone. However, there are many areas without cell coverage in Canyonlands. = MEDICAL SERVICES Camping Fees (per night) The closest medical services are in Moab and Monticello. Island in the Sky Campground Individual Sites $15 The Needles Campground Individual Sites $20 Needles Group Sites price depends on group size $70 to $225 Canyonlands experiences wide temperature fuctuations, sometimes over 40 degrees in a single day. Summer temperatures often exceed 100°F (37°C). Late summer monsoons bring violent storms, which may cause fash food and severe lightning. Winters (November through March) are cold, with highs averaging 30° to 50°F (0° to 10°C), and lows averaging 0° to 20°F (-17° to -6°C). ô ACCESSIBILITY At Island in the Sky and The Needles, people with mobility impairments can access visitor centers, toilets, and campgrounds. Grand View Point, Green River, and Buck Canyon overlooks (Island in the Sky) and Wooden Shoe Arch Overlook (The Needles) are wheelchair accessible. Other points of interest may be accessible with some assistance. People with visual impairments can ask at a visitor center for largeprint, braille, and audio described editions of the park brochure. Movies at visitor centers are captioned for people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Service animals—Only dogs or horses trained to perform specifc tasks for a person with a disability—are allowed on trails and in the backcountry. Emotional support (“therapy”) animals are not considered service animals by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ` TRAVELING WITH PETS • Contact a park employee. Single vehicle (per vehicle) Rangers typically ofer evening programs and overlook talks April through October as stafng allows. Check the visitor centers or website for up to date schedules. Programs are subject to change. WEATHER AND CLIMATE in the apps store to download facebook.com/CanyonlandsNPS Ranger program at Grand View Point N P S Island in the Sky The Needles The Maze Moab Regional Hospital Moab, UT 32 mi 51 km 75 mi 120 km 135 mi 217 km San Juan Hospital Monticello, UT 87 mi 140 km 50 mi 80 km 188 mi 303 km Activities with pets are limited at Canyonlands. Pets must be on a leash at all times when outside a vehicle. The desert can be deadly for pets left in cars. You should not leave pets in the car when temperatures are above 65°F (18°C), even with the windows open. You may have your pet with you: • at developed campgrounds in Island in the Sky and The Needles • along paved roads • in your vehicle on the Potash/Shafer Canyon road between Moab and Island in the Sky. You may not have your pet with you: • on any hiking trails or overlooks, even if carried • anywhere in the backcountry including rivers and roads, even if it’s in your vehicle. • inside visitor centers. Protect Your Park—Stay on Trails This land is every bit as fragile as it is beautiful. If you step off the trail, you can easily injure the soil's living surface. When biological soil crust is damaged, it can take decades to recover. Help protect park soils during your visit. Please walk on trails, rock, or in sandy washes (where water fows when it rains), and keep all vehicles and bikes on designated roads. Read more about soil crusts on page 9. NPS / NEAL HERBERT 2 Canyonlands Visitor Guide Island in the Sky 435-259-4712 go.nps.gov/isky The Island in the Sky mesa rests on sheer sandstone clifs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Each overlook ofers a diferent perspective on the park's spectacular landscape. If you have a short period of time, Island in the Sky is the easiest district to visit. Many pullouts along the paved scenic drive ofer spectacular views. Hiking trails and four-wheel-drive roads access backcountry areas for day or overnight trips. LEARN ABOUT THE PARK We may ofer ranger programs at various times, spring through fall. Check at the visitor center or campground for locations, times, and topics. DIRECTIONS On US 191, drive 10 miles (16 km) north of Moab or 22 miles (35 km) south of Interstate 70 (Crescent Junction), then take UT 313 southwest for 22 miles (35 km). Driving time from Moab is roughly 40 minutes to the visitor center, or 60 minutes to Grand View Point. BASICS • • • • • The visitor center is open year-round, with shortened hours in winter. You’ll fnd exhibits, book and map sales, backcountry permits, general information, and park rangers on duty. Drinking water is available spring through fall outside visitor center and year-round inside. You can watch the 15-minute orientation movie Wilderness of Rock at the visitor center. There are toilets at the visitor center, campground, Grand View Point, Green River Overlook, Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome, and White Rim Overlook. The visitor center toilets are wheelchair accessible. The campground has 12 sites, frst-come, frst-served. No water. No hookups. Nightly fee is $15 per site. SCENIC DRIVE You can tour the entire mesa top via the 34-mile roundtrip scenic drive. If you’re looking for a written guide, you can purchase The Road Guide to