Click the photos to enlarge
I could tell from the views of the rock formations above the parking lot, this was going to be a good hike with some incredible views.
From the trailhead you start off in dense desert foliage. This is also the trailhead for Bluff Springs, the Cave Trail and the Dutchman's Trail.
As we climbed the trail became very rocky
As we got higher in the canyon there were great views behind
The hike to Fremont Saddle is only about 2.4 miles however with the 1300 ft elevation change, the trail seemed much longer. We continued to climbed and climbed and climbed with some well needed rest periods for water and to take in the views from a higher level.
Geronimo's Cave(that's what it's called)
Just beyond the large rocks above is Fremont Saddle
Great view of rock formations
Hoodoo's are rock formations that started as lava tubes. Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and "broken" lands. Hoodoos are most commonly found in the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau and in the Badlands regions of the Northern Great Plains. Hoodoos are formed by two weathering processes that continuously work together in eroding the edges of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The primary weathering force is frost wedging. In the winter, water seeps into the cracks and freezes at night. When water freezes it expands by almost 10%, bit by bit prying open cracks, making them ever wider in the same way a pothole forms in a paved road.
Photos do not do this formation justice. This is something you have to see in person. The vastness of the surrounding valley below and the layers of mountains in the distance. It is indescribable. Here are some additional views of the Needle. We were sitting at about 3800 feet and the top of the Needle is about 4500 feet.
Needle and valley below
Needle and Lone Pine tree
We continued our hike to an area about another 1/2 mile further out on the ridge to the lone pine tree.
We had some lunch on the ridge by the pine tree which gave us some additional closer views of the Needle.
Obligatory photo op
A fun photo - I touched the Needle
We had some rain yesterday and with the increased humidity there were some low clouds in the mountains.
After about an hour of admiring the scenery, the Needle and the surrounding mountains, we headed back down Peralta Canyon. I actually think the descent was worse than the ascent. Stepping down on the rocks and trail there was quite a jarring of the joints. We continued to be amazed by the views and the trail.
Two final views
I was tired and my feet and legs were sore but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face at what I was able to witness. I have fallen in love with the desert and the surrounding mountains. This is a new favorite place. Can't wait to see what hikes the club will decide to do next week. I will certainly let you know. Thanks for following along.
Total hike distance 6.5 miles
Total elevation gain 1300 feet