Chesler Park Trail

Moab, Utah 84532

Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"If you can stand the high desert temperatures, the Needles District of Canyonlands is a hiker's paradise. The needles themselves are the main attraction. Carved by the wind and the rain from the multicolored Cedar Mesa Sandstone, they present a startling array of spires and pinnacles that rise from the slickrock like a forest of sandstone trees. Some parts of the trail wind torturously through the stone towers and canyons, forcing hikers to negotiate one obstacle after another.

Deep inside the rugged needles country lies an unexpected refuge of gentle grassland. This is Chesler Park-a flat, circular-shaped meadow about a mile in diameter, almost completely surrounded by the sandstone needles. There are three designated camping areas on the perimeter of the meadow, and one could hardly ask for a more beautiful place to spend a night or two. There are also several other interesting things to see within an easy walk of Chesler Park, including an impressive natural arch and a small Anasazi Indian ruin. The one drawback that prevents Chesler from being a perfect hiking destination is the unavailability of water. The nearest reliable spring is two miles away in Elephant Canyon, so you will have to carry most of your water with you."

Chesler Park Trail Trip Reports

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Trip of a lifetime. I agree with another reviewer that the best way to go is to camp in Chesler and do day hikes to Druid, the Joint Trail & Elephant Canyon. The sunset views toward The Maze are fabulous. Go in the spring / fall when temps are lower. We found plentiful water in Elephant Canyon in March.
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This is The Hike to plan a trip to Moab around. If you can even stand the thought of backpacking, no matter what else you might want to do in the area, you still want to spend a night in Chesler Park, hike to Druid Arch at sunrise, and hike the easy but spooky-fun Joint Trail on one day or the other. It is possible to see these places as a day hike or two, but that seems considerably less satisfactory.

This area feels to me like hiking through a huge ruined byzantine city, with wide and narrow sidewalks, stairs, gardens, and architecture at the 4 story and 16 story scale. It is hard to resist anthropomorphizing every sight; better just let the imagination run wild.

Overnight permits are apparently tough to get, but after Memorial Day things clear out, and only 2 of 8 spots were in use. The weather was never above 80, which is hot enough but not devastating. Carrying the minimum 1 gallon per person per day of water is the hard part. Do not count on finding any water here.
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Great hike, not too many people if you go off season

Chesler Park Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
12.75 hours
Spring, early summer, and fall
5,120 feet
Trailhead Elevation
5,740 feet
Top Elevation
Canyonlands National Park Headquarters in Moab
Local Contacts
Druid Arch (USGS), The Loop (USGS)
Local Maps

Trail Log