THE 10 BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN THE SOUTHWEST

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The Needles District, Canyonlands National Park

My son, Nate, on the Chesler Park Trail.

Stratified cliffs stretch for miles. Stone towers, with bulbous crowns bigger around than the column on which they sit, seem ever at the verge of toppling over. Multi-colored towers of Cedar Mesa sandstone looming 300 feet tall form a castle-like rampart at the entrance to Chesler Park. Erosional forces working over unfathomable gulfs of time formed this arid and tortured landscape; but it looks more like the work of giant children squeezing mud from their fists.

The Needles District of Canyonlands encompasses a high plateau split by canyons. A network of trails creates multiple options for short, relatively easy, but strikingly scenic backpacking trips (and long dayhikes) through The Needles.

See my story “No Straight Lines: Backpacking and Hiking in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.”

I can help you plan the best backpacking, hiking, or family adventure of your life. Find out more here.

In the narrows of Paria Canyon.

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