Canyonlands - Island in the Sky District at the visitor center. You can also purchase or rent a self-guiding driving tour CD. Grand View Point, Green River Overlook, and Buck Canyon Overlook are accessible to wheelchairs. There are picnic areas at White Rim Overlook, Upheaval Dome, and the visitor center. Mesa Arch N P S FOR KIDS Kids can ask for a junior ranger book at any visitor center. For hiking, kids enjoy visiting Mesa Arch and climbing the back of the whale at Whale Rock. Use caution as there are unfenced overlooks and steep drop-ofs on both of these trails. WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DAY First, stop at the visitor center for current information on trails, roads, ranger programs, weather, or to watch the park movie. In 2 hours you can: Drive to Grand View Point or Green River Overlook. Hike to Mesa Arch. In 4 hours you can: Drive to Grand View Point, Green River Overlook, and Upheaval Dome. Hike the Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, and Upheaval Dome Overlook trails. In 8 hours you can: Visit every overlook. Hike several mesa top trails or one of the more strenuous trails descending to the White Rim. Enjoy lunch on the trail, or picnic at White Rim Overlook or Upheaval Dome picnic areas. Sunrise and Sunset: Visit Mesa Arch at dawn. Visit Green River Overlook or Grand View Point at dusk for incredible views of sunset over the canyons. Hike to the top of Aztec Butte or Whale Rock for a spectacular view of Island in the Sky and surrounding countryside. The Needles 435-259-4711 go.nps.gov/theneedles The Needles forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district’s extensive trail system provides many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. LEARN ABOUT THE PARK DIRECTIONS • On US 191, drive 40 miles (60 km) south of Moab or 14 miles (22 km) north of Monticello, then take UT 211 roughly 35 miles (56 km) west. Highway 211 ends in The Needles, and is the only paved road leading in and out of the area. • Take a self-guiding trail at Cave Spring, Pothole Point, Roadside Ruin, and Slickrock. In spring and fall, rangers may present campfre programs nightly at the campground. Check at the visitor center for details. Chesler Park N P S / E M I LY O G D E N BASICS FOR KIDS • Kids can ask for a junior ranger book at any visitor center. The Cave Spring and Pothole Point trails are both popular hikes with kids. • • • • The visitor center is open daily, spring through fall. The visitor center is closed in winter. You’ll fnd exhibits, book and map sales, general information, picnic area, and when park rangers on duty. Drinking water is available year-round at the visitor center and spring through fall at the campground. You can watch the 15-minute orientation movie, Wilderness of Rock, at the visitor center. There are restrooms with running water at the visitor center year-round, and spring through fall at the campground. There are toilets at Elephant Hill. The campground has 26 sites available, some sites are available for reservation, and other sites are frst-come, frst-served. No hookups. Nightly fee is $20 per site. SCENIC DRIVE The scenic drive continues 6.5 miles past the visitor center, ending at Big Spring Canyon Overlook. There are several pullouts for short hiking trails, viewpoints, and a picnic area. Graded gravel roads lead to Cave Spring and the Elephant Hill trailhead. Get some of the best views of The Needles on the graded Elephant Hill access road (about one mile from the pavement). WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DAY First, stop at the visitor center for current information on trails, roads, ranger programs, weather, or to watch the park movie. In 2 hours you can: Drive to Big Spring Canyon Overlook, and hike the Pothole Point trail along the way, enjoying In 4 hours you can: Explore the scenic drive and graded dirt roads. Hike the Cave Spring, Pothole Point, and Roadside Ruin trails, or the longer Slickrock trail. In 8 hours you can: After exploring the scenic drive, hike to Chesler Park Viewpoint or around the Big Spring–Wooden Shoe Canyon loop. Enjoy lunch on the trail. Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise is spectacular from the campground area, especially along the short trail between loops A and B. Visit Pothole Point or Wooden Shoe Arch Overlook to watch the glow of sunset wash over The Needles. Canyonlands Visitor Guide 3 The Maze go.nps.gov/themaze The Maze is remote, and all roads are unpaved. You'll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle, more time, and a greater degree of self-sufciency to visit The Maze. Your trip may take anywhere from three days to a week or more. The Rivers The Colorado and Green rivers wind through the heart of Canyonlands, cutting through layers of sandstone to form two deep canyons. The calm waters of these two rivers join at The Confuence. Below The Confuence, the combined rivers’ fow spills down Cataract Canyon with remarkable speed and power, creating a world-class stretch of white water. VISITOR SERVICES Hans Flat Ranger Station is open