Chesler Park Loop Trail

MODERATE 134 reviews
#4 of 66 trails in

Chesler Park Loop Trail is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Blanding, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from February until November.

DISTANCE
11.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,935 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

rocky

snow

no shade

no dogs

Directions from Needles Visitor Center: Follow the main park road to Squaw Flat Campground. Bear right onto Elephant Hill access road and follow that 2 miles to the trailhead. Hike 1.5 miles from the trailhead to a trail junction. Turn right and beginning hiking westward from this junction. In .6 miles you'll reach Elephant Canyon and another trail junction. Turn left at this junction and begin following the Elephant Canyon/Druid Arch Trail southward.

hiking
10 days ago

Outstanding trail. One of the best in Canyonlands or Arches. Went counterclockwise on the loop. The sights are amazing and you really do feel like you’re on another planet sometimes. The loop is almost completely exposed, so take the water requirements very seriously. Really took our time to enjoy (7 hours) and started at 6am / dawn. Only ran into one person on the first 10 miles and throughout the entire loop and he was a ranger going out to check on some back country campers. Saw about 10 people in the last mile and a half or so. No real difficult parts, moderate climbing, just long and very hot. There were 4 of us dad, mom and teenage son and daughter. We’re in pretty good shape and went out with 15 liters of water between us and had about 2 liters left at the end.

12 days ago

One of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. Joints, rock scrambling, views- this hike has it all. It rained late in the afternoon which sent it to a new level of magical, but do bring jackets if it’s monsoon season— be prepared for lightning and flash floods. Water, at least a gallon, is a MUST for in the summer. 5L is better.

hiking
22 days ago

What a spectacular trail! My husband and I have been hiking and camping a ton in the last few years, and this is one of our top 3 favorite hikes of all time. We didn't see any hikers until we closed the loop and were back at the viewpoint. If you wanted a taste of this trail but not the full 11 miles, you could just hike to the viewpoint where the trail begins the loop and head back, that'd be about 6 miles I think, and you'd still see some pretty amazing stuff. Google pictures of the 'joint' if you want motivation to do the full loop though :)

It can be brutal in the heat of the day, so PLEASE be smart and bring tons of water and start EARLY. We got to the trail at 6:30, but really 5:30 would have even been better. It was a 100+ degree day and took us about 7 hours. We had a real fast pace the first half, but as the trail had more incline/slickrock areas and the day got warmer, we slowed a bit. We had 3L in water bladders plus about 5 nalgene sized water bottles (include tabs of electrolytes/vitamins to mix in our waters) for the 2 of us, and wish we would have had maybe 1 more litre of water. We saw so many people ill-prepared heading out on the trail late in the day, don't let that be you. Found the trail to be well marked as well.

hiking
1 month ago

This is truly a must do trail if you are in the area. We went on 4-4-18 and it was an overcast day, so luckily water wasn't an issue for us. We hiked it in six hours (stopped for lunch and to play on some rocks). We took our boys, 14 and 12, and they had no problem, other than the occasional whining, lol. Easily a day trip from Moab. I had read a review to hike this in a counter clock-wise direction and I'm really glad we did that. The first part seemed mostly downhill (once on the loop) and I couldn't imagine having to do that all up-hill. Plus, it really saves the best for last on the loop. I read an REI blogger compare this hike to "Alice in Wonderland" meets Dr. Seuss. It really does have that whimsical feeling with the rock formations. It's amazing!!!

1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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

3 months ago

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
3 months ago

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
4 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.

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Went today and barely any crowds. It's very similar to Devils garden 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.

6 months ago

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!

7 months ago

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

hiking
7 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.

7 months ago

Beautiful hike on 11/22 - completed in 5hrs. Couldn’t have asked for better weather. Echoing others who’ve recommended taking the loop counter-clockwise, this gets one of the rockier sections out of the way a little earlier in the hike.

