Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Canyonlands - Utah

Canyonlands is a very interesting park and is divided into two parts. The two sections do not connect so to see both sides you have to go to each end entrance.  We did not know that as we passed the first entrance and had thought we could drive through the park or we would have stopped.  This park is a wilderness of rock along the Colorado Plateau with canyons cut through it by the Colorado and Green Rivers.  The entire park is still very primitive with many roads unpaved and the trails for the most part unexplored. 

The section that we went to was the Island in the Sky which is just north of Moab.  The other sections called The Needles,  entrance is in Monticello, Utah. 

Exploring Canyonlands, either section, can be done by vehicle and/or 2 wheel vehicle on the paved road that has designated overlook spots and picnic areas.  If hiking and/or wheeling is your choice that can be done daily or you can get a permit and primitive camp in the area.  Exploring the White Rim Road is 100 miles and it is said it will take about two days.  There is also commercial tours that you can take on 4 wheel or boat (in town) at all cost and style.  We chose to take our own vehicle and see what we could . .



Our first stop was at Shafer Canyon Overlook:




The hike to the overlook was about a quarter of a mile and was really a neat hike that leads to a promontory above the canyon.  From the edge of the promontory you can see the trails for the 4 wheels and the 1400 feet drop into the canyon. 


The hiking trail to the overlook





             Initial view into the canyon




View of  the 4 wheelers trail




Our next stop was at Mesa Arch; here is a half-mile hike through some interesting landscaping from wildflowers to juniper woodlands to slate rock. 










The arch frames some great views of what is knows as Washer Woman  and the LaSal Mountains.







From here we went to the Green River Overlook:







Lunch time so we found the picnic area and relaxed.  One of the things we love to do is to look at the mountains and find a cave that we could live in and there were lots around us here.  Which would be your choice??






We decided to head back as there were other things we wanted to do and we only had a day left before heading to Colorado – it was a fun time and next time we are headed to The Needles section.