The Indian Creek Corridor Scenic Byway takes you along SR-211 … starting 14 miles north of Monticello … west to Newspaper Rock Recreation Site … and ends at The Needles section of Canyonlands National Park.
The Needles is in the southeast corner of the park. It's not difficult to see where the Needles got its name. Countless spires everywhere. Narrow valleys. And rugged canyons. An easy place to get lost in.
Pinyon and juniper trees dot the landscape. And rainfall is a rare commodity. Wildlife is even more rare in this stark environment.
Early surveying of The Needles was done from the air. And not until the 1950’s. Major features discovered from the air became targets for further exploration by four-wheel drive vehicles. Arches and archaeological sites were identified and mapped out.
The byway initially takes you through high sagebrush-covered plains. But it soon descends sharply down through a series of tight turns to Indian Creek.
You’ll see the pull-off to the Newspaper Rock Recreation Site at this point. Newspaper Rock is a 50-foot high wall of rock covered with petroglyphs from numerous ancient cultures.
The Indian Creek Corridor Scenic Byway then passes through spectacular Indian Creek Canyon. These soaring red rock walls are a favorite playground for rock climbers. The road then passes by the Dugout Ranch … one of the first cattle ranches in the area. And biggest.
After another 12 or so miles, you’ll reach the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. So rugged and seemingly impossible to enter. And so easy to get lost in. Cairns … piles of rocks … mark the trails guiding you through this bewildering landscape.
The byway is 18 miles one way. And you have to drive in and out. Plan on about 2 hours for the whole drive. And a lot more if you plan to stop and see the sites along the Indian Creek Utah byway.