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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Two Canyonlands National Parks

Canyonlands National Park is very large and comprises of at least two different parks.  For the most of us who come to the Moab, Utah area want to see the two National Parks that are in the area.  They are Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Most that visit Canyonlands visit the northern part called Island In The Sky.  It’s a Mesa that most of us go to overlooks and gaze out at the canyons below.  Some take 4x4 tours or take their own SUV down the side of the Mesa and travel along the lower canyon rim.

The other half of Canyonlands is much further South and is called “Needles”.  One could argue there is a third Canyonlands in the far western portion where backcountry hikes requiring permits give those that go vistas of the Colorado River that meanders through the park.

Above is the northern portion (Island in the Sky) of the Canyonlands National Park.  Below are a couple photos of this section of the park that is most visited.  Until this year I have been to this part of the park a number of times.

The picture above is the road along the rim of Canyonlands that descends to a road that transgresses the “Island” on 3 sides.  It’s an adventure for some number who choose to take this back county trip camp on the canyon rim below.

Above the picture shows the canyons below the Island in the Sky Mesa from Grand View.  A close look you can see the road I mentioned above as it moves along under the Grand View and the rim of the canyon that looks like a three fingered hand.

The Island In The Sky is so high that vistas abound.

The less visited Needles area to the south is totally different, putting you into the canyons to the south of Grand View.  This is the first time I’ve visited this section and I want to say it’s a gem to see.  With the northern part of the park is mostly overlooks and although fantastic, the southern part of the park is more hands on.

Here you look up to canyon rims.

Get to view wonderful rock formations left behind from the great drainage of the Colorado River.  This southern area is noted for its vertical rock climbing too.

Above is how the ridge of needle rock formation occurred.

Here at a distance are the Needles.  Hikes in the southern part of Canyonlands are great opportunities to walk into geological history.

There is also history of the Native Americans and early exploration and settlers.

The road to Anticline to the East of Canyonlands is a Great Road to view both the north and South sections of Canyonlands.  

This BLM Land That this road is on offers views that can tie the distant views to the north to the far reaches of the south of the park.

It offered me views of wildlife.

Having to wait for free range cattle to get out of the road.

Camping with excellent 180 degree views.

Of course views of the Colorado River transgressing the Park in two.

From Anticline the view to the La Salle Mountains to the east provided me with an excellent photo of a cold snow covered mountain with some unique cloud formations.

I encourage visitors to Canyonlands to try to take the time to see it all.  My past visits to the Island in the Sky were memorable, but it’s a very large National Park with a lot more to see in the southern Needles section.


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