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General Information

Description - This area of Canyonlands is well known for its easy backcountry access. Visitors can reach many of the sandstone spires and arches of the Needles with a two-wheel drive vehicle. In addition to the needles other unique formations to see in this district of the park include: grabens, canyons, potholes and caves. Ancient Puebloan people lived in this area long before the United States Government decided to protect it. They've left reminders of there time in the needles in the form of granaries, dwellings and rock art. Nearly every canyon in the park contains some feature created by ancient man. With a little effort visitors to the Needles district can enjoy and learn about the geological and human forces that formed the landscapes, cultural and natural, of southeastern Utah.

Attractions - The Needles district is thick with backcountry and frontcountry facilities. The visitor center, located as you enter the park on State Road 211, is a good place to begin your visit. Rangers are on site at the visitor center daily from 8:00 to 4:30. No matter how extreme or tame your plans are this is the place to collect information about facilities, geology, cultural and natural features within the park. This is also the place to pick up any permits necessary for your endeavors in the park.

There are four interpretive trails in the park each accessible from the main park road. A campground and two picnic areas complete the frontcountry facilities. In the backcountry of the Needles district are several interconnecting trails with primitive campsites. Four wheel drive roads also lead visitors into the backcountry of this fantastic area. Many canyons to the east and west of the Needles support challenging four-wheel driving terrain. Permits are necessary for all overnight use of the backcountry and some day use of four-wheel drive roads. Information is available at the visitor center.

Recreation - The Needles supports a variety of activities including: camping, hiking, backpacking, four-wheel driving, picnicking, viewing exhibits and viewing scenery.

Climate - The climate of this area of the park is arid receiving approximately 12 inches of rain per year. The fall and spring are the most pleasant times to visit Canyonlands, and also the most crowded, with warm days and cool nights. Summer brings very hot days. In winter expect warm days and very cold nights.

Location - The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park lies south of Moab, Utah, on Utah Highway 211. Follow signs from Utah Highway 191 to 211 then travel 38 miles westward into the park. This portion of the park is immediately east of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Marshall Hall (Aspen, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Needles Overlook is a spectacular spot to watch the sun set. The needles district spreads out 1500 feet below you and looks just like the model in the visitor center. The road out there is paved but a bit rough and the site's fencing makes it safe for children (still makes you nervous to see them leaning against it). Well worth the trip any time of day.

More Information

Additional Information:
Canyonlands National Park - Canyonlands National Park preserves 527 square miles (848 square km) of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires in the heart of the Colorado Plateau in Southeastern Utah.


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