Canyonlands National Park

Written by on March 27, 2015 in UT Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Canyonlands National Park

Surrounding the confluence of the Green River and the Colorado River in Southern Utah is a mesmerizing stretch of remote wilderness called Canyonlands National Park. With more than 527 square miles, the park is huge and encompasses the two canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers. Wind and water (mostly water) have carved the amazing canyons and rock formations throughout the park. The rivers divide the park into three districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles District, and the Maze.
Island in the Sky
At 5,000 – 6,000 feet above sea level, the Island in the Sky is an immense plateau that overlooks the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. If you don’t have a head for heights, this is not the place for you. But if you are looking for a vertigo rush, standing at GrandView Point and overlooking the confluence of the rivers can be a very heady and uplifting experience. Distant mountain tops brush the clouds … winds whistles through lonely rock outcrops … and you can see forever!

The Needles District
Prepare yourself for a weird range of bizarre rock formations when you visit the Needles District. Strange shapes hump and hover over you as you drive or hike this area. In some cases, it is an uneasy experience giving you an eerie feeling that the rocks are looming over you or even watching you. And yet the beauty of the area is stunning. Ancient peoples made this place home. You will find an amazing array of petroglyphs and pictographs (like Newspaper Rock) in this area, as well as a granary where ancestral Puebloans stored their corn.

The Maze
The most remote and hardest to get to area of the park, the Maze hides some of the most astonishing Native American Indian ruins in the desert southwest. The Holy Ghost is perhaps the most famous petroglyph in the area, with larger than human size figures carved into a sheltered canyon wall. Created by water runoff, the Maze is a confusing area of inner-connecting canyons, washes, small streams and dry creek beds. If you can handle the long hikes (5-10 miles) to get in and back, the Maze is well worth the visit.

Things to Know
Located just south of Moab, Utah, visitors to the area have a wide range of hotels in Moab, or they can choose to camping in the park

Sudden summer storms miles away can cause dry washes and creeks to flood unexpectedly, so always check the weather before you head out on a hike. The entire park is located in high desert, so make sure you carry more water than you think you need. The intense sun and dry terrain will dehydrate you very quickly. Colorado slick rock is well named. Even dry it can be slippery, but when wet, staying on your feet can be a real challenge. Don’t take chances and stay away from sharp drops!

Other attractions in the area include:
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah
Natural Bridges National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument

Canyonlands National Park
2282 SW Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532
Visitor Information: 435-719-2313
Backcountry Information: 435-259-4351

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