8 months ago

Lovely trail - closer to 11 miles than 10 miles.

hiking
8 months ago

What a hike! Continuously amazing views the whole way. Just breathtaking in a couple spots. We did it counterclockwise as recommended by Gabriella's review. Our hike was 12 miles, only 1200 feet elevation gain according to my Gaia maps recording, but we did an optional viewpoint that was a short worthwhile spur and we got off trail for a little bit near the end that may explain the extra distance. Because this is a cairn following hike, paying attention to the cairns is a good idea. :) There are signs along the way so you don't go off onto the Druid Arch trail or toward Elephant Hill CG area. Didn't see too many people, only 12 on the trail and 4 more off in the distance either camping or hiking, so you'll have the place to yourself, or so it will seem. The Joint trail section blew our minds and was so fun. It's a fantastic hike.

8 months ago

Fantastic hike even though we turned around at the view and Chesler Park because of time.

8 months ago

Amazing scenic trail

9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Really beautiful. We were all novice hikers in pretty good shape. We did the 11 miles, and this was a good challenge that didn't leave us feeling totally dead afterwards. Tired but not dead. I highly recommend this trail.

10 months ago

Amazing scenery and very quiet and isolated! You get a good variety of type of trail (slick rock, dirt, even jeep trail) and variety of scenery. Best part by far is the Joint section of the trail. DO TRAIL COUNTER CLOCKWISE. (When you get to the Chelser park sign take a right)

hiking
11 months ago

My favorite hike in Canyonlands. Start early, take enough to drink and something to eat. We hiked an extended version, where we included on the way to Chesler Park the first part of the Druid arch trail. That entrance into Chesler Park is much more fun and beautiful than the normal route. Also , you hike not the same part up and down. Route is Just a bit longer. See my route below.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail! Always seemed to be something new and unexpected around every corner. We started pretty early (7:30) and finished in about five hours. Definitely be sure to have enough water if you're doing the full loop. I finished my last drop (3L) just as we reached the end, and we weren't hiking during the hottest part of the day. Highly recommend coming here if you're deciding between Needles and Island in the Sky. Much quieter with less tourists.

hiking
Monday, June 26, 2017

Great trail. Amazing views and not crowded.

hiking
Friday, June 23, 2017

This is one of my all-time favorite treks, even after getting lost and enduring 106-degree temps. In short, it transports you to an out-of-this-world Martian landscape you'll never forget. If it's anywhere close to hot, it's critical to start early (sunrise) as you're exposed for most of the trail. Bring a gallon of water, too -- seriously.

I think most people only hike to the Chesler Park overlook as I didn't see a single soul after passing through the double spires. I got lost -- twice -- both times unable to find the correct exit point out of the Joint caves (although the Joint trail was one of my favorite parts!). At one point, I literally had to sit down and have a chat with myself, urging my brain to calm the hell down as heat, dehydration, and exhaustion swept in and clouded my judgment. I probably shouldn't have hiked this trail alone to avoid such neurosis. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I followed my downloaded AllTrails map (a MUST for this trail), but the GPS was sometimes 10-20' off (and obviously didn't work in the caves without a line of sight), which led me astray multiple times. In fact, that's why on my recording you'll see I took a different trail back -- by the time I realized I was off track, it was easier(?) to pick up the new trail home. Be diligent about looking for rock stacks; they're your only markers for most of this trek.

Random: There's a porta-potty and picnic table under a tree at the halfway point (although it's not a picturesque stop, so I wouldn't eat lunch here).

This trail CAN be difficult; come prepared. BUT, I met a father with his young daughter returning from camping overnight and if that little she-warrior can do this trail, so can we!

backpacking
Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Wow! What an incredible trail. It's like going from one fantasy world to the next in a video game. I highly recommend doing an overnight for this one (snag CP5 if available). This will afford you more time to absorb the extraordinary, otherworldly beauty of this special place. Definitely do the loop counter-clockwise (as recommended by the park rangers). I'm really glad we saved the joint trail section for last. There are a few shaded spots to rest in periodically, but you are otherwise exposed to the sun. Note you must pack in all water (bring a lot) and human waste bags are required. Stay on the trail and enjoy this spectacular experience!

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