Canyonlands National Park / The Needles

In the remote Utah backcountry, lies a magical world of canyons, mesas, and buttes called Canyonlands National Park We will be backpacking one of the finest and most sought out districts of this colorful park called The Needles. The Needles can be challenging, so this trip is not for the sedentary. However with the challenge comes great rewards like ancient petroglyphs, colossal sandstone arches, turn-of-the-century ranches, and various other canyons and natural bridges, not to mention lizards, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and possibly even black bear.

As the winter dies down, why not celebrate the arrival of spring and get a jump on your summer fitness by joining this trip?


The Canyonlands National Park Fitpacking Trip will be from April 6-14, 2013. Here is the proposed itinerary.

Our trek begins from the high point of the trek, Cathedral Butte, an enormous monolithic presence. It ends with a Jet Boat ride on the Colorado River up to Moab. In between, we'll hike along beautiful canyons and incredible mesas with unobstructed views.


The trails through Canyonlands National Park are often unbelievably easy and enjoyable to hike, especially within the level, sandy-bottomed canyons or on the flat, rocky, view-laden mesas. It's pure hiking pleasure.

Water will be scarce at times, so towards the end of the trip we will carry about 2 gallons (16 pounds) of water in our packs.

The rewards are many. Our mileage will be kept below 10 miles per day, often on well marked trails and canyons whose sky high walls prevent any wrong turns, and occasionally on 4x4 roads. In April, the days are rapidly getting longer, which means longer days to enjoy the deserts and the sunsets.


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 90 and as low as 30, with an occasional chance of rainfall and on rare occasion, snowfall. Here is the historical April weather Be prepared with lots of sun protection and water containers that add up to 8 liters of capacity.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg, lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and Certified Food Handler.

Deb Lusk, lives in Phoenix, AZ and has hiked all over the Arizona Desert. She had guided Fitpacking trips all over the country is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder and a Certified Food Handler.

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring. The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from Traverse Outfitters, Lower Gear or Outdoors Geek. It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to discuss any gear with us before the trip.


We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the sample menus. This list is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it over 40 miles through the Utah wilderness, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer nutritious food.


$1250 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights, although on this trip, we will be staying in a guest house at the front end of the trip, so it's not exactly double occupancy. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Moab (CNY), personal equipment and any restaurant meals eaten off the trail.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, Round Trip transportation from Moab to the National Park, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, National Park permits, insurance, satellite phone, and awesome guides.