Explore the most popular camping trails in Canyonlands National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hikes just don’t get any better than this! The Needles District completely blew us away! (and we’ve been to Bryce, Zion, Arches and Canyonlands Island in the Sky District). Well worth the additional drive time to get there, and NO CROWDS! Words can’t describe the beauty and diversity of this hike! We took a ranger’s advice and did the loop clockwise, although most reviews recommend counter-clockwise. Wish we had listened to the reviews on this one. My husband struggled going down a ladder in one of the slot canyons (going up would have been easier). I also think the back 1/3 of the loop would have been easier counter—clockwise. We also regretted not bringing more water. Trust me, take what you think you need and double it! Having to ration our supply made the last two hours pretty brutal. It took us 7 hours including about 45 minutes for photo breaks and lunch. We also should have been on the trail by 7 a.m. instead of 9, which had us still hiking with very tired muscles during the hottest time of day (83 degrees),. If you don’t consider yourself to be in above average physical shape, don’t attempt the full loop. Just go to the viewpoint (that still 6 miles and quite a workout). This is also a very technical hike, so be sure you take poles and good hiking boots.

Wow! Easily one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. There was lots of variety on this hike and unbelievable views from many different angles of each canyon. We started at 8:45am in May and completed in 5.5 hours. This hike had it all...nice elevation gain, scrambling, some slot canyons that were only 2ft wide, and wide open flat area inside the needles that felt like another world.

First hike of Canyonlands for this Canadian. I initially thought hey- great loop location so I can check out other trails along the way. But wow did this ever WOW. The views of The Needles are magnanimous. The enormous size of the park is captured into perspective when doing the Chesler Park Loop. It’s amazing, great for all ages and levels of experience. Just prepare to take your time if you go in +25C weather- don’t time budget at risk of heat exhaustion.

This is a great trail and has some amazing views! Getting up to the loop at times seemed more of a difficult trail, but there are places to take a quick rest if need be! The loop was great, marked well with cairns! Completed the trail clock-wise.

We started this trail around noon, which made for a very sunny, hot hike. We stayed on top of re-applying sunscreen, brought plenty of water, and did just fine.

Glad this was one of our lasts hikes though, definitely got some blisters. Completely worth it, but good socks and shoes are a must!!

Also, this would be a good trail to download before completing. Cairns mark the trail well, but having another way to confirm you’re on the trail is helpful at certain points.

Amazing hike. Superb views. The trail is marked really well. The elevation is not a problem either.

This was a great trail to take in all different kinds of scenery! The views from every turn were unreal. This is a great option if you spend just a day in Canyonlands.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a fantastic hike on a beautiful early April weekday that started cool and then warmed up to high 60’s. We did the full out and back to the White Rim trail intersection point in 7 hours at a leisurely pace with lots of stops for pictures and lunch at the White Rim trail (3 hours down, 4 up). That’s a great spot for lunch with views down to the base of the canyon. The trail has spectacular views end to end, with lots of changing scenery. Although the descent/ascent is steep, it’s not technical. You have to be comfortable with wondering how the heck you’re going to descend the face but it was never dicey. We only saw two groups of hikers on the return and otherwise had the whole canyon to ourselves.

hiking
1 month ago

Counterclockwise is the way to go for the more challenging, but more rewarding (view wise) hike!!!! Absolutely amazing hike, 8.3 miles

Fantastic hike on Easter Sunday with temperatures in low seventies. Definitely not for those afraid of heights. When you get to the rim it’s hard to believe you can hike down to the wash. A ton of fun. We did the loop clockwise, which worked for us as you gain part of the elevation halfway through the loop. A little confusing when white rim trail forks off. GPS feature works great.

hiking
1 month ago

Much of this trail is slogging through sand, but the amazing panoramas make it all worth it, and the mile of trail just south of the junction with squaw canyon is one of the best stretches in the Needles.

Hiked on March 22, 2018. This hike had a bit of everything! Gulches, a “meadow” (park), rock scrambling, hoo doos, slot canyons, and skies for days. So far, this is my favorite Southwest hike. If you’ve only got one day to spend on Canyonlands, this is a great place to spend it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Vary niceee!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Not for those afraid of heights. We decided not to follow the other reviews and head down the hogback and up the wash. I didn't really notice a difference, other than the amazing views hiking out on the ridge. The views the switchbacks were amazing! It was fun scrambling over the rocks down (and back up) the switchbacks. Very unique for even the experienced hikers.

