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Chesler Park & Elephant Canyon

Friday – Monday, March 9-12, 2018

Late last year as I was thinking about planning some of my 2018 trips that would require advance permits, I decided it was finally time to backpack into Chesler Park in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. I’ve day-hiked into Chesler Park a number of times over the years from the four-wheel drive trailhead of the Joint Trail, but this time I wanted to backpack in so I could spend more time exploring the area and hopefully photographing this beautiful area at sunrise and sunset. Of course, planning a trip this far out in advance is like playing the lottery with the weather, especially in early to mid March on the Colorado Plateau, so as the dates of the trip approached I kept a close eye on the weather and hoped for good conditions.


Robbers Roost Canyon

Friday – Saturday, March 2-3, 2018

I left after work on Friday and made my way west into Utah where I stopped in Green River for dinner and fuel. I continued south towards Hanksville in the dark and then took the familiar left turn onto the road to Hans Flat. It had been pretty windy all day and was supposed to stay that way overnight and through Saturday. This meant there were a few sections of the road that were completely covered with sand dunes, so I had to be careful not to hit them going too fast. After I passed the road to Green River and Horseshoe Canyon I came to Robbers Roost Flat and the road that would take me out to Angel Point, where I planned to spend the night and start hiking from in the morning. I’ve driven by this intersection in the road near Burr Pass countless times in the past on my way to the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, but I’d never made the right turn before. It was finally time to head in that direction and to start exploring the canyons in this area!


The Needles

Friday – Sunday, February 23-25, 2018

After spending the previous weekend exploring Cedar Mesa, Diane had to travel to San Diego for work this weekend, so I was on my own. I decided to leave work on Friday and spend the weekend in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park even though Diane and I would be headed back there in two weeks for our first backpacking trip of the year. If I had to choose just one favorite district of Canyonlands National Park, I think I would have to go with The Needles. This section of Canyonlands has amazing hiking, challenging Jeep trails, beautiful scenery in every direction and plenty of hidden rock art and ruins. The Needles has it all!


Ruins of Cedar Mesa

President’s Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, February 17 – 19, 2018

This year for President’s Day Weekend Diane and I decided to head back down to Cedar Mesa for our first visit to Bears Ears National Monument of the year. We ended up spending most of the weekend exploring canyons carved into Cedar Mesa and visiting ruins that I hadn’t been to in a number of years, plus a few new ones. We also made a detour over to Montezuma Canyon on Monday morning before a strong winter storm moved into the area and chased us back home in the early afternoon.