Canyonlands National Park is a dream-come-true for hikers who love the high desert wilderness. The park is a maze of canyons, gorges, mesas and other geological formations. These hikes aren’t as easy as going through a wooded park, but for families who like a challenge the difficulty is half the fun!
The canyon walls show a great deal of classic sandstone banding that is so common in rock formations around Utah. It always makes for great photos, especially if you catch the right light at sunset.
The park is divided into 3 sections. The Island in the Sky district is the only one easily accessible by vehicle. The Needles and Maze districts are both much more rugged and remote with few paved roads. Most visitors say that you should allow yourself at least 3 days, but you can easily fill a week or more without seeing the same scenery twice.
Scenic overlooks throughout the park provide stunning overhead views of the canyons below and offer spectacular spots for photos. The Schaeffer Trail overlook and Grand View Point are two our favorites. Grand View Point is just off the road that goes through the Island in the Sky. Follow the trail to the rim and walk along it for a for the very best views.
Whether you stick with the easier trails, or plunge onward through the distant mesas, you’ll have a great choice of routes. All three districts have marked and mapped trails so you can navigate this huge park without being completely lost.
And don’t think that Canyonlands is all dry stone and desert. Both the Colorado and Green Rivers run right through the park, begging to be explored. You can take it easy with a peaceful float or experience the thrill of big-water rafting. Sound interesting? We’ll get you a seat on the right boat.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once had a hideout in the Maze area of the park.