Moab to Needles Canyonlands NP

Two nights rest and a lot of rain in the town of Moab and we are off again. We are following the mighty Colorado river. In 2014 we paddled down it. This time we are walking in and out of canyons, over ridges and along ledges.

Leaving Moab on the Amasa back trails

At first we still shared our trail with mountain bikes and ATVs. Although this is very remote country, there are some one or two homes out here and the people who live off grid are usually very hospitable. Like Tom and his tortoise Kobe. He shared his drinking water (which is hauled in by 4×4 over some fearsome rugged terrain) and some good stories about hikers that have come past on the Hayduke and ATV drivers he has had to rescue over the years. He also has installed a Frisby golf course on his property but we didn’t have time…

On our alternative to the Hayduke, the Hermit Trail, on a narrow bench above the Colorado

Although we are following the Colorado, we only stood on its banks with our toes in its water once. The rest of the time we were high above it on ledges and weaving inland to go around (and sometimes into) steep tributary canyons. There are still some areas used for seasonal cattle pasture (less so now after an ongoing long draught).

Tangrens camp. Used by horsemen up to the 50’s I think. Old bedstead and tissue roll amazingly intact. Some unidentified foodstuffs in jars… we were hungry but didn’t try!
Came across this on the dirt road in Lockhart Canyon. It wouldn’t start though!
Rustler Creek dryfall had a cool scramble under a chockstone
Some great sunset sunrise camps so far

One of the best things in Canyon country is camping with a view of the landscape below at dusk and dawn. And in between the clear night sky and the complete silence…except when there is a cricket…or an owl…or a coyote. Then it’s even better!

Brian looking down to a loop of the Colorado river

After 4 days we arrived at Needles Outpost, a privately run campsite and store at the edge of Canyonlands National Park and we are having a rest day in one of they glamping tents. Comes with a hammock. Very relaxing! We picked up one of our resupply parcels here with food for the next section. So far we have come about 105 miles. Doing some kit repair and enjoying a hot shower before hiking on into The Maze.

Resting up in Needles Outpost before we head out again!

Hiker notes


We did the Amasa back alt which was nice.
Stopped at Base camp and chatted to Tom who kindly let us fill up with water as well as admiring the tortoise!
There were 2 river access points to Colorado for water south of Base Camp.
Chicken corner HT6.8, we took a direct alt south up a mellow wash with a couple of 2-3m high scrambling steps to short cut the HT indirect jeep road. Worthwhile.
HT11.3 We left the HT just south for an alt down Hermit Cnyn based on Kelsey. Followed a lovely limestone bench above Colorado narrowing to a meter or so in places. see pic below.Also cool Tangren old horse camp. Couldn’t find the spring to the east from Kelsey though. Continued on bench along rim of Lockhart north fork back to HT at foot of Nic Barth alt descent and big dryfall. Scenic and recommended. Can write up better notes when home after trail.
Small clear flow of water just after above dryfall on HT but may dry up soon.
Lockhart had a flow for about 1/3 mile
Rustler dryfall. Small pool just above but dry below. Direct route under chockstone was fun!
Indian Creek. Pools of water but no flow.
We hope so wash. Good pothole of water.
Took the alt out to the Colorado river neck lookout, nice view and short diversion starting from 200-300m before pothole. Would be a nice campspot too…

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