Date: Nov. 3rd, 2016
Location: Needles District, Canyonlands National Park
Distance: 10.4 miles (lollipop route)
Elevation Gain: 1700 ft
Moab is surrounded by awesome trails in the Arches and Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands. I was not inclined to drive 70+ miles to the Needle District for a hike;however, unequivocally, the region’s insiders anointed this trail as the Can’t Miss.
The trail starts at Elephant Hill trailhead, and immediately climbed up and out of a canyon. It was well marked throughout with cairns.
The vista is sensational every step of the way.
The path climb in and out of canyons, rock slabs, prairie gardens.
I passed a lovely couple from Denver who would come to my aid shortly.
2.5 miles in, approaching the final ascend to Chesler Park Overlook, I took my first break and realized that I left my food bag in the car. My journey was in jeopardy until the Denver couple gave me 2 energy bars and some grapes.
My trip saved, I arrived at Chesler Park – a 1000 acre grassy meadow in the midst of barren rocks in gratitude both for human kindness and nature’s splendor.
As I walked across the Park, I had the sense of being in the middle of a humongous arena surrounded by the awesome rock spires.
After traverse through the Park, the path became the Joint Trail.
Walking through a very long narrow gorge bottom was the highlight of Joint trail.
The trail eventually widened and opened up to distant scenery.
The trail joined a Jeep road for 3/4 of mile,
then split back into canyons.
After some moderate climbing, I re-entered Chesler Park,
and returned to the Overlook.