The Joint Trail in Needles, Canyonlands

Joint trail steps from chesler park hike
Stone Steps into the Joint Trail from Chesler Park
Hiking sometimes is pure drudgery.  Other times it is a magical experience.  The joint trail is one of those magical trails in which the destination is not the only aim.  The journey to the destination can be just as much fun along a wonderful trail like this.  The narrow canyon walls, fun and silly "cairn room" are the destination among themselves along the way to the beautiful Chesler Park.  It is also very cool and pleasant deep in these slots, a nice break from the sun and heat..
hiker on joint trail from chesler park
Hiker on the Joint Trail in Needles District
cairns on the joint trail needles canyonlands
Cairns along Joint Trail

Chesler Park Sunset: The Needles of Canyonlands

needles canyonlands chesler park sunset beautiful
Chesler Park at Sunset:  The grassy meadow surround the sandstone towers is gorgeous.
Chesler Park is a very special place.  Of all the locations I have visited, this is one of the most difficult to reach.  That difficulty is part of the reason it is so special.  If you are here as the sun sets, you basically have this wonderful meadow and collection of spires to yourself.  The "park" is never crowded because there is no easy access to Chesler Park.  Several miles hiking is required.

Armed with a precious camping permit at Chesler Park campsite #4, my daughter and I hiked in from the Joint Trail.  We set up our tent and camp between 2 wonderful round boulders and I started to wander around the meadow preparing for sunset.

The golden hour can be prolonged more than one hour in the right conditions with clouds and changing weather patterns.  The golden hour can also be shortened to 10 minutes when the skies are empty of clouds.  Such was the case on this night.  No clouds in any direction could be seen.  The sun set through the clear blue sky.  Only as the sun was reaching the horizon did the colors change to a golden orange hue.  I'd been taking photographs for quite some time and realized they would all be useless after seeing such wonderful light at the very moment of sunset.  This is my favorite photograph of Chesler Park.  The sun had already stopped shining on the grass but was still touching the tallest spires.