Canyonlands is so big, it was difficult choosing a hike to do. It was ridiculously hot outside, so the ranger suggested Chesler Park/Joint Trail for some great views of the Needles, plus it is a short hike minimizing the amount of sun exposure. Warning - this hike is mostly on exposed slick rock the entire time, so be sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen, and definitely a hat!
Dates: 6/25 - 6/26
Miles: 6 roundtrip
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Trailhead: Google Maps
We parked at the Elephant Hill parking lot. We saw the 4WD trail, and were boggled by just the first 20 feet of it. It was VERY steep, and the road was just boulders and dirt. My Honda Accord barely made it through Utah, but having a Jeep in Utah would open up so many more trail opportunities! It was blistering hot as we suited up, Clark didn't even wear hiking boots because it was so hot.
The trail is marked by cairns and easy to follow, and it passed lots of unique rock formations that the Needles district is known for. We passed a ranger hiking out on our way in. The
The trail then descended down some steps into a very narrow section.
We decided to stop in the shade of the Needles to have a snack, and we encountered 2 other hikers also enjoying relief from the sun. Continuing on, the trail began to climb up and up. After some switchbacks, we emerged on top, overlooking Chesler Park. Since this was quite high up and a valley between the Needles, the wind up here was STRONG.
It was beautiful and refreshing up here, and Chesler Park looked intriguing. We decided to venture down into Chesler Park, and after reaching the sign we turned around and hiked back out. Not used to this heat, we just wanted to get back to the car.
If we were to go back to Needles, the Chesler Park/Joint Trail loop looks like a great backpacking route, as long as it wouldn't be too hot, I can't imagine backpacking in this weather. Although it was a short hike, it was great to get a taste of this part of Canyonlands.
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