Getting away from it all gets tougher all the time, so if you want a grand experience where canyons have fewer visitors and the graffiti goes back to over three thousand years, there is nothing like the awesome outback of Canyonlands National Park. Located about three miles from the Salt Lake City in the southeastern region of the US State of Utah, Canyonlands is a less crowded canyons park with high elevated desert and numerous fascinating rock formations. In the campgrounds of Canyonlands National Park, there is no water available. Canyonlands National Park is the largest park in the state of Utah covering more than five hundred square miles of land.
In the early 1950s, the supervisor of Arches National Park, Bates Wilson began exploring the wilderness in the southeastern region of Utah state. After discovering the Needles District filled with a breathtaking array of spire-shaped hoodoos and rock formations, Bate Wilson began advocating the Needles District to establish it as a national park. Soon after the years of exploration, the Green and Colorado rivers, the Maze District, and Horseshoe Canyon were discovered, and then in the year 1964, the region was established as the Canyonlands National Park by President Lyndon B. Johnson. However, the Bate Wilson is now referred as the Father of Canyonlands National Park.
Geography & Districts
Canyonlands is an immense wilderness of cliffs, mesas, and of course the longstanding canyons and buttes by the Colorado River and Green River.The park is filled with the stunning geological order; old rocks run to the bottom and newer ones are on the top. There is little folding of rock layers indicating that for millions of years the region has been quite stable. The Upheaval Dome is quite different, it is about three miles across, and it’s the place of dramatic disorder. In the center, the rocks are almost tilted almost vertically, some scientists think that this was caused by the thick far down salt layers that is being forced up and therefore bending the formations above. The topography of the park is shaped by the Colorado and Green Rivers, and itis separated by three different land districts, they are all primitive. Here, the Green and Colorado River divvy up the park into three separate sections: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. The districts are widely separated by monumental and fascinating natural features, thus there are no roads that directly link them. However, the Green and Colorado rivers are categorized as a separate water district, Visitors can spend a couple of week exploring each district:
- Island in the Sky: It is the most visited region in the Canyonlands National Park. The Island in the Sky is, in fact, a Mesa, that juts into Canyonlands. It is located about thirty miles or 40 minutes away from the town of Moab. The roads rise about two thousand feet to the top of the Island in the Sky which is about six thousand feet above the sea level. Despite its name, it’s isn’t quite the island but a narrow forty-two feet strip of land which connects to the main Mesa. Here, the road is well designed, while driving travelers won’t have a clue that they are rolling a few feet from one thousand feet drop. The sheer cliffs at the edge of the Mesa provides spectacular views at several points. Here, the top attraction is the Green River Bench, it’s made of much harder rock formations than the darker formations above. Near the lower cliff’s edge, the light rock almost looks like a beach, as in fact about hundreds of million years ago it was. At the end of the Island, the viewpoint is appropriately known as the Grand View, on a clear day, visitors can see more than hundred-mile in almost any direction.
- The Needles District: The Needles District is about eighty miles from the southeast Moab town. Here, the hiking trails are the main attractions for visitors, it’s a place to enjoy the picturesque hiking trails to the middle of nowhere while being somewhere incredible. It is filled with spire shaped massive Mesas, and it was all at the bottom of the ocean about several million years ago. It houses more than one hundred miles of scenic trails, as well as it’s a paradise for 4-wheel drive fanatics.
- The Maze District: The Maze District is even more remote than any other district of the Canyonlands National Park. It is located about one hundred and thirty miles from the town of Moab. Here, the roads are only 4×4 vehicle rough trails visitors need a great deal of self-reliance and skill to assure the survival if anything goes wrong here. The trails are primitive, as well as the access is quite limited since nature didn’t have visitors in the mind when it formed all this. It is filled with a wide-spreading array of canyons and breathtaking unique Mesas.
Recreation & Wildlife
Canyonlands National Park is one of the most well-known recreational destinations in the state. About half a million visitors from all around the globe explore the park, yearly. Due to the suitable geography of the park, it offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities for the visitors including hiking, mountain biking, nature exploring, camping, picnicking, rafting, and similar. Between the Island of the Sky district and rivers, the White Rim Road winds through the breathtaking White Rim Sandstone, which is a massive geological formation and one of the most awe-inspiring attractions in the Canyonlands.Visitors enjoy the rafting and kayaking experience at the calm stretches of Green and Colorado River. However, the park is home to numerous mammal species including the black bears, coyotes, elk, foxes, bobcats, badgers, and few others. The most commonly seen animals are the herd of elks, mule deer, cottontails, hawk, bald eagle, and several species of lizards. Canyonlands National Park also houses three different amphibian species ranging from red-spotted toad to Wood house’s toad, American bullfrog, leopard frog, Great Basin spadefoot toad, tiger salamander, as well as the canyon tree frog.
Since the June 1965, the Canyonlands National Park Services have stationed two major weather cooperative stations. The park receives about ten inches of annual rainfall with quite warm and dry summer season whereas the winter season receive quite a little of snowfall and the weather remains mostly wet in winters. The lowest temperature in Canyonlands National Park is recorded in the month January as −6.3 °C, and as high as 41 °C in the month of July. However, in the year 1989, the lowest temperature ever recorded was −25 °C with an annual perception of 230 mm. Since the weather remains wet in mid-winters and high in the mid-summer, the number of visitors exploring the parks remains quite low.
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is known for its spectacular immense views of distant landscapes. However, with the signature view of sunset and sunrise at the Island in the Sky, there is a famous attraction called the Mesa Arch. It’s the most well-known and visited attraction located about a quarter mile from the Main Road. On a cloudy late afternoon, it may not look much special but at sunrise and sunset, it’s stunning. Hundreds of people gather around this spot, most before sunrise, they are all trying to squeeze into the same spot and some will make it. Here, the crowd is quite international since the breathtaking views of the of sun touching the horizon of the Canyonlands National Park are quite fascinating. An hour or so after the sunrise, the crowds are gone, and Mesa Arch become one of the rare places with the sounds of silence and visitors can hear themselves blink here. The views at the Canyonlands National Park are evocative, they draw the visitors into the landscapes.