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The Land In-Between: Around The Needles

Friday – Monday, January 14-17, 2022

Well here it is, my first Trip Report of 2022! This wasn’t originally supposed to be my first trip of 2022, but we ended up cancelling our plans over New Years Day weekend because of the weather and then I decided to take last weekend off, too. So now it’s time to get back at it again, and what better way to start off the year then by spending a three-day weekend exploring one of my absolute favorite places on the Colorado PlateauThe Needles! As usual, I left after work on Friday afternoon and made my way down to The Needles and found a place to camp along the Lockhart Basin Road. Then I spent the rest of the weekend exploring the Land In Between the more popular trails in the park to see what I could find along the way and ended up hiking over 36 miles. It felt good to put in some higher miles this weekend since I’ve been taking it easier after my incident in November. The weather was perfect for hiking and camping with lows in the 20’s overnight and highs in the 40’s during the day. Enjoy some photos from my backcountry hiking this weekend!


Bates Wilson served as superintendent of Arches and Natural Bridges National Monument from 1949 to 1972. He could most often be found outside. Driving between the two parks – drawn to the vast “land in between” – he dedicated countless hours to exploring and mapping its diverse geology.

Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks


Squaw Butte at Dawn

Butte at Dawn

Morning in Canyonlands

Canyonlands Morning

I’ve been trying to find this petroglyph for years and was happy to finally stumble upon it this weekend!

High Petroglyph

I liked the colors and textures of this little overhang.

Canyonlands Painting

First Light in The Needles

First Light

Lone White Pictograph

Lone White Pictograph

Morning Stone

Morning Stone

Falling Boulder

Falling Boulder

Faded Barrier Canyon Style pictographs found under a large overhang.

Faded BCS Pictographs

A closer look at the largest striped figure.

Striped Pictograph

Ice Cold

Ice Cold

A short slot canyon just off the Confluence Overlook Trail.

Short Slot

A lone little granary I came across.

Low Granary

These were the only clouds I would see all weekend, the rest of the time it was clear blue skies.

Wash View

I found this pictograph just as the warm morning sunrise light struck it.

Morning Pictograph

The end of the road above Big Spring Canyon.

End of the Road

Exploring Big Spring Canyon.

Big Spring Canyon

I spent one evening on the Cave Spring Trail to watch the sunset.

Cave Spring Cowboy Camp

Cave Spring Pictographs

Cave Spring Pictographs

North Six-Shooter Peak at sunset from the top of the Cave Spring Trail.

North Six-Shooter Peak

A nice morning view of Junction Butte through a sandstone window.

Through The Window

Sunstar & Pillars in Elephant Canyon

Sunstar & Pillars

I spent a lot of time just wandering the high sandstone ridges and soaking up the sunshine.

High Sandstone Wandering

Sandstone Wandering

Wooden Shoe

Wooden Shoe

This flat wall had a couple scattered petroglyphs on it.

Scattered Petroglyphs

This petroglyphs of a mug is very cool.

Mug Petroglyph

Curved Arms & Legs

Curved Arms & Legs

Water-filled Potholes


The remains of an old trough near Soda Spring.

Soda Spring Trough

This small boulder had a couple of faint petroglyphs on it.

Petroglyph Rock

Here’s a closer look at the hard-to-see petroglyphs.

Hard-To-See Petroglyphs

It looked like there was an old cowboy camp nearby, too.

Metal Can

Out for an early morning drive.

Early Morning Drive

This cute little granary was my favorite find of the weekend with the amazing textures on the roof of the alcove and beautiful reflected light.

Rippled Roof Ruin

>> Around The Needles Photo Gallery


  1. gerald j otto
    gerald j otto January 23, 2022

    Another great post Randy, I knew I was going to be sad that I couldn’t join you on this outing, and I am. Great finds!

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat January 26, 2022

      Thanks Jerry. It would have been nice if you had been able to make it. Next time!

  2. Natalie
    Natalie January 30, 2022

    You should put together a book on your explorations…though I’m not sure if that would bring even more people out to these pristine areas. Your photographs are beautiful! I love reading about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

  3. SteveR
    SteveR January 31, 2022

    Warm (looking, anyway) red rock! That “backside” area is on the list, it looks amazing. Just what I need to look forward to on a cold winter morning, when our next desert excursion seems so far away.

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