Joint Trail

Walk and scramble through a deep crevice in the rocks surrounding Chesler Park.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
4.8 km
Ascent
171 m
Descent
171 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
1.7 km
Gradient
Joint Trail Map

This trail is named for a geologic feature called a joint, which is a slot between chunks of rock that have split apart. On the Joint Trail, you’ll walk a thin hallway on a floor of soft sand, squeezed between towering walls that are barely shoulder-width apart. It’s one of the most unique places in Canyonlands, so you won’t want to miss a chance to see it.

Description

Joint Trail itself is a short and fairly easy hike, but it isn’t easy to get to. One option is a long 4WD road that reaches the Joint Trailhead. The other option is starting from the other end of Joint Trail, reached by hiking into Chesler Park. That is the direction described here, and it makes a simple addition to the Chesler Park Loop.

In Chesler Park, the trail crosses broad sagebrush meadow and a sandy wash, then meanders along slickrock slopes for a little while, before turning to enter a conspicuous crevice. This is the joint. Inside the slot, you’ll tunnel directly through the sandstone hill, in alternating narrower and wider passages, always with just a sliver of sky overhead. It’s always dark and cool between the rocks, but not so dark to require a headlamp during the day. Some sections require light rock scrambling, where hands may be required for stability.

Emerging from the slot, the trail enters a broader canyon full of rounded rock towers, trending downhill to eventually meet the trailhead at the 4WD road, where there are picnic tables and a pit toilet. Continuing along the road can actually make a longer variation of the Chesler Park Loop, in case you want to extend the journey. Otherwise, return the way you came through the joint.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/hiking.htm https://liveandlethike.com/2015/03/18/chesler-park-loop-trail-including-joint-trail-canyonlands-national-park-ut/ https://utahscanyoncountry.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/chesler-park-joint-trail-loop-canyonland-national-park-needles-district/

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area