Chesler Park

Monticello, Utah

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1 Review
5 out of 5
Deep inside the rugged Needles District of Canyonlands lies an unexpected refuge of gentle grassland called Chesler Park. The flat, circular-shaped park, or meadow, is about a mile in diameter and is almost completely surrounded by towering needles of pink sandstone. Before 1964 this area was used by the Dugout Ranch as a grazing pasture for cattle, and the remnants of an old cowboy camp can still be seen on the southern side of the park. The ranchers even flew small airplanes into the park on occasion, but any signs of the old landing strip have long since disappeared. It has been more than a quarter century since cattle were grazed in Chesler Park, and the sandy meadow has once again been reclaimed by a thick growth of grasses and desert shrubs. The trail described here begins at the Elephant Hill Trailhead and heads south to the northeast side of Chesler Park. It then circles the perimeter of the park before returning to Elephant Hill. As the map suggests, however, there are several other possible routes to Chesler Park. One particularly nice overnight hike combines a visit to Chesler Park with the Big Spring Canyon-Elephant Canyon loop. Another possibility is to do the Druid Arch hike as an overnighter with a camp in Chesler Park.
Canyonlands National Park: Favorite Jeep Roads & Hiking Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Canyonlands National Park: Favorite Jeep Roads & Hiking Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

Deep inside the rugged Needles District of Canyonlands lies an unexpected refuge of gentle grassland called Chesler Park. The flat, circular-shaped park, or meadow, is about a mile in diameter and is almost completely surrounded by towering needles of pink sandstone. Before 1964 this area was used by the Dugout Ranch as a grazing pasture for cattle, and the remnants of an old cowboy camp can still be seen on the southern side of the park. The ranchers even flew small airplanes into the park on occasion, but any signs of the old landing strip have long since disappeared.

It has been more than a quarter century since cattle were grazed in Chesler Park, and the sandy meadow has once again been reclaimed by a thick growth of grasses and desert shrubs. The trail described here begins at the Elephant Hill Trailhead and heads south to the northeast side of Chesler Park. It then circles the perimeter of the park before returning to Elephant Hill. As the map suggests, however, there are several other possible routes to Chesler Park. One particularly nice overnight hike combines a visit to Chesler Park with the Big Spring Canyon-Elephant Canyon loop. Another possibility is to do the Druid Arch hike as an overnighter with a camp in Chesler Park.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Monticello
Distance: 10.9
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Day hike
Duration: 6 hours
Season: Year-round, best spring and fall
Trailhead Elevation: 5,120 feet
Top Elevation: 5,600 feet
Local Contacts: Canyonlands National Park
Local Maps: USGS Druid Arch, The Loop
Driving Directions: Directions to Chesler Park

Recent Trail Reviews

6/4/2006
1

The trail takes you through amazing and beautiful formations with a good variety of views and landscapes. The final vista of the needles before going down into Chesler Park is truly magnificent. There are some fairly steep trails down and up the canyon bottoms and a few shady spots for breaks from the sun. We did the six mile round trip Chesler Park Viewpoint trail without going around the park, which was plenty for us on our first day in the park. Get a trail guide at the Visitors Center. Carry plenty of water! We took 3 liters each. Big Spring Canyon to Squaw Canyon trail was also a wonder, perhaps even more magnificent, 7.5 miles round trip--a must! We did that the third day; we found we needed a down day between hiking days. The little 2.4 Slick Rock Trail we did at the end of the second day was easy and totally wondrous too. I think is must be longer when you take the side view trails along the way. We didn't want to leave!



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