Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© 2017 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This is a very nice dayhike in the Needles area. One of the disadvantages is that you spend most of your time in the two canyons, where you don't see much of the Needles themselves. The trail starts from the Squaw Flat campground and heads up either Squaw Canyon or Big Spring Canyon. The canyons themselves make for fairly easy, very pretty hiking. I was there in mid-May and the cacti and wildflowers were in bloom, making it especially pretty. There are, of course, some very neat rock formations all along the way. To cross from one canyon to the other requires climbing up and over a large rock ridge that separates the two canyons. Steps are cut into the steepest section of climbing on the Squaw Canyon side, but there are still some steep sections to navigate. The views from the top of the ridge definitely make it worthwhile.
I did Big Spring Canyon and Lost Canyon as a loop. Big Spring Canyon is very easy hiking and is not very deep, but still fairly pretty. Lost Canyon is deeper than Big Spring Canyon and prettier. The real excitement in my Big Spring Canyon / Lost Canyon Loop was the three passes between canyons, which involved exciting hopping from cairn to cairn in steep terrain. Otherwise, the hiking in the Needles area seems pretty easy unless you do it in extreme heat.
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