daily yearround. It has a small sales area with books and maps. There are no services, food, gas, or potable water sources in The Maze. These are located in Hanksville, 68 miles (109 km), or Green River, 86 miles (138 km). NPS / NEAL HERBERT HORSESHOE CANYON Horseshoe Canyon contains several intriguing pictograph panels, including “The Great Gallery,” which features remarkable life-sized fgures and intricate designs. To visit every panel, plan on a strenuous roundtrip hike of seven miles. A trip to Horseshoe Canyon usually requires a full day. BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL Trails in The Maze are primitive. Many canyons look alike and are difcult to identify without a topographic map. You must have a permit for all overnight trips. Backpackers stay in at-large zones. Backcountry vehicle campers and mountain bikers stay in designated sites and must provide their own toilet systems. go.nps.gov/horseshoecanyon QUESTIONS? M For the most up-to-date information Backcountry Roads You can take a fatwater trip down either of the rivers as far as The Confuence or NPS / NEAL HERBERT Spanish Bottom. There are no rapids above The Confuence in the park, making it an ideal trip for canoes, sea kayaks, and other calmwater boats. Below Spanish Bottom, Cataract Canyon contains 14 miles of rapids ranging in difculty from Class II to V. This is a hazardous and isolated section of the Colorado River, and you should not attempt it unless you’re an experienced boater. There are no facilities or potable water sources along the rivers in Canyonlands. Your river trip must be self-sufcient, and you must carry a cleanable, reusable toilet system. PERMITS on road and trail conditions at The Maze, call Hans Flat Ranger Station 435-259-2652. (8 am - 4:30 pm) You must have a permit for all overnight and one-day river trips in Canyonlands. Get your permit online at go.nps.gov/canybackcountry. We do not restrict launch dates. Maximum group size is 40 people, though to preserve the wilderness character of the river we recommend limiting your group size to 16. For more boating information, visit go.nps.gov/canyrivers. D* There are hundreds of miles of four-wheel- If you plan to enjoy the park’s four-wheel-drive roads, please note: drive roads in Canyonlands, providing • Road and all Needles and Maze backcountry roads. All-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive viewpoints in the park’s backcountry. These vehicles are not allowed since they are not equipped to drive on rough slickrock, loose roads range in difculty from intermediate rocks, deep sand, and steep switchbacks. • go.nps.gov/canydriving You must have a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) on the White Rim access to various campsites, trailheads, and to extremely technical. Research your route go.nps.gov/canyrivers You must have a permit for all overnight trips in the backcountry, and for day-use trips thoroughly before attempting. Check for on White Rim, Elephant Hill, Lavender Canyon, and Horse Canyon/Peekaboo roads. In current conditions at visitor centers. spring and fall, demand for permits frequently exceeds the number available. If you plan to visit Canyonlands during peak season, especially to camp along the White Rim Road, you should make reservations well in advance. NPS / KIRSTEN KEARSE • All vehicles must remain on established roads and be registered and operated by a licensed driver. • ATVs, OHVs, and Utah State Type I / Type II vehicles are prohibited, even if registered. Motorcycles must be interstate highway legal. • You may take your pets with you on the Potash/Shafer Trail road between Moab and Island in the Sky, but you may not have your pet on the White Rim Road or any other backcountry road. Backcountry Roads Island in the Sky White Rim Road * D The White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top and provides views of the surrounding area. These 100-mile trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle or three to four days by mountain bike. Overnight and day-use permits required. Elephant Hill * D One of the most technical four-wheel-drive roads in Utah. Steep grades, loose rock, stair-step drops, tight turns, and tricky backing. Past the hill, equally challenging roads lead to various features and BLM lands south of the park. No water at the campsites. There are vault toilets at all camping areas except New Bates Wilson. If you are camping at New Bates Wilson, you must bring your own toilet. When open, biological waste bags are available for purchase at visitor centers. Overnight and day-use permits required. Colorado Overlook * D Moderate road, can be sandy for mountain bikes. You can avoid the large rocks and stair-step drops in the last 1.5 miles by parking on the road and walking to the overlook. (Be sure to leave room for other vehicles to pass.) Outstanding views of the Colorado River canyon. Unprotected overlook; use caution. No vehicle camping. Horse Canyon / Peekaboo D Frequently impassable due to quicksand. Roads travel along canyon bottoms where deep sand, deep water, and