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 191, drive 40 miles (60 km) south of Moab or 14 miles (22 km) north of Monticello, then take UT 211 roughly 35 miles (56 km) west. UT 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. Visitor center operating hours change seasonally, though restrooms are open year-round.

Ranger Programs

Ranger 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. Check the calendar for other special events.


Squaw Flat Campground has 26 sites available, first-come, first-served. 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.

The Needles District also offers three campsites for groups of 11 or more people that may be reserved in advance.

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