• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)


    National Park Utah


photo: Sandstone spires in Elephant Canyon
Sandstone spires in Elephant Canyon
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert

The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district's extensive trail system provides many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads lead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park.


On US Highway 191, drive 40 miles (60 km) south of Moab or 14 miles (22 km) north of Monticello, then take Utah Highway 211 roughly 35 miles (56 km) west. Highway 211 ends in the Needles, and is the only paved road leading in and out of the district.

Visitor Center

Exhibits, information, publications and educational gift items are available. Operating hours change seasonally, though restrooms remain open 24/7.

Interpretive Programs

Interpretive programs are offered from March through October with evening programs presented most nights in the Squaw Flat Campground. Check at the visitor center and on bulletin boards for subjects and times. Other programs are offered throughout the season.


Squaw Flat Campground is an ideal base camp for day hikes to popular destinations like Chesler Park, Druid Arch and the Joint Trail. There are 26 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bathrooms, fire grates, picnic tables, tent pads and water are available year-round. Fee is $15 per night. Squaw Flat typically fills every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October.

Campground Rules

  • Camp only in designated sites.
  • Maximum occupancy: 10 people, 2 vehicles per campsite.
  • Maximum stay: 7 consecutive nights.
  • Maximum RV length is 28 feet.
  • Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Check-out time: 10 a.m.
  • Pets must be leashed at all times.
  • Wood fires in grates only. Wood gathering is prohibited. Do not leave garbage in fire grates.
  • Charcoal cooking fires are allowed in fire pans and grills. Place ashes in fire grates.
  • Properly extinguish all fires.
  • Generators may only be used between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., or from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Group Sites

The Needles District offers three campsites for groups of 11 or more people which may be reserved in advance:

Squaw Flat (Group Site): 50 people, 10 vehicles
Wooden Shoe: 25 people, 5 vehicles
Split Top: 15 people, 3 vehicles

Nightly fees for all group sites are $3 per person.

Group Site Reservations

The Group Sites are not available during the winter. Please check back at a later date for information on reserving these sites for the spring.

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