quicksand are common. Too sandy for mountain bikes. There are campsites at Peekaboo with prehistoric pictographs and petroglyphs nearby. You must have a portable toilet at Peekaboo campsite. You may not drive beyond Peekaboo in Salt Creek Canyon. Horse Canyon Road leads to several arches and Tower Ruin. We recommend traveling in pairs with winch capable, high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles. Recovery costs are high. Overnight and day-use permits required. Lavender Canyon D Road follows a canyon bottom where deep sand, deep water, and quicksand are common. Too sandy for mountain bikes. There are major creek crossings with steep banks. You can view many arches and archeological sites from the road. No vehicle camping inside the park. Overnight and day-use permits required. The Needles The Maze Four-wheel-drive roads in The Maze are extremely diffcult, present considerable risk of vehicle damage, and should not be attempted by inexperienced drivers. A high-clearance, low-range, four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for all Maze backcountry roads. (All-wheel-drive vehicles do not have the clearance or low gearing required.) Towing charges are very expensive; visitors in the backcountry with disabled vehicles can expect towing fees in excess of $2,000. To plan your Maze trip, ask for The Maze backcountry handout in a visitor center or visit go.nps.gov/themaze. 4 Canyonlands Visitor Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior The Needles Hiking Guide N P S / J A CO B W . F R A N K The Needles ofers over 60 miles of interconnecting trails, as challenging as they are rewarding. Many diferent itineraries are possible, but some of the more popular ones are listed below. Conditions are primitive. Most trails traverse a mixture of slickrock benches and sandy washes. Longer trails are especially rough and require negotiating steep passes with drop-ofs, narrow spots, or ladders. Water in the backcountry is unreliable and scarce in some areas. Trails are marked with cairns (small rock piles). Do not disturb cairns or build new ones. Although strong hikers can hike most trails in a day, many trails form loops with other trails for longer trips. Remember—help protect park soils during your visit. Please walk on trails, rock, or in sandy washes (where water fows when it rains). Pothole Point Trail Distance (roundtrip) Time Description NPS / NEAL HERBERT On the trail to Chesler Park N P S m - toilet at trailhead (no water) 7 - drinking water at trailhead (seasonal) Short: entering, touching, or climbing on archeological sites is strictly prohibited. Please avoid stepping in potholes and on soil crust to help protect fragile communities. Roadside Ruin 0.3 mi (0.5 km) 20 min This short trail leads to a storage structure built by Indigenous people. Pick up an interpretive guide at the trailhead to learn how ancestral Puebloans used native plants. Entering, touching, or climbing on the structure is strictly prohibited. Acknowledgement: Today’s Tribes would not call this place a “ruin.” They say these areas are still living and that their ancestors in the spiritual world continue to use this place. Cave Spring 0.6 mi (1 km) 45 min This short loop leads to a historic cowboy camp, prehistoric pictographs, and a spring. Past the archeological sites, you will climb two ladders to complete the loop. Please do not enter or touch the springs or water, as it is considered a sacred place to many people past, present, and future. An interpretive guide is available at the trailhead to learn as you walk. Pothole Point 0.6 mi (1 km) 45 min Follow cairns across uneven rock, covered in dimpled pockets called potholes, to view the rock spires, called needles. Please do not walk in potholes, wet or dry. Pick up an interpretive guide at the trailhead to learn about these sensitive ecosystems. Slickrock 2.4 mi (3.9 km) 1.5 hrs This trail features expansive 360-degree views into Big Spring Canyon and Little Spring Canyon, with the La Sal and Abajo Mountains in the background. Grab an interpretive guide at trailhead to learn about the area’s geology. Slickrock is a general term for any bare rock surface, and dominates much of the landscape in Canyonlands. Strenuous: bring water (1 L per person, per hour), snacks, sturdy footwear, headlamp, map, and be prepared for, sun, rain, heat, or cold. In winter, there may be snow or icy conditions; it is highly recommended to bring traction devices. m 5.8 mi (9.3 km) 3 - 4 hrs To hike this trail, begin at the Elephant Hill trailhead. The out-and-back route gains over 1,000 feet (305 m) in elevation, crosses Elephant Canyon, and leads to a scenic expanse of desert grasses and shrubs surrounded by rock spires. The trail can be rough, uneven, and requires walking and scrambling on rocky slopes. m to Wooden Shoe Canyon 7 7.5 mi (12 km) 3 - 4 hrs Begin at the Needles Campground trailhead to hike this loop that connects two canyons. The hike crosses varied terrain and provides points of expansive views. The route between the canyons climbs steep grades that may require