The incomparable Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Named for its colorful spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone, one might liken many of the districts temple-like formations to that of the Taj Mahal. A maintained network of trails braid through astonishing vistas, offering those the opportunity for long day hikes as well as overnighters. Only a few hours west of Durango, its time to get outside and take advantage of the wonderfully comfortable temperatures and wide open skies.

Sandstone temples stand tall among the sagebrush of Chessler
Park. Brilliantly colored lichens are commonplace in the rocky terrain
of the Needles. Superb light casts a magnificent glow in a subway canyon near
the Joint Trail. The Fremont Culture painted pictographs, such as these
handprints, sometime before 1300 AD. A detail of the crypto soil, which consists of lichens,
bacteria, mosses and fungi. Cryptobiotic soils make up 70-80 percent of the living ground
cover in some areas of the Needles. A cottontail rabbit hides in the brush.