• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Autumn, Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    2.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    200 Feet

Easy Parking
Scenic

This less advanced hike still gives you a taste of the wild remoteness of the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. It provides great views of the La Sal Mountains, the Needles, Island in the Sky, and Big and Little Spring Canyon. The park's self-guided viewpoints show off the unique geology of canyon country.

The trail weaves away from the highway following cairns. I did the loop counter-clockwise to hit all the viewpoints first. The first part of the trail offers stellar views of the Needles behind you.

All the viewpoints are well marked by trail signs. The first viewpoint veers off to the right and takes you to a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and mesas.

After returning to the trail, the loop will start off to the right and begin climbing the mesa's slick rock top. The next viewpoint will take you above Upper Little Spring Canyon. Watch for birds flying into the blue skies above the potholes.

The third viewpoint drops down into a ditch to view Lower Little Spring Canyon. After returning to the loop, follow it as it turns back towards the parking lot.

The last viewpoint turns off the trail and meanders above Big Spring Canyon. Stand near the edges and peek at the frozen waterfalls in the winter or the lush canyon bottom in the spring.

After returning to the main trail, signs will point to a short hike back to the parking lot.

Please note - be careful of Cryptobiotic soil when going off trail, as it takes decades to recover. Stick to the slick rock! Also, the potholes hold delicate ecosystems that are easily ruined by human interference. When snowy beware of icy rock.

Pack List

  • Good hiking boots for traction on sandstone
  • Weather appropriate extra layers
  • Lots of water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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LJ Dawson

Aspiring writer, I am probably in the rocky mountains or in the red rock deserts. Good days are spent in the sun and good nights are spent under the stars.Trying to make every day an adventure. Missoula living and Colorado grown.

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