scrambling, are dangerous when wet, and may make people with a fear of heights uncomfortable. m 7 8.7 mi (14 km) 4 - 6 hrs This loop hike begins at the Needles Campground trailhead and can be hiked in either direction. There are sections of steep grade to climb between the two canyons. Riparian areas in both canyons attract birds and other wildlife. The route in Lost Canyon passes through dense vegetation and may be very wet with deep sand. One ladder must be climbed. m 7 10.5 mi (16.9 km) 4 - 6 hrs This loop begins at the Needles Campground trailhead and features extended hiking on slickrock benches and mesa tops overlooking canyons. Sections of the trail require hiking up steep and rocky grades, providing views of sheer cliff walls and other rock formations. You will have to climb two ladders in the pass between the canyons. Chesler Park Loop / Joint Trail m 10.7 mi (17.2 km) 5 - 7 hrs This challenging route gains over 1,700 feet (518 m) in elevation. During the hike you will descend and ascend in and out of canyons, scramble up and down rock, weave through narrow passages, and walk among rock spires, called Needles. Recommended direction is counter-clockwise. Peekaboo m 7 10.8 mi (17.4 km) 5 - 6 hrs This out-and-back trail begins at the Needles Campground trailhead and gains over 1,400 feet (427 m) in elevation. It crosses Wooden Shoe and Lost canyons on its way to Salt Creek Canyon. It passes along high slickrock benches with cliff edges, which may make people with a fear of heights uncomfortable. Steep grades and two ladders must be climbed. Prehistoric pictographs can be seen at the trail’s end near Peekaboo camp. Druid Arch m 10.8 mi (17.4 km) 5 - 7 hrs This out-and-back trail gains over 1,500 feet (457 m) of elevation while traversing across hard rock surfaces and through soft sandy washes. To see the arch, one ladder must be climbed and one must scramble a steep section of loose and uneven rock. 11 mi (17.7 km) 5 - 6 hrs This out-and-back trail traverses sections of dry, open country along the northern edge of the geologic faults that shaped The Needles. Sections climb steep, rocky grades. Trail culminates at a cliff overlooking the junction of the Green and Colorado rivers. There is almost no shade on this trail and it is not recommended during the summer months. Chesler Park Viewpoint Big Spring Canyon Lost Canyon to Wooden Shoe Canyon Big Spring Canyon to Elephant Canyon Confuence Overlook Canyonlands Visitor Guide 5 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Island in the Sky Hiking Guide Several short trails explore the Island in the Sky mesa top with minimal elevation change. Moderate trails involve elevation, such as climbing a sandstone feature or descending partway into a canyon. Long trails begin on the mesa top and descend via switchbacks to the White Rim, or beyond to one of the rivers. These are considered strenuous, with an elevation change of 1,000-2,000 feet (304-609 m). They require negotiating steep slopes of loose rock as well as sections of deep sand. Trails are marked with cairns (small rock piles). Do not disturb existing cairns or build new ones. There are signs at trailheads and intersections. All trails leading below the mesa top are primitive and rough. There is no potable water along any of the hiking trails. You can get water at the visitor center spring through fall. Fort Bottom Ruin Aztec Butte NPS / RHODES SMART T NPS / NEAL HERBERT Grand View Point N P S Trail Elevation Description Change m Toilet at trailhead (no water) Distance (roundtrip) Time 0.6 mi (1 km) 30 min 56 ft (17 m) A short hike leads to a cliff-edge arch. Mesa Arch is a classic sunrise spot, and has stunning views towards the La Sal Mountains any time of day. White Rim Overlook m 1.8 mi (2.9 km) 1.5 hrs 159 ft (49 m) Walk to an east-facing overlook for views of the Colorado River, Monument Basin, and La Sal Mountains. Best in late afternoon. Very limited trailhead parking. Hikers may not park off pavement or in picnic area. m 1.8 mi (2.9 km) 1.5 hrs 73 ft (22 m) A stunning out-and-back trail, this walk showcases spectacular panoramic views as it follows the canyon edge. 3.4 mi (5.5 km) 2 hrs 142 ft (43 m) This longer hike leads past a historic corral on the mesa top. The trail ends with panoramic views of Candlestick Tower, the Green River, and the White Rim Road. Easy - Mesa Top Mesa Arch Grand View Point m Murphy Point Moderate - Mesa Top Upheaval Dome first overlook m 0.6 mi (1 km) 1 hr 115 ft (35 m) A short but steep trail leads to a clear view into Upheaval Dome. Exhibits at the end of the trail discuss this unique geologic feature. Upheaval Dome second overlook m 1.2 mi (1.9 km) 1.5 hrs 114 ft (35 m) This trail splits off from the first overlook trail, following cairns to more views of Upheaval Dome and Upheaval Canyon. Whale Rock 0.8 mi (1.3 km) 1 hr 141 ft (43 m) This trail leads up the side of a sandstone dome, ending with broad views of the Island in the Sky. Be careful: steep drop-offs. Aztec Butte 1.4 mi (2.3 km) 1.5 hrs 222 ft (68 m) The trail follows a sandy wash, then splits. Th