“A must-visit trail that exemplifies the varying zones in Canyonlands Nat'l Park; slots, prairie, and boulder outcrops.”
— Zander Göpfert
Cave · Views
With nearby 4X4 access, families can explore this trail without having to make the longer trek in from Elephant Hill or Squaw Flat.
Located in a fairly isolated section of The Needles, this trail sees more visitors (relatively) due to its 4X4 access off Devils Lane Road
. Starting from the eastern end, just north of the CP2 backcountry campsite, the trail heads south/southwest through the prairie. This "approach" provides a great opportunity to see the rocks that the trail will ultimately enter with expansive views beyond to the west.
After a few hundred yards, the trail will turn right (north/northwest) and skirt the northern border of the rocks; a nice and easy stroll. The trail will begin to descend gradually and then when it arrives at the rocks, at an intersection sometimes marked with a cairn or wooden post, it will appear to vanish.
Looking to the right, the trail continues down a ladder and enters one of the coolest areas, debatably, in the park. Here the trail travels along the bottom of a slot canyon whose walls begin to stretch higher and higher as the trail continues through the cool, shaded, sandy bottom. For those looking to explore, tighter and taller slots branch off this main route. For folks who are sensitive to tight spaces, this might be a challenging area as the slot can be fairly narrow (less than two body widths or a little greater than shoulder-width).
Continuing into the slot, there are a couple log ladders to negotiate down some boulders. These aren't too difficult but may present a challenge for shorter and less-able-bodied visitors. Further along, the slot will open up to a large cave that is filled with cairns. This is a neat spot to explore before emerging north towards a more open canyon.
The final stretch of trail meanders through this more open canyon with some undulations along the way. Bending to the left (west, southwest), the trail crosses the Chesler Canyon wash and arrives at a small, yurt-style bathroom and parking area. To the west, the trail continues for a short segment to connect to the intersection of Devils Lane Road
and Bobbys Hole Road