Some travel destinations are easy. You pack; you go. All is so simple when you arrive. Take this advice from us: do your homework before you take a trip to Canyonlands National Park (Needles and Maze Districts).
There is no lodge, and the camping facilities in the park are very limited and fill up quickly. We saw a woman banging on the door of the Visitor Center in the late afternoon wanting to get a camping site. The visitor center had closed at 4:30pm, and she was frantic. We told her what we had learned about the two campgrounds outside the park, which are also small and limited. She raced off to snag one.
Many parks have small towns nearby, but not Canyonlands’ Needles or Maze Districts). So, there is no dashing outside the park to grab a restaurant meal and no internet cafes. This is a park that is best to arrive at fully provisioned.
Need a shower after a hot hike? None are available within the park.
Were we prepared? Well, we did have a reservation at a campground just outside the park. It was very hot and dusty, but the little campground store had showers and every day after a long hike we purchased popsicles for 50 cents each. We arrived at the park with a relatively full tank of gas and lots of food, so in that way, we were prepared for our four-day visit.
Canyonlands National Park (Needles and Maze Districts) is well worth a visit, but careful pre-planning – or lack of it – could make or break this trip.