The Needles District offers over 60 miles of interconnecting trails as challenging as they are rewarding. Conditions are primitive. Most trails traverse a mixture of slickrock benches and Sandy washes. Longer trails are especially rough and require negotiating steep passes with drop-offs, narrow spots, or ladders.
Water in the backcountry is unreliable and scarce in some areas. Trails are marked with cairns (small rock piles). Although most trails can be hiked in a day by strong hikers, many form loops and may be combined with other trails for longer trips. Net elevation change is generally several hundred feet or less, except for the Lower Red Lake Trail, which drops 1,400 feet to the Colorado River.
Elephant Canyon / Druid Arch
Length: 11 mi/18 km round-trip
Start: Elephant Hill Trailhead
This trail offers one of the most spectacular views in the Needles. It follows the Chesler Park access trail to Elephant Canyon, then travels along the canyon bottom across a mixture of deep sand and loose rock all the way to its upper end. The last .25 mile is a steep climb involving one ladder and some scrambling. Three backpacking sites. Water available seasonally.