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Cyclone Canyon & The Devil’s Pocket

Memorial Weekend in The Needles | Day 1
Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bright and early Saturday morning I was up and headed to The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park to meet up with a few friends for the Memorial Day weekend. I made pretty good time and was soon on my way over Elephant Hill and at our campsite in Devil’s Kitchen. It took me just under four hours to reach the campsite from my house in Grand Junction. I quickly setup my tent and we were soon on our way to start hiking and exploring.

We started out by searching a new area of Devil’s Lane hoping to find something new. We did end up finding a few small panels of handprints which seem to be very common in The Needles.

White Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Red Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After taking a few photos of the handprints and searching the area a little more we started our hike from Devil’s Lane over to Cyclone Canyon. I should mention that it was VERY windy out! As we started the hike in the Devil’s Lane we had to watch out for rolling tumbleweeds blowing through the grabens. It was a sight to see tumbleweeds racing down the lane. The sky was also full of dust for much of the day blocking the sunlight.

The view down into Cyclone Canyon as we started the descent.

Cyclone Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Cyclone Hoodoo by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We did manage to find one very faint petroglyph panel that contained a few Barrier Canyon Style figures, but they were really hard to see. Look closely at this photo and see if you can make them out…

Very Faint BCS by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a view down into Devil’s Lane from our hike back over. You can see the wind picking up the dust off the road in front of the Jeep that is down there.

Dusty Devil’s Lane by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After we arrived back at my Jeep, we went off in search of another pictograph panel that I have searched for in the past without success. This time we were able to find it, though. The Cave of 200 Hands is a shallow alcove that contains many handprints and other figures. I did not count all the handprints to see if there were really 200 😉

Cave of 200 Hands Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were handprints everywhere!

Hands Everywhere by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were even a few lines of figures in a procession with burden baskets.

Backpackers by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another look in the alcove.

Cave of 200 Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We also found an very cool panel nearby. The trapezoidal anthropomorph with the square head is my favorite.

Square Head Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the anthropomorph and the reverse handprints.

Square Head by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We found quite a few more faint pictographs nearby, but most were hard to see with the naked eye, let alone with a camera. Here’s one of the better figures I was able to get a photo of.

Faded Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we were done searching for new rock art, we headed over to the Joint Trail for a nice afternoon hike. There were plenty of cairns in the Cave of Cairns this time. Apparently the park rangers hadn’t been by to knock them down recently…

Cave of Cairns by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Unfortunately, the Joints seemed to be funneling the wind, so it was like walking through a wind tunnel with sand…

In the Joint by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we reached Chesler Park, we sat down on the rocks and rested for a while. There was so much dust in the air that we could barely see the needles around us, so I didn’t bother taking any photos this time. When we were done resting we hiked back through the Joint Trail and made our way back to Devil’s Kitchen so we could have some dinner. While we were back at camp the wind finally started to die down and the sky started to clear out a little bit. When I was done eating I hiked out to explore Devil’s Pocket on my own until sunset.

I managed to find a small Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel as I was out exploring.

Pocket Twins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view near the Devil’s Pocket campsite as the sun sunk lower on the horizon.

Devil’s Pocket by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The sky was clear and still a little dusty, but the light on these spires was nice.

Needles Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Sunset Fins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I was hiking back to camp at Devil’s Kitchen, the light was striking the sandstone nicely. If you look closely you can see two people on top of one of the rocks.

Devil’s Kitchen Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once it was dark enough out, Jared and I tried some night shots. None of them really turned out good, but here’s one anyways since I stayed up late to take it.

Devil’s Kitchen Night by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

It was a great first day exploring in The Needles again.

>> Cyclone Canyon & The Devil’s Pocket Photo Gallery


  1. Ruth Goede
    Ruth Goede March 6, 2018

    Your pictures are lovely! I really enjoy looking at them. Thank you for sharing them

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