backpacking
2 months ago

I have to be honest, I was a little concerned about doing this hike, especially because I was taking my wife who hadn’t backpacked in 22 years and my 12 and 16 year old daughters who had never backpacked. We reserved the back country site for the 20th of March. I read just about every review and guide and watched several videos on YouTube. I heard things like the most strenuous trail and areas of exposure. I even read that in one area you had to hold on to a cable and swing your leg over a precipice. After reading all those things I really didn’t think we’d be doing the hike but we decided to go and talk to a ranger before we got the permit. I fully expected the ranger to tell us it wouldn’t be wise to backpack the trail. When I started to rattle off all of things I read about the trail he looked dumbfounded. Instead he highly encouraged us to go. I think my wife was hoping he would have said the opposite. The ranger also told us we could find water close to the campsite. This was the best thing I’d heard because I was going to be carrying the majority of the water. There was plenty of water a few hundred yards up the canyon from the campsite. I don’t know if the water source diminishes later in the year. So we set off. It really was one of the best experiences that we all have ever had. It took us about 4 hours to get in to the campsite and about the same time coming out. Don’t get me wrong it was tough but totally worth it. It is definitely a doable trail even with loaded backpacks, two teenage girls and a hesitant wife. There was no cable and there was never a time that I felt we were in danger. I don’t think that we’d stay overnight again. It was very cool being there by ourselves, seeing the stars and enjoying the quiet. But I think it’s best done as a day hike. If you get a chance definitely do the hike. Take the negative and over exaggerated dangers of the trail with a grain of salt. Be prepared, be careful and you’ll have a awesome time. One last thing I had heard that the rangers have to rescue more people from getting lost on this trail more than any other trail. I really don’t see how you could get lost on this trail unless you tried really hard to. It was very well marked with cairns. We had zero problems following the trail. Can’t wait to do the hike again!

backpacking
2 months ago

Stayed at Chester Park 4 and it was an amazing campsite. Perfect views of the sunset. Trees and nice area to set tent under. A private cave behind the camp you can climb up in.

We hiked this trail on 13 February 2018 and loved it. The weather was comfortable and cool. We hiked it counter clockwise and that worked very well for us. We were the only ones on the trail, the entire time. The trail is easy to follow, it is well marked but you do have to pay attention to the markers all the time. It is very strenuous and rugged and involves a lot of scrambling and climbing. Great stunning views the entire time, so this trail never gets boring. A great workout with amazing scenery. Make sure to take plenty of water, no matter what time of year you go. Pick a cooler time to hike, preferably in the off season. Bring a lot of snacks and a sandwich. Pack more than you think because it can take you all day out there. The trail offers back country campsites for those who want to sleep out there and finish the next day.

Great place to really get away from it all. I had the fortune to travel here with a 4x4 crew and spent to weekend taking pics and having an awesome time. Views are incredible.

hiking
3 months ago

Went today and barely any crowds. It's very similar to Devils playground in Arches. Super relaxing hike and definitely a hike to feel complete solitude. Also pretty strenuous. You'll be ready for bed afterwards. Follow markers carefully, had to backtrack a few times due to poor markers. Definitely my new favorite hike in all of Moab.

on Syncline Loop

hiking
3 months ago

Obviously, a lot of people love this trail, but it is my least favorite hike in the Moab area. I did it a couple of years ago, going counter-clockwise (against the prevailing wisdom), so I thought I would give it another try in the clockwise direction. The elevation change looks to be much more gradual during the ascent if you go clockwise, but it consists of climbing over dozens of humps, where you go up 20 or so feet and then come down the other side. So you are constantly going up and down, and as a result the whole hike is more tiring than you would predict from just looking at the mileage and elevation change. At the mid-point, there is a section that, as others have said, is not for anyone afraid of heights or lacking shoes with good traction. Although there are signs that warn that the trail is hard to follow, it is very well marked. I guess I am spoiled, but there are many hikes with more varied and spectacular scenery in the area, i.e. the nearby Lathrop canyon for example. In my opinion, this hike has a poor exertion to reward ratio. The loop is 8.3 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

This is an insanely beautiful trail - some rock scrambling, but nothing too dangerous. Highly recommended.

This is a great hike. Stay at the back country sites and hike about! Many great archeological sites.

This is one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. We did the loop counter clockwise like recommend but the overall elevation isn’t bad. There were quite a few spots where you had to scrambled up and down rocks and squeeze through tight spaces but this made the trail so fun. 360° views the entire time. There are designated campsites along the way. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
5 months ago

Wow that was awesome!! Going clockwise along the rock, down a long section of steep switchbacks and stairs, through scree and sand along the bottom, scrambling up and down rocks before making its way back to the top. Weather was perfect, and I had time for two other short hikes and lots of gawking at views to boot. =)

Definitely 8.2 miles. There are signs clearly stating this at the trailhead. Plenty of cairns marked the way very clearly.

Wow what a hike.The Wild West meets Alice in Wonderland.

Great hike!

hiking
5 months ago

Wonderful! We loved the red rock formations. And the Joint Trail section with its narrow tunnels was so fun. The Park is a true hidden gem: a large green valley in the middle of a desert.
If you want to go counter-clockwise then pay close attention to the map and take the right exit. We missed it and ended up going clockwise. FWIW clockwise was fine too and we had no problems crossing the final rocky part as the overall elevation gain of the trail is quite forgiving.

Best!

hiking
5 months ago

Started the hike late in the day, so only went to the "split" and then turned back (The Devil you know is better when you are chasing sunlight hours). Will definately complete this hike on my next trip to Canyonlands. Was fantastic. Started clockwise, as others have stated. Well marked with cairns and footpaths.

hiking
5 months ago

Go clockwise! Did it in 5.5 hrs but in a poor health condition.

Yes, like the other review said.. Do the wash first. 3 miles uphill in the sand is no fun,

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