Fall 2016: Canyonlands: The Needles

The Needles district is named for its rounded vertical rock columns.  (Beats me.)  I was surprised by how much the scenery looked like the scenery in The Maze.

I started by backpacking down Salt Creek, which is, of course, known for its clean, clear water.  While not as hard as The Maze, the route was difficult in places, and I was defeated by the route-finding it required.  I came to a place where I just didn’t want to continue a very difficult trip when I didn’t even know if I was on the trail or not.  I was happy to turn around.

After being defeated by Salt Creek, I spent three days dayhiking in the more civilized parts of the district, where the hiking was easier and route-finding was not a problem (and the scenery was probably better).

If you ever go to The Needles, be sure to hike the Peekaboo Trail (unless you suffer from vertigo).  It’s a cool experience, and the views are excellent.  The first three photos give you a sample of it.img_0022img_0026

Petroglyphs.  No one really knows what they mean.
Petroglyphs. No one really knows what they mean.
Red rocks abound. They make the white “lobster” stand out. Note the little window to the other side in the lower left center.  (This is near Peekaboo Camp, which was “temporarily closed due to hazardous trees” next January.)
The last cairn
The Slickrock Trail is easily available by car to hikers of all abilities. But only a half mile into it, I was virtually alone. I was stunned at how nice many of the views were and how few people were there to enjoy them – even though it was a rather easy walk. Here, beyond the end of the trail is what I call “The Last Cairn.”  (It’s barely perceptible near the center of the photo.)  I wasn’t inclined to go there on this occasion
A canyon that is made from alternating white and red rock layers
How could nature carve this rock?
Surely you jest! How could erosion create this?
The trail actually goes through this window
Just one of many sweeping views along the Peekaboo Trail
The Druid Arch. I actually wasn’t impressed by the photos others posted, but at 450 feet tall, it is quite imposing.
See the cairn? It tells me to go straight into the crack. Sure. Believe it or not, I learned to trust the cairns.
See the face?
Do you see what I see?
The view from the Confluence Overlook. The Green River is on the left. The Colorado River is on the right and center.  You wouldn’t know it here, but the two rivers are quite different, IMHO.

Totals for The Needles: 5 days, 77 miles

Next destination: Island in the Sky