Scenic USA - Utah

Needles District

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Needles - Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Photos by Rob Jones
Rob's Upper Salt Creek Trip Report

     A map view of Canyonlands shows three distinct sections of this national park Hand Stencil - Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah distinctly outline by deep canyons of the Colorado and Green rivers. It's safe to say these rivers are not easily crossed ... so, visitors have a little driving to do if they would like to see the entire Canyonlands National Park. The easiest to enjoy is Island in the Sky in the northern district, mostly covered by paved access roads. Natural Arch - Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah In a distinct contrast, The Maze is only supported by unpaved, four-wheeling routes and hiking trails. The Needles District, taking up the southeast part of the park, offers a mix of paved roads and hiking trail opportunities.
      The Needles Section is named after its most distinguishing feature, a myriad of spires seen for miles along the park's southern border. This southern section is laced with over 60 miles of interconnecting trails Ancestral Puebloan ruins - Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah and plenty of highlights to explore. Canyon overlooks, natural arches, slickrock benches, mesa tops and prehistoric rock art panels are among the district's most prominent features. But it's the Needles themselves that attract the most attention. These unusual spires, made of layers of red and white sandstone, were deposited over a long period of time. After the entire Colorado Plateau rose thousands of feet, erosion took the lead part of natural artist. These dominate sandstone landforms are fine examples of the park's geology, where jointing, weathering and rock fractures continue to reshape the landscape. Unlike the powerful forces of the Green and Colorado rivers, the processes of erosion in the Needles work a little slower, but continue to weather year after year.

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