A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to backpack through the Needles District in Canyonlands. It was one of the best experiences and I cannot recommend checking this area out enough. I have been to Moab multiple times and explored Canyonlands on every visit, but I had never camped or backpacked in the park.
How to Get a Permit:
Getting a permit to backpack in the Needles District is pretty easy. All you have to do is go here to reserve your permit. I recommend giving yourself at least three business days for the permit to process and your payment to go through. It was a $30 reservation fee for two people for one night.
Once your permit is approved, print it out (I recommend two copies). You will need to keep this on you throughout your stay and park rangers will ask to see it.
Where to Camp in Canyonlands:
When you go to the permit site, there will be a bunch of options for campsites. I stayed at Chesler Park 3 and it was gorgeous. The hike in is just under five miles and the scenery that you wake up to is astounding. The great thing about Canyonlands permit system is that your campsite is reserved. That means no one can take your spot. If you arrive at the later end of the day, that is completely fine. Be sure to read all instructions on your permit for arrival hours and check-in at the backcountry office before departing.
Here are some photos of our campsite and the views.
Where to Hike:
Once you arrive at your campsite in Chesler Park, there are a few different trails you can take. I recommend checking out The Joint Trail. It has slot canyons for you to climb through and if you go in the evening, the hike back to your campsite will be pink skies and red rock all around. I only stayed one night but if you are looking for more hikes around Chesler Park, click here. Next time I will be checking out Druid Arch.
What to pack:
If you are a first-time backpacker, check out this post. It’s all about what to pack and expect. Below you will find everything I packed. This was split between two people.
- Water bladder (be prepared to bring in 6 liters per person)
- Food for dinner, and breakfast
- Luna Bars
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Inflatable pillow
- Backpacking chair
- First Aid Kit
- Inflatable Lantern
- Hiking Boots
- External Battery
- Jet Boil
- Book (or Kindle)
- Garbage Bag
- Dry Bag
If you are planning to go to Moab, be sure to check out this camping guide, and if you have a furry friend coming with you I have a list of dog friendly hikes and restaurants.
Photos by Camber Weiss.