The Druid Arch hike in Canyonlands is a hidden gem and incredible high desert adventure off-the-beaten-path. Located in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, the trail to Druid Arch will take you through sandstone, slick rock, sandy wash bottoms, and canyon country with some rock scrambling and a small ladder climb towards the end. Being 2 ½ hours south southeast of Moab off the typical beaten path makes the trek to Druid Arch a hidden gem of Canyonlands National Park. Continue reading for all the details on the Druid Arch hike through Canyonlands Needles backcountry.
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The Druid Arch trail is located in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The trailhead is located near Monticello, Utah, in the Chesler Park area. From Moab, Chesler Park is about 2 ½ hours south southeast to another Canyonlands National Park entrance.
The Druid Arch trail is touted as one of the best areas to see the Needles rock formations.
In the beginning, the trail to Druid Arch follows the Chesler Park trail. Then it branches to follow Elephant Canyon. The trail is well marked with rock cairns. Keep your eyes peeled to make sure you’re on the right path. You’ll be hiking through sandy bottoms and washes. The last ¼-mile, there is rock scrambling as well as a ladder to reach the famed arch.
Cell phone reception is hit and miss in this area.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather. You will be hiking in washes. Southeast Utah is prone to flash floods. Always have an out for higher ground. Be aware and mindful as you trek along and through beautiful sandy washes.
We recommend starting as early as possible hiking to Druid Arch. This hike is roughly 11 miles round trip; it will take a good 5-7 hours to trek. In the summer, the earlier you start, the better to beat the desert heat.
Ahhhh… nothing better than starting an early morning hike in the desert…
You can hike to Druid Arch year-round. In the spring, you’ll want to watch out for muddy conditions after snowmelt and rainstorms.
During the summer, you’ll want to begin hiking as early as possible to beat the heat.
Also be gnat aware. Gnats can be full force in Utah during the late spring through the summer.
The fall is a great time to hike. We hiked during September, and it was absolutely lovely. Our favorite time of year to wander in the desert is in the spring and fall. The mornings are cooler, making for fantastic hiking conditions.
In the winter, you’ll enjoy the hike if there isn’t much snow. If it is wet and icy, you might not be too excited about rock scrambling and the ladder at the end.
The ladder at the end is so fun!
Spending time in the desert is near and dear to us. Please check out our page with more information and resources on practicing environmental stewardship in the backcountry and protecting precious biological soil crust.
Check out these insanely fun outdoor things to do during your trip to Moab or this 3-day adventure guide for exploring in Moab.
Hiking in the southeast Utah desert is truly magical. We hope you have a wonderful time.
We hope this article inspires you to find a new adventure outdoors!
Ashlee & Pablo
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Check out our other articles on exploring Utah National Parks and the Southwest!
Are you planning to hike to Druid Arch?
If you already hiked, let us know what you thought!
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!