Blogs from Canyonlands National Park, Utah, United States, North America - page 4

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After we got back on the hard surface road we drove a short distance to Canyonlands National Park, also known as the Island in the Sky. Again the scenery was unreal.... read more
Canyonland National Park
Canyonland National Park
Canyonland National Park


Unexpected rain held Stefan and I in Moab for longer than planned, leaving us little time to explore this national park. Nevertheless, Canyonlands provided me with the most challenging and rewarding hiking day so far, a great chance to test my endurance on rough terrain. Island in the Sky, the north part of the park, is a broad mesa at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, split from the Maze and the Needles by two canyons carved by the Green and Colorado rivers. The view from here stretches across canyon after canyon to the horizon 100 miles distant. This is an area of arid soil where water and gravity have been the prime architects cutting flat layers of sedimentary rock into hundreds of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires. I had an action-packed day starting ... read more
Canyon Views
Buck Mesa
Approaching a Steep Descent


Trip to Utah was planned two or more months back! This was the Memorial Day weekend and we wanted to make a longer trip rather than usual weekend activities in California. We flew to Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday night; rented a Hummer 3 from the airport and drove south to Moab, UT. Utah is very famous for its national parks and desert. There are 4-5 national parks featuring red canyons. Canyonlands can be thought as a national park from the same family as Grand Canyon. Colorado River is the same primary reason for its formation. Moab is a small town near Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, 4 hours drive from Salt Lake City. We had a two-night reservation at Moab Valley Inn. We reached there around 2am and crashed. Next morning, we ... read more
Shafer Trail
Colorado River
Musselman Arch


Distance: 8.5 miles Difficulty: moderate-difficult For our second day in the Moab area, my dad and I headed down to the more remote Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This area had been recommended to me by a co-worker, and after seeing pictures from his trip, I was sold on visiting. The weather was warmer than the previous day, but we expected that and planned accordingly. We got an early start and made the roughly 75-mile drive from town to the entrance of this part of the park. As far as I’m concerned, this was the most memorable hike of the trip, and I look forward to going back in the near future. Canyonlands National Park is split into three main sections or “districts” by the Colorado and Green Rivers. To the north is the Island ... read more
Spring flowers along the steep climb from the Elephant Hill trailhead
The trail winds its way through several rows of Needles on the way to Chesler Park
A smaller canyon comes into view just after the initial leveling off from the trailhead


After 10 days in Utah and a few nights in the scum of Vegas, I depart again into the desert solo. I don't have time to write now, but I did throw a few photos online. Photos... read more


With clouds covering most of the sky, our sunset shoot in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park doesn’t look too promising. But, the views from the overlooks , especially Grand View Point, make the drive worth it. At one stop, we peer over the edge to see a road that winds sharply up the plateau. Alan asks, “If we come back with the jeep, will you take that drive with me?” My reply, “Sure, I’ll just keep my eyes closed.” We take a trail that leads out onto a peninsula of land jutting over the canyon. I walk straight down the middle, venturing slowly to each side for picture taking until my shaky knees force a retreat away from the edge. One of the group walks out to the end to get ... read more
Can you see the mountain that already has a cap of snow?
Practicing my creativity
One brave photographer


Today our photographic journey begins at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park . Of course that means we rise before dawn for the 45-minute drive from Moab into the Island in the Sky portion of the park. Once again, it’s dark when we take the short hike to our destination. Other photographers have arrived before us but there’s still room to set up tripods before the sun rises. Now, we must wait for the perfect shot. The early morning start is worth it. As the sun rises, it lights up the arch with a yellow-orange glow. Taking a shot of the distant rock formations through the colorful arch provides the classic photograph of Mesa Arch. After the sun rises, the group drives to the Green River overlook where nature has created a rugged land of canyons. ... read more
The petroglyphs have this view
Rock formations at Needles Overlook
The view through Mesa Arch


(It’s pretty difficult to do justice to the parks in these short entries, so I will try and include more photos below). And so to Arches National Park (21st September), the first in a series of natural attractions we will be seeing in the desert regions of Utah. Arches is probably the most famous of these, and it’s incredible landscape includes natural arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins and eroded monoliths. The terrain is mostly red sandstone, punctuated by old juniper trees and pinyon pine. It takes a good day to see the main sites, longer if you want to hike some of the many trails. The weather was hot but not unbearable, and we found a good campsite in Moab with the kind of facilities that you don’t find in the state parks (namely showers, ... read more
Joey at Doube Arch
Joey overlooking Canyon Lands
Canyon Lands view from Mesa Arch


Canyonlands National Park is a larger version of Dead Horse Point State Park with greater elevations and less the horse corral. According to the site americansouthwest.net:"Canyonlands National Park covers a vast area of rock wilderness in southeast Utah, centered around the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. Over millions of years, the rivers and their small tributaries have carved the flat sandstone rock layers into many amazing forms with a wide range of colors. The 530 square miles of the park contain countless canyons, arches, spires, buttes, mesas and a myriad of other spectacular rock formations." The Park is fairly new having only been designated in 1964. Until that time, it was relatively unvisited and unknown. Today, there are a few overlooks on long paved roads, but otherwise it's a park best viewed by 4x4 ... read more
Canyonlands #2
Canyonlands #8
Canyonlands #1


Another hot one in the desert. Today we let the kids go off schedule, and swim first then tour the park. We usually use swimming as a way of "motivating them" to do the things we want to do during the day, but today we were more flexible. It was good because it was hot already in the morning. Today was declared "sarong day", and Elise, Simone and I started the day off wearing sarongs. We decided to tour Canyonlands National Park today. Canyonlands is the largest National Park in Utah, but also is the least family friendly. It is a large Mesa, that came up out of the ground but was cut by two rivers and is divided up into three areas….Island in the Sky District, Needles district and the Maze. You can only travel ... read more
Ethan and Elise climbing at Canyonlands
Joe and Simone on the edge
Kids and Kerri at Canyonlands




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