The Needles Trail

MODERATE 52 reviews
#7 of 66 trails in

The Needles Trail is a 4.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Springville, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.4 miles
1,220 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running






Directions from Quaking Aspen: Travel south to FS 21S05 then travel west to the trailhead.

9 days ago

Great little hike for trail running and families. The views are worth the trek throughout. Bring plenty of water.

13 days ago

Pretty awesome hike. Take lots of water and light snacks. Make sure to stop in ponderosa for a beer when you leave! I always go past the gates and get on the top of the hill as well. There is a marker on the top of the hill w amazing views!

22 days ago

Nice hike! We did it about a month ago and despite the altitude it was still quite warm. It took us about three hours, could have been done faster but we stopped quite a lot to let my daughter's dog rest his paws, not for me to catch my breath

1 month ago

Short and sweet due to huge views of the high Sierras in the distant east. The old lookout is gone but the stairway acts as its bones, a reminder of a romantic past when hardy rangers would stand watch over our forests. I hiked with my dog and he seemed to enjoy himself. The trail head has a toilet and nearby are some picnic tables and a few level campsites. I saw several children on the trail who were smiling which is always a good sign.

2 months ago

This trail is great for beginners to test their skills and see if hiking is meant for them. The trail is easy to complete but has everything you would see on moderate trails in a short package.

2 months ago

To find the trailhead, drive down the Needles Road for 3 miles until the road deadends at a campsite, parking lot and outhouse. We thought we were maybe going the wrong way, but yep, just keep driving til you can't drive no more. We made it in a Kia Sorento, but there were sudans there that seemed to have bad the trip just fine.

It took my dad and my small terrier -mix 3 hours to finish the hike, and I think the terrier had the worst of it. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but I might not recommend bringing them, as my dog is still licking his paws four hours later.

The uphill parts were brutal in some places, but the absolutely worst part was the staircase at the end. I'm actually unsure if you're even supposed to go on the staircase - as many people have mentioned, the tower is closed (burnt down) and when you make it to the top of the staircase, the last few steps are missing! I carried my dog up the staircase, got nervous about the height and turned back. but the second set of stairs took my breath away (maybe it was the combo of the altitude, adding another 12 lbs to my weight by carrying the dog, and the stairs that did it). The view was beautiful (although terrifying)!

Saw a rattlesnake on the way back, so pay attention to your surroundings.

11 months ago

I just hiked this trail today. It was a tough hike for me since I didn't prepare so it was an uphill battle for me. I took my time and made it. The view was beautiful.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Good hike but be forewarned the staircase is closed! And you can't get around it easily at all (would take some advanced rock climbing). Still a beautiful hike though. Only 2.5 miles from the trailhead

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Great hike with lots of shade. If you drive about 3 miles in on the dirt path and start at the trail head it is just over 4 miles hiking. We went on a Friday in July during tower "open hours" but the gate was locked at the 2nd flight of stairs which was disappointing. 2 dogs and 10 yo daughter did ok. It's a lot of up hill on way to peak. bring water for dogs and be careful of all the bumble bees.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hiked this yesterday. I was a bit confused at the overall length of the hike. Most sources I referenced list the trailhead about 3 miles up the dirt road (21S05) from HWY 190. AllTrails marks the trailhead starting right off the highway. I drove up the 21S05 in my Impreza for about a mile before I turned around and parked in a small clearing about 100-250 feet from the highway.

There is indeed a trailhead, outhouse and a campsite about 3 miles up the road. My Impreza probably could have made it but I had a very satisfying 10 mile round trip hike to the lookout, so no regrets. I started around 10:30 and only had two vehicles (who were on their way to the trailhead) pass me on my trek up the road.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It was a good hike got out there early and had the place to myself. There were a few small trees that had fallen on the path but nothing major. Great view point.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

One of my favorite hikes to date; the precariously perched, burned down lookout tower is amazingly surreal. Someone had unhinged the locked gate (didn't notice until on the way back down), so I had no idea it was closed. It wasn't until I got closer, climbing the stairs and stepping on some rotted boards, that I realized the tower wasn't there. My friend eventually caught up and was like, "Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention it burned down." If I had known it was off-limits I would have stayed away. It is not kept it very good repair and therefore a bit dangerous. Kinda glad I didn't notice though. Have fun and be safe!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Friday, March 03, 2017

awesome trail

Saturday, December 31, 2016

my first real trail hike in Cali I wasn't has prepared as I would have liked and was trying a new pack. need to do it again under better circumstances but it was still a great time.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

beautiful views and amazing trip for a family outing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

I loved this trail amazing views I nicknamed it "Stairway to Heaven". Take plenty of water there is no resources on the trail and most definitely some form of big repellent they will eat you alive. I have been hiking a lot and by far this was one of my favorites.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Easy 5ish mile hike.

Dirt road to trailhead June 2016 - good condition, my Prius did fine.

Trail itself was great, gorgeous views once you get to the staircases mentioned by others. Will visit again!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

fun trail that leads to a great view

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Gorgeous views but the stairs are not for the weak at heart or stomach. If you fear heights be cautious as you climb the not so well kept stair case as you may find yourself panicking half way through your stairway to heaven. Views are impressive but the lack of a kept staircase earns this hike a 4 star rating. As a side note i have looked into if the staircase and lookout will be rebuilt and there is currently money being raised to rebuild the lookout. This project is supposed to take place in 2015 depending on funds. Currently i read they are at 30k out of 50k needed to rebuild

Monday, September 07, 2015

Just hiked this about a day ago and the view is gorgous! Unfortunately, the lookout burned down recently and so you can only walk the sketchy stairs up to the notorious last step and look out over the canyon. Overall though, it was a great hike! If you are hiking close to sun set, make sure to bundle up or the wind will really give you a chill.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Enjoyed this hike to get out of the valley heat! Those stairs are sketchy but nice views!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This is one of my favorite California excursions. I wish the tower was back, I miss Margie and her cookies. I have climbed the rock face of this tower many times, using the trail for access. One of the gems of the Southern Sierra. Great views, great hike.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

This was a great hike I did with my wife and 1 year old. We did it as a trail to train before climbing Mt. Whitney. It was easy enough with great views! The lookout and last bit of stairs are gone due to a fire, but it is still worth the climb!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

This is a short ( about 2 miles one-way ) hike but the views are great. The lookout tower is not there anymore due to a fire.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More of an adventure than a hike. When I went the lookout tower still stood. I have some good photos. Incredible views!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just hiked this trail for the first time a few days ago and the staircase to the outlook was fully open. The outlook was gone,(due to fire) but still unbelievable views and a scary staircase to get the blood pumping even more than the hike.

2 days ago

18 days ago

26 days ago

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