Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

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stevebo
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Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by stevebo » Sep 14 2019 5:41 am

I know this is a long shot since it's Utah, but has anyone been in the Needles District of Canyonlands lately? I'm wondering what the surface water conditions might be, particularly in Elephant Canyon and Squaw Canyon. (Also the spring on the way to Druid Arch)

Thanks,
Steve

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by wildwesthikes » Sep 16 2019 8:44 am

I was there the 2nd week of September in 2018. No water except for a fouled hole in the bottom of Lost Canyon, which we filtered from and topped up to about 15 liters per person. The rangers knew ahead of time that this would be the only place to find water, except maybe near Druid Arch, which we never ended up going out to. We originally packed in 12 liters per person for a 3 day backpacking trip and it was barely enough given sunny September temperatures. A couple years prior to that, sections of Squaw canyon I hiked through were flooded from rain activity in July. But in 2018 it was totally dry in Squaw.

In my experience, Elephant Canyon will usually be dry until you hit Druid Arch, but I haven't come across a trip report yet that indicated that spring as dry... Unlikely you will find water anywhere in the vicinity of the elephant canyon backcountry sites. I would advise to call the ranger station a couple days before your planned trip and ask about water sources. The rangers do daily patrols and will know the situation. Sorry I can't give you anything that is up to date, but in my experience it's almost always dry out there till spring.

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stevebo
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Re: Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by stevebo » Sep 21 2019 10:46 am

Thanks very much for the report! Like you, we encountered very little water out there. And as you mentioned, there was water in the pools up by Druid Arch. Not the most amazing looking water but actually reasonably clear.

However, there is one source near Elephant Canyon we were told of by other hikers. It's on the trail that goes from EC3 to Squaw Canyon. The trail goes up a wash/canyon for about 0.1-0.2 miles. The trail then heads upwards (Southeast) out of the canyon and eventually goes up to the ladders. Anyway, if you stay in the canyon after the trail leaves it and go another 0.1-0.2 miles, there's water there. Not as much as near Druid Arch, but a lot more convenient. Our group of 7 used it 3 times on a 5 night trip. I expect it will be there until the next rain, but who knows?

Thanks again for your reply.

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by wildwesthikes » Oct 08 2019 3:27 pm

@stevebo
This is actually great info thanks! Surprisingly I am going to end up in Needles the 3rd week of October. I was bouncing around between Bryce Canyon (park shuttle service ends for the season), Capitol Reef (carry all your water for days) and Canyonlands (same story, but at least I know the area!).

There are actually a few backcountry spots open during the week out there in late October if you can believe it. I figured it would be a fight to get even one night there in October. One hopes those water sources will still be hanging around. I actually like the idea of doing a series of 1 or 2 nighters coupled together by a trip back to the car to refill water. Cover more distance when you don't have 12 liters on your back y'know?

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stevebo
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Re: Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by stevebo » Oct 08 2019 4:03 pm

wildwesthikes wrote:One hopes those water sources will still be hanging around
If you don't want to go back to the parking lot, I'd recommend the trail to Druid Arch. I can't imagine those pools will dry up completely. However, they're a mile up the trail. That's still preferable to going back to the campground though, especially if you spend a few nights in Chesler Park.

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wildwesthikes
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Re: Needles Water Conditions - Canyonlands

Post by wildwesthikes » Oct 08 2019 4:21 pm

@stevebo
Yeah I'm on the fence. What is nice about Needles is lots of loop options. I like the idea of going out to Chesler where it's always dry, get water at Druid and end up at Lost canyon near the end where there' also bound to be something resembling water.

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