The Needles District - Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands: Chesler Park

The Needles District forms the southeastern portion of Canyonlands National Park. Its signature features are colorful sandstone spires - hundreds of them poking up from the desert floor.

There are also entrenched canyons, natural arches and sheer-walled cliffs in this vast, rugged landscape.

This area is famous for its rough jeep trails, including some that rank with the most challenging in the world. You need a high clearance 4X4 vehicle optimized for off-road travel to drive some of the routes here.

There's also plenty of space for lengthy hikes, including multi-day backpacks. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads lead to popular features including:

Nearby, Newspaper Rock is worth seeing. It is a large rock covered with figures carved by various prehistoric cultures. It is located along the access road coming into The Needles District; it has been designated a Utah State Historic Monument.

A Visitor Center is located along the main Needles access road, just inside the park. It is open year-round from 9 am to 4:30 pm (except some winter holidays), with extended hours from March through October.

Squaw Flat Campground in the Needles District makes an ideal base camp for day hikes to popular destinations like Chesler Park, Druid Arch and the Joint Trail. There are 26 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bathrooms, fire grates, picnic tables, tent pads and water are available year-round. This campground typically fills up every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October. Arrive early if you hope to get a site for a weekend stay.

In addition, there are three group camping areas in The Needles District, and they can be reserved in advance (reservation details). There are also 4 backcountry areas available for vehicle camping.

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