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Canyonlands Nat’l Park ~ The Needles District

Posted by on April 23, 2014

 Today we are off to the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park from our base camp in Monticello, UT. We don’t have nearly enough time to spend here. Hopefully we will have a chance to return someday.



Beehive near highway 261 to Canyonlands

Beehive near highway 261 to Canyonlands



road into the Needles district of Canyonlands NP

Road into the Needles District of Canyonlands NP


Do you have about 1.5 months and a 4 x 4 vehicle?  That’s about what you’ll need to Explore and see all of Canyonlands National Park.  Canyonlands is divided into 3 parts. The Needles, Island in the Sky, and The Maze.  None of these districts are connected by roads. They are all divided by either the Colorado River or Green River.

Four wheel drive roads offer day trips to trips up to longer than a week! Back country permits are required for overnight trips.  Driving can be a smooth ride on pavement or a tortuous 4-wheel-drive climb up a steep rock road.


Canyonlands Landscape


Wooden Shoe Arch

Wooden Shoe Arch and Canyonlands Landscape

Wooden Shoe Arch Canyonlands-2

Wooden Shoe Arch

Big Spring Canyon Overlook

Massive Rock formations at Big Spring Canyon – Mark is waving from the lower right side to give you a perspective.


Mushroom rock formation





Road to the Needles

Road to the Needles District


Canyonlands Landscape

Canyonlands Landscape


Click the thumbnails below to get a better look at these historical images in stone. Such an amazing panel of history. Some of the carvings date from 1500 years ago while others were placed there at the turn of the 20th century.  Some of the images represented here are deer, elk, bison, bighorn sheep and horses. If you look closely you’ll see that some images reveal  feet with six toes along with snakes and strange footprints.    Just an incredible panel.


Sixshooter Peak

Sixshooter Peak

On the road back to Monticello, (36 miles) we were rolling along just fine enjoying the sites.  All of a sudden the jeep started jerking and sputtering like it was out of gas. But it wasn’t. It would run perfectly in neutral but under a load it would not go. We ended up a long side highway 261  at 3 in the afternoon and that was where we stopped for the next 3.5 hours. No cell service for 20 miles.  Another jeep stopped to see if there was trouble and actually took my towing information and promised to call a towing company when their phone could get a signal.  So we waited…. then a highway patrol car stopped and said someone at the top of the canyon had alerted him to our problem but they could not get a call out to the towing company.  So he got on his radio to dispatch and with that, a towing service in Monticello was called in.  It was getting dark in the canyon and they finally arrived. We did, however have plenty of water, jackets, snacks a full tank of fuel and even dog food. So if we had to spend the night in the jeep we would have been ok. They Hauled the 3 of us and the jeep to Monticello. Much to our dismay, they did not accept our towing service… which was Good Sam Roadside Assistance.   They did accept my basic AAA service which allowed $40.00 (5 miles of towing) out of the $368.00 tow fee.  We paid the difference and then they dropped us near the rv park. We then towed it behind the motorhome all the way back to Cortez, Colorado to the Jeep dealership for an inspection.  After the $140.00 computer analysis they found nothing wrong.  The jeep is now running just like normal.  After the problem earlier in January with the key sticking in the ignition, (causing us a 9 day delay) the fuel tank needing replacement last fall and now this… I think I am looking for a new Jeep! I don’t think I can trust it on the back roads any more..  I would have rather they found a problem and fixed it than not know what let us down. I love my jeep but, I have to have confidence in it for the backwoods places we like to go.



Disabled Rubicon

Disabled Rubicon

Waiting for a tow truck

Lily is anxious for the tow truck too



Tow truck arrived

Finally the tow truck arrived.


Footnote:  I wrote a letter to Good Sam explaining what had happened with the tow issue. The fact that the highway patrol picked the towing company and it was out of my control, Good Sam Roadside Assistance has agreed to pick up the difference of $328.00 that I had to pay out of pocket.   Cheers to GOOD SAM !

But I still don’t trust this Rubi in the backroads without cell service…    🙁


Off to Moab, Utah to explore Arches National Park.




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