01. January 2015 · Comments Off on Utah Discoveries 5: Canyonlands National Park · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Canyonlands National Park is incredibly underrated. Much of the park is accessible only via hiking, biking, rafting/kayaking, or 4-wheel drive.

Canyonlands National Park is incredibly underrated. Much of the park is accessible only via hiking, biking, rafting/kayaking, or 4-wheel drive.

Just a few miles up the road from Arches National Park is a turnoff that takes you about 25 miles to the northern entrance of Canyonlands National Park¬†(the Island in the Sky District). This park offers a completely different look at Utah’s wilderness, with the Green and Colorado Rivers traversing throughout.

This park is very underrated, in that it’s not well-advertised so their visitorship is lower. Many of the park’s visitors are the more adventurous types who enjoy the backcountry exploration. There are many other national parks in Utah that get more attention, such as Zion and Bryce Canyon, but this one is close enough to Arches that we were able to drive over there easily.

The park is divided into several distinct portions. The Island in the Sky District is further north and more easily accessible from the city of Moab. The Needles District part of the park is accessed further south, and you cannot connect with the Island in the Sky area with a regular motorized vehicle (you can hike or 4WD between the two). Finally, the Maze District is to the west of Island in the Sky and the Needles, west of the Green and Colorado Rivers. We took an afternoon drive through the park; Dave and I enjoyed the views immensely, while the boys were admittedly growing tired of the continued views of western geology. We took advantage of numerous scenic overlooks, but the weather was quite warm.

We started at the Island in the Sky Visitors Center:

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Timmy was happy to learn something new at the Visitor Center, Jacob was not. Jacob was ready to go home.

 

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This Visitor Center isn’t nearly as glamorous at the one at the Grand Canyon, or even Arches. Nonetheless, the rangers were still friendly, knowledge, and held many programs for the kids.

After the Visitor Center, we took a drive around the park. We enjoyed the numerous views of the Colorado River and the White Rim Road, although we were lamenting that there was no graceful way for us to see the other districts on our last day in Utah.

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Our view of the Colorado River (which is nearly dry.) The White Rim Road is visible at the bottom edge of this photo.

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Can you see the rainshowers way off towards the horizon?

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We found a (very) short trail to enjoy some more views of the White Rim Road. Way off in the distance are the La Sal Mountains, near the Utah/Colorado border.

 

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Proof positive that Jacob is our “careful” kid. He slowly crept towards the edge of the cliff.