Canyonlands National Park is divided into three separate districts by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Few bridges cross the deep river-carved canyons, making access to these neighboring districts near impossible. The Needles District visitor center is over 100 miles (160 km) from the Island in the Sky District and offers over 60 miles of interconnecting backpacking trails and 50 miles of difficult four wheel drive roads. Extreme off-roading and overnight backing aside, the Needles District offers many interesting hikes, sights, and backroads.
The 0.6 mile (1 km) round-trip Cave Springs Trail allows a close up view of a historic cowboy camp with preserved artifacts. The diversity of this short trail makes for a fun experience as it encounters sand, slickrock, trees, alcoves and a pair of cowboy ladders. Cave Springs is a favorite of our guides.
The 2.4 mile (4 km) moderately difficult Slickrock Trail boasts 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape and is both beautiful and quiet. The hike is enjoyable for the adventurous that like to scramble over rocks and navigate by cairns (stacks of rocks used as trail markers).
An archaeological site called Newspaper Rock is located at a roadside pullout near the entrance to the Park. This large panel of rock art petroglyphs contains over 650 carvings dating from 150 to 2,000 years ago, left by people from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures.