I had recently moved to Monticello, UT, a month an a half ago and I was itching to do something outside. It was early March and the weather was warming so we planned to head to the Needles District of Canyonlands. We did a quick stop at Newspaper Rock on the way to the ranger station, picked up our permit, and headed to the Elephant Hill parking area. Our plan was to hike out to our site and set up tents, then hike to Druid Arch and back for the night. Then hike the Joint-Chesler loop back to the trailhead versus backtracking.
We made it to camp and the views were great. We set up camp, ate some snacks, and then made our way south to Druid Arch.
"Trails" in the Needles are usually in a wash or on slickrock. The sand an be slow going, so it's actually nice when it's a little wet. But if you like to scramble, the hiking here is super fun.
After a while of hiking up the drainage, we climbed up into the bowl with Druid Arch. I had only seen photos of the arch, and man, it's HUGE! It's like 450 feet tall.
The following morning I woke up with the sun and watched the sunrise before we started our hike to hook up with the Joint Trail.
Eventually we hooked up with the Chesler Park Trail where we were able to overlook the terrain we hiked through the previous day. Amazing geology! We took a break at the overlooks to grab snacks and watch the clouds float by. Amazing place and I was excited that this was going to be my backyard for the next year or so!
Trip notes: spring hiking here seems to be nice weather and reliable water. We hiked just shy of 13 miles in two days which was a nice easy trip to knock the dust off the hiking boots for the year. I'm not kidding, this place has so much terrain with all the cracks and joints. There is so much opportunity to hike off trail, if you know how to avoid biological soil crusts. Looking forward to more trips in the future!