Features: Views — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
This wonderful trail begins from the Chesler Park Trail
where it leaves Elephant Canyon to head west. The Druid Arch trail heads south, continuing in Elephant Canyon. For the first one and a quarter miles, the trail follows the canyon bottom along a mix of sand, rock, and loose gravel, which makes for easy going.
After the 1.25 miles, you'll need to keep an eye out for when the trail abruptly leaves the bottom of the wash on the left (east). Despite the large number of cairns marking this departure from the wash, it is still super easy to miss as it looks like a drainage. If you do miss it, no big deal - you'll soon realize what you've done when the trail disappears into thick brush and a small pool.
This also is where the trail will begin to gain more elevation and require scrambling. Head up and out of the wash, and over a ~10 foot scramble. It's really not too difficult and I'd say adds to the interactive-fun of the outing (there are many such scrambles in Needles). A little more elevation and you'll be on a ledge that follows parallel to the canyon bottom. Continue heading south on this flat section, which can become narrow but never so narrow as to feel exposed. You'll also see the dry falls that are why you needed to exit the bottom of the wash.
You'll come to a spot where the canyon turns more to the east and here the trail rejoins the canyon bottom. Head up this wash. Basically continue along the wash bottom - it's relatively easy going but there will be a few mini-scrambles - as it bends around to head south again. You'll come to a section of the wash that is quite steep, but navigable. The sandstone offers good traction when dry, but could pose problems if wet! (On the return we kind of had to sit and slide back down).
After the steep wash, keep an eye out for where the trail heads east and leaves the wash again. This time is not so difficult to see. You're basically at the bottom of Druid Arch
now, but won't be able to see it yet. There is some semi-exposed scrambling you'll have to do to get over some large rocks. A metal bar is bolted to one to offer you a place to put your feet. Some people will be uncomfortable with this section, so be sure to know your limits and turn back if necessary.
Continuing on, you'll head into a gap between canyon walls and come to one of the steepest parts: a rockfall that will require a little more scrambling. At the top - Druid Arch
! One of the more magnificent and less-visited arches in the area.
It is easier navigation on the way out, but some people don't drop into the wash soon enough and reach a dead end. Keep a few landmarks in mind on your way in, and you'll be able to retrace your steps.