Moab Visit Summary – Part One

Moab, UT

We’ve been very busy during our two week stay here in Moab.  David, Karen, and Cody (He’s a hiking dog!) are staying near us and have joined us for a number of adventures.   We’re behind again in our blogging so this post and the next will give a summary of what we have been up to.  Most of the hikes we did are repeats of ones we did in past visits, so if you would like more detail on one we describe now, put the name in the search engine so you can read a more detailed blog about that hike.


This hike begins at a trailhead along Kane Springs Road.  It is a nice 4 mile round trip going up and back in a mostly dry wash.

Hunter Canyon Trailhead

Little rest stop for Cody

Hunter Canyon Arch comes into view about a half mile into the hike. It sits up next to the south rim of the canyon at an angle that makes it a challenge to see through its opening.

Two miles up the wash there is a fork in the trail that makes for a good spot to turn around.  A neat opening in the rocks is in view up the right fork.

Cody likes shade, even if it is man made!



One afternoon the five of us took a Jeep ride north of Moab to visit the ghost town of Sego.  The town is about 40 miles north of Moab.  We took US 191 to I-70, went west on I-70 just five miles, and went north on Thompson Canyon Road.   The Sego Canyon site is famous for its panels of Ute and Fremont Indian petroglyphs/pictographs and Barrier Canyon style pictographs.

Ute Pictographs

Fremont Indian Art

Barrier Canyon Style art work

A few miles north on Sego Canyon Road is the remains of the town of Sego.  Formerly an important eastern Utah coal mining town, Sego was inhabited from about 1910–1955.  Today the only remaining structures are some crude dugouts and the walls of the company store.



We’ve hiked a long loop trail in the Needles district of Canyonland twice during previous visits and were anxious to return.  It is a long drive to the visitor center (75 miles from Moab) and the hike is over ten miles so we were up and on the road early that morning.  It is too long a day to leave Cody alone so David and Karen did some exploration closer to town.

UT-211 heading west into the Needles

Driving past the visitor center we turned left toward a campground, then right on to a dirt road leading to the Elephant Hill Trailhead.

The road ends (except if you have a permit to continue on a rough Jeep road) at the parking area for the trailhead.

Elephant Hill Trailhead

We have hiked this trail before so we knew it went steeply up into the rocks right from the start.

This trail is never really very flat, but after the initial climb it goes through some “fairly” level slickrock as it passes two interesting rock formations.

The Big Mac in the center and the pie on the right

The trail narrows in a few spots . . .

. . . then heads steeply down into a wash.

This is where we made a mistake.  Our goal for this hike was to get to the Druid Arch.  The sign visible in the photo below indicates distance to points if you continue straight ahead.  From previous hikes we knew that if we continued straight there would be signs to the Druid Arch, so that’s what we did.  Later, we figured out that we should have turned left at this point and continued up the wash to the arch.

Once up through a couple of very steep climbs, we entered an open area called Chesler Park.

Chesler Park

There is a great loop trail around Chesler Park that we have hiked twice.  But since our objective was the Druid Arch, we followed the signs pointing to it on the left side of the loop.  We knew something was amiss when the mileage to the arch increased on the sign from the one we passed before the wash.  We had hiked over a mile since the first sign and the miles to the arch had increased instead of decreased.  How could this be?

About a mile down on the Chesler Park trail, we came to another sign that indicated the Druid Arch was down a trail to the left.  We took that turn but it headed to the north, while we thought the arch was to the south. Hmm . . .

The arch must be down there somewhere

We continued on that trail down some steep slickrock and into a narrow rough canyon.

As we approached the bottom of the canyon we decided that the hike was getting a bit long and we were not sure just how far it was to the arch, so we made the decision to turn around.

OK, back up the steep slickrock

While we were a bit disappointed not to reach the arch, the scenery on this part of the trail was outstanding.

Lunch with a view

Needles and mushrooms

Back through the narrow section of the trail

We returned to the Jeep after almost eleven miles tired but pleases with the hike.  Since we didn’t reach the arch, we’ll have to return next year for another hike in this beautiful area.

Look for Part 2 in our next post . . .

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12 Responses to Moab Visit Summary – Part One

  1. Sue says:

    Hey! It’s the journey not the destination! I have every confidence you’ll find it next spring……

  2. Debbie L says:

    Ah, this makes me so jealous!!! WOW, just amazing. Breathtaking. Stunning!

  3. Laurel says:

    We love that Chesler Park hike — it’s been a few years since we’ve been to Canyonlands, but it’s definitely on our must-return-to list. I think the scenery is some of the most beautiful anywhere in red rock country. I’ll wait for your directions to Druid Arch. :-))

  4. Love all the pictographs and petroglyphs! It’s so exciting to come upon them, even if you know they’ll be there.

    Needles district is amazing! It’s not a bad thing to “have to” return therefor a do over! Love all the colors and shapes and textures and obstacles.

  5. No excuse needed to go back and hike in that area! We loved the Chesler Park hike and would like to go back and find Druid arch.

  6. Gerri & Mike says:

    Ahhh, a wonderful reason to return!!
    What a magnificent place!! I just love Cody…what a terrific little hiker!!

  7. pmbweaver says:

    Fremont Indian Art has so much detail. I can actually read a story from the wall.
    We love the Needles district. The scenery is just magnificent. We got caught in a huge rain storm there. That slippery rock got its name honestly. Your photos are awesome.

  8. LuAnn says:

    Can’t wait to spend some time here in the fall. The scenery is breathtaking!

  9. Gay says:

    Awesome part 1! Love the needles and mushrooms and narrow slots. I know next year you will find Druid Arch.

  10. girlonahike says:

    Hunter Canyon has been on my list for awhile! Never heard of Sego Canyon – adding that one to my never-ending list in the Moab area.

    Alicia @

  11. Those mushrooms are amazing and Cody too cute.

  12. geogypsy2u says:

    More amazing hikes to add to the list. My dog used to use my shade like Cody. Bill and I only got as far as the Elephant Hill trailhead. So much to see, so little time.

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