Summer 2013 - Southwest
Take Two

Monticello, UT

August 13, 2013

Local Information

Area Map


Photographs and Commentary
Click on picture to enlarge

When we traveled through this area in 2006, we visited the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands National Park is made up of four district, Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers that created this area. Today we visited the Needles district which is located about fifty road miles northwest of Monticello.

About 22 miles from the Needles Visitors Center is the Newspaper Rock State Monument, which has one of the best collections of petroglyphs we have seen. You can stand in one spot and see hundreds of carvings (I didn't count them). Even my untrained eye can identify bighorn sheep, elk, deer, bison and pronghorn antelope. The drawings represent carvings by different groups of people over the past 2,000 years. While there are theories, no one can conclusively state what these petroglyphs represent.

After viewing the petroglyphs, we drove on to the Needles. The Needles has paved roads that take one to several overlooks where you can see the various formations in the park. There are also a number of unpaved roads that lead to additional viewpoints. Even though we have a four wheel drive vehicle with high road clearance, the ranger at the Visitor Center suggested that we not attempt them with our long wheelbase truck. The ranger did suggest two roads that we could handle with ease. One of these is the off road trail to Elephant Hill, the first part of which was easily navigated by our truck. The Elephant Hill road contains the best overlook to view the namesake needles. We also took the unpaved road to Cave Spring where overhangs and a year-round water source made this area a temporary home for hunter-gatherers and cowboys.

We took some videos through the windshield as we drove around the park. There is too much video to attempt to edit it while on the road. We will add edited segments of the video after we get back home.

The Needles is not as crowded as the Island in the Sky district because it is a bit more remote. If you are in this area for more than one day, we recommend that you visit the Needles and Island in the Sky districts. I would not recommend trying both in one day. If you only have one day, visit Island in the Sky.

The word from Susie about the Needles is, MORE AWSOME than Monument Valley.

Newspaper Rock

Needles, Canyonlands National Park

When I first saw the arch on the left I said it looked like a shoe. Then I saw the sign that said it was Wooden Shoe Arch.

This Juniper is probably over a hundred years old. It is amazing how it can survive with minimal nourishment it gets from this rocky terrain.

This raven ignored us as we got to within a few feet of it to get this picture

Nature carves some beautiful figures

This picture was taken at Pothole Point. There are many of these potholes in the area. When they fill with rainwater they become full of life. Invertebrates like the tadpole shrimp go through a complete life cycle, from birth to laying eggs for the next generation before the pothole dries up. All we saw were some insect larvae.

These are the Needles, rows of columns eroded into shape by rain, snow and wind

A cowboy open air bunkhouse. It was likely to have been used by earlier people who traveled through this area.

Cave Spring with its year-round spring

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