Elephant Hill

Discussion in 'Southeastern Utah' started by Alex, May 29, 2008.

  1. Alex

    Alex Trailbait

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    The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park is a place where the sky seems to be held up by the many columns of Cedar Mesa Sandstone. The topography consists of vertical cliffs broken into spires and the sandy, narrow valleys between them. A jeep road negotiates steep ledges, narrow slots and some of the tightest switchbacks ever carved into a crag to access to this dreamland.

    There is much to see beyond where your vehicle is allowed. Chesler Park is a grassy meadow surrounded by a sandstone parapet that you can access through fissures in the rock via the Joint Trail. A high overlook allows you to peer down at the deeply entrenched confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. Sixty more miles of hiking trails in the area can keep you busy for several days, better reserve one of the backcountry campsites to extend your sojourn.

    Canyonlands NP has a really nice map on their website which I could not improve upon. The .gpx file has tracks for the Elephant Hill/Confluence loop and a separate side trip to Chesler Park. Waypoints correspond to Charles Wells' Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Second Edition and are labeled as follows:
    • 53## - Elephant Hill
    • 54## - Lavender Canyon
    • 55## - Beef Basin
    I have also included waypoints for Bobby’s Hole (has been stabilized by the BLM and is passable to any 4x4) and nearby Impossible Hill, which is a steep, bouldery dead end. Bobby's Hole is uphill when traveling from north to south.

    Coming into the Needles from Beef Basin
    [​IMG]

    SOB Hill
    [​IMG]

    Coming in from Elephant Hill
    [​IMG]

    The Devil's Pocket
    [​IMG]

    The Silver Stairs
    [​IMG]

    An xjblue photo of a trailer negotiating the switchbacks
    [​IMG]

    Switchback on the other side is even tighter
    [​IMG]

    The Joint Trail
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Chesler Park
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  2. burke

    burke New Member

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    Nice! We will be heading down there in a few weeks...can't wait.
     
  3. Paul R

    Paul R Member

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    Great Photos!
    I need to get on this trail :cool:
     
  4. Old#7

    Old#7 New Member

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    I was on this trail in Cruise Moab 08 and I have to say it is one of my favorite trails. The scenery is amazing and the trail was just difficult enough to make it fun! Definitely worth doing.
     
  5. DAA

    DAA Member

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    As of two weeks ago, there were some new obstacles, compliments of winter. Some huge rocks fallen onto the trail. Difficult but not impossible to get around, but guaranteed lots of deep scratches in paint from trees around the boulders. I suspect the Park Service will have the route cleaned up soon (if not already) though.

    - DAA
     
  6. solidfrontaxle

    solidfrontaxle Member

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    That is totally unreal! I HAVE to get down there sometime.
     
  7. bh4rnnr

    bh4rnnr New Member

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    Looking forward to doing this run during Cruise Moab 2009 on Thursday.

    Thanks for the report.
     
  8. PolarXJ

    PolarXJ New Member

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    Nice pictures. I've been to Chesler park once on a half day excursion. After seeing the beauty, I wish I had more time there. So its back on the list of things to do/explore.
     
  9. datoy

    datoy New Member

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    HERe is a shot of me with my trailer in that same corner. And people don't think it can be done.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Alex

    Alex Trailbait

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    I drove the Elephant Hill Loop over to Chesler Park on March 12, 2009, whatever damage there was seems to be fixed. I noticed that they placed some rocks in the Devil's Pocket so you no longer tilt towards the wall.
    [​IMG]

    We happened to hike the Joint Trail just as the winter sun was shining through its length.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Somebody knocked over all of the gravity defying creations in the Cairn Chamber, the current theme is anthropomorphic assemblages.
    [​IMG]

    The gate to the Colorado River Overlook was open for a change but we ran out of energy. I still want to see what's out there!
     
  11. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Moderator & Supporting Member

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    That is a great photo of you Alex, looks like the weather was great too.
     
  12. jason04

    jason04 New Member

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    My wife and I are heading down to the Needles via Elephant Hill on (March 20th) Friday evening and will be there until Sunday night. We will then head up to Moab for some trails on Monday and Tuesday.

    Anyone who still has this trail on their "list of places to go in 2009" is welcome to come along for this short trip into Canyonlands.
     
  13. Rock_Wagon

    Rock_Wagon New Member

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    Is this the same Jason that was driving a 4runner? How did the rest of your trip go? That trail was amazing! I can't wait to get back down there.

    Will
     
  14. frenchiexj

    frenchiexj EU Contributor

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    I will be doing Canyonlands , Elephant later this week. In May I will then be back to HITR, Hotel Rock, Elk Ridge and the back way into Elephant Hill and Canyonlands for 3 more days. The area is just so beautiful there. Great photos!
     
  15. Alex

    Alex Trailbait

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    Frenchie, I won't make either of the EJS HITR runs this year. When in May are you doing HITR?
     
  16. jason04

    jason04 New Member

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    Yes this is the same Jason with a '04 4runner... the trip was amazing! I'm not real good at documenting my trips so I havent posted anything about it. The trip was one of the best trips Marci and I have even been on. Caping spots were amazing, weather was perfect, we ran into a bunch of great people fron Colorado (Rising Sun Cruisers I think?) all in all it was just amazing. So much so that this past weekend I couldnt stay in SLC so Marci and I took Kurt's advise and headed down in the the SR Swell. Camped at the Wedge and headed down to Goblin Valley via some dirt roads. I love getting out on the trails!!!

    btw- who is this?
     
  17. Rock_Wagon

    Rock_Wagon New Member

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    Jason - hey thought that might be you! This is Will the guy in the rihno lined Lx450 / 80 series Landcruiser. I was one of the 4 vehicles with the Rising Sun 4x4 Club of Colorado group. That trail easily became one of my favorites.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. jason04

    jason04 New Member

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    Oh, that's right... well, it's good to hear from ya. Thanks again for the company on the trail. It was a blast hanging out with ya'll. Maybe I'll see ya at CM. Until then, happy trails!
     
  19. frenchiexj

    frenchiexj EU Contributor

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    I am sorry but the May is a private trip and they requested no additional for the trip. At the meeting for "Friends for Wheelin" (in Moab) they may have me lead the club later this year, no date set at this time. This will be open to everyone.
     
  20. xjcrazed

    xjcrazed Member

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    Just a note to anyone planning a trip in the area. Impossible Hill is not a dead end as described here. It is a valid and legal (albeit difficult) route for accessing Imperial and Bull Valleys. More info here

    Rob
     

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