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Detour to The Needles

Sydney, Australia
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Detour to The Needles

Do we detour to the Needles for a brief look on our way to Moab after visiting Mesa Verde on the same day?

I had deleted Needles from our itinerary as I thought it would be too much to do in one day.

We are traveling in early April so are limited in what is open in MV. If we left Cortez by 1pm would we have enough time to hike Pothole Point and Slickrock Trail?

We are used to long drives(we drove 13,000kms in 33days on our last holiday down under) and long days. If we wanted to take it easy we would stay at home.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Detour to The Needles

I would plan on getting to Mesa Verde by 8am. That way you can see Spruce Tree house, the Mesa Top Ruins Road sites and Farview Ruin before you leave for UT. Cliff Palace tours usually open in early April, check www.nps.gov/meve later this year for the 2009 schedule. If you arrive after that, I would make sure to see that cliff dwelling.

I enjoyed the Needles Section of Canyonlands more than Island in the Sky. Also visit Newspaper Rock State Park on the way in.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Detour to The Needles

Best plan is do not plan. See Mesa Verde as long as you wish and see if you've time left for The Needles. If not, come back another time. Rushing through these NP's won't help. For only scratching the surface you would need 2-3 hours for The Needles.

You can't compare the views from Island in the Sky to the lower elevated beauties at The Needles imo.

Tet

NJ
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3. Re: Detour to The Needles

Tet gave a great suggestion. Each person is different in terms of what they enjoy and how much time spent doing any one thing. Put Mesa Verde in and have a plan B on standby for the Needles if you have time for it.

My mom and I spent eleven hours in Mesa Verde on one day and six hours in the Needles when were were there on another day. We did a few of the shorter hikes in the Needles. If just doing the drive along the road in the Needles - stopping at some of the overlooks, it can be managed in a shorter time period.

Getting in and out of Mesa Verde - Keep in mind that it takes longer than the mileage would generally dictate due to the mountainous curves and necessary lower speeds.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Detour to The Needles

"If we wanted to take it easy we would stay at home."

Now that's the attitude I like! Plus, if you don't have the chance to go to a place too many times, taking it easy is not the best available option.

On the other hand, Needles require at least one day. I hiked exactly the two short hikes you mentioned (Pothole Point and Slickrock Trail) and I don't think they are worth the time. To really enjoy the Needles, I suggest Chesler Park Loop / Joint Trail. Even if you decide to get there for half a day, hiking toward Chesler Park (and the same way back when you run out of time) is way more rewarding than Potholes or Slickrock. Happy hiking!

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Detour to The Needles

"Home" is not always easy-lol-

nyc
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6. Re: Detour to The Needles

Have to agree with mgnelu on the best way to see Needles. How long do you have in Moab? Can you spare some time from that part of the trip?

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Detour to The Needles

Unfortunately we are really pushing it to see everything we want to now. We have approximately 1 1/2 days to see Arches, Canyonlands -Island in the sky and Dead horse point. I don't remember reading about the other hike mentioned by one of the other posters when I was on the Canyonlands website. The only way to spend more time in this area is to delete Mesa Verde completely and stay at Monticello instead.

Hubby is reluctant to do any strenuous walks. Refuses to do Angels in Zion. I don't like my chance to do a mule hike in Bryce (he has to loose 16 kilos). I want both of us to enjoy the trip.

PS. I doubt we will get to this area again. The original plan was for me to go to Europe but we picked up flights for less than we paid in 1990, too good to pass up at that price.

I had originally planned to fly into Denver and head north to Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone but information on TA suggested we would strike problems with the weather/parks being closed in April. This itinerary was the next plan.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Detour to The Needles

Just take your time for Mesa Verde. It's the only NP with man made construction in the USA. We also only visited The Needles after many other trips and dedicate your time for Island in the Sky, Dead Horse Point and esp. Arches. You can see a lot of places without long hikes also in Arches and the walk to Delicate Arch also is too strenuous for me so I'm with your husband and also has to lose 16 kilos (for our US readers, that's 35 pounds-lol-) and yes, those 1990 flights were more expensive!

Tet

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Detour to The Needles

"We have approximately 1 1/2 days to see Arches, Canyonlands -Island in the sky and Dead horse point."

This feels like too much for 1.5 days. I never plan less than one Park/day - otherwise I would spend valuable day time driving between parks.

Regarding Arches, my feeling is that you don't have any bragging rights if you don't see the Delicate Arch at Sunset. That's the absolute highlight of the park. But you (and your husband) have to be comfortable with your vacation plan.

Our taste may differ, so I cannot tell you don't go to Mesa Verde, go to Needles (my favorite among all the National Parks I visited) instead.

Washington DC...
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10. Re: Detour to The Needles

Tet, I just realized that what I wrote may seem offensive to you - it was only meant to show julieo63 how important is to go see the Delicate Arch at sunset.

julieo63, this is a link to a short description of Chesler Park Loop / Joint Trail (google "Chesler Park" for pictures):

nps.gov/cany/…needleslonghikes.htm

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