The Needle Creek Trail follows the creek until it reaches the lower end of Chicago Basin, about 5 miles up the trail. There are no camping spots until you reach Chicago Basin. There is a permanent fire ban for Needle Creek and all of its headwaters. At 6.5 miles you begin the steep climb to Columbine Pass. There are switchbacks for the next 2 miles and an ascent of 1,500 feet. From the top of Columbine Pass you descend 680 feet in 0.4 mile to Columbine Lake. From the lake the hike is easy to moderate terrain to the junction of the Vallecito Creek Trail at mile 17.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.