"Kimberlyann's Canyonlands National Park, Utah" Top 5 Page for this destination Canyonlands National Park by KimberlyAnn

Canyonlands National Park Travel Guide: 212 reviews and 517 photos

Canyonlands National Park is divided into three distinct sections, of which we visited two, The Needles and Island In the Sky. Elevations in Canyonlands range from 3,720 feet to 6,987 feet, with the highest elevation found in the Needles district. Canyonlands is a very dry area with an average rainfall of only 8 inches, and very hot summers. For this reason very few trees grow here. Even so, along some of our hikes we would come upon beautiful little patches of vegetation that formed mini-gardens with a variety of plants growing in such a picturesque manner as to look as though the best horticultural planners in the world had laid them out. This park contains multicolored deeply eroded canyons, arches, sheer-sided mesas, sandstone pillars, red and white banded towers, domes, and unusual rock formations. The Colorado and Green rivers join within the park and continue in a series of white rapids through the Cataract Canyon. It is these rivers that divide the park into its three distinct sections. Most of the park is wilderness, but Canyonlands does have paved roads in several scenic areas of the Needles and Island In the Sky districts. In the remote Maze District, which we did not visit, you will find that high clearance vehicles are necessary, with four-wheel-drive vehicles needed for most roads in the Maze. All three sections offer a variety of ways for the lover of the outdoors to explore the park. Hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, horse travel, canoe, kayak, whitewater rafting, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are all ways that people explore this park. Permits for backcountry camping must be obtained at the ranger station, visitor center, or by mail. River trips that include overnights are also allowed by permit only. These must be gotten from the national park office in Moab or by mail 2 weeks in advance. You will also find that there are many local guided jeep, air, and river tours offered, many of these may be found in Moab. Be aware, however, that in the winter many of these business are not in operation.

Hikes in Canyonlands Island In the Sky

At the top of a butte along the Aztec Butte trail you will see a pair of almost twin Ancestral Puebloan Granaries that are in excellent condition. My husband took this photo of me by one of these granaries.

After you reach the arch along Mesa Trail, look below you to a lower level. There you will see Washerwoman Arch, which looks like a woman doing hand laundry. I took this photo with a 300mm zoom lens.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:If you love outdoor activities, canyons, and beautiful rock formations this is the park for you.
  • Cons:Extremely hot in the summer making many outdoor activities uncomfortable and dangerous.
  • In a nutshell:If you don't have to have trees, and you love the beauty of spectacular canyons and interesting rock formations, and don't have to take your vacation in the middle of the summer, don't miss Canyonlands.
  • Last visit to Canyonlands National Park: Jan 1999
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (18)

Comments (11)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Apr 13, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Thank you for such informative tips! I am heading that way this September and it's great to have soemone that shares such information.

  • Mar 1, 2008 at 7:03 PM

    Great picture! volopolo

  • maysue's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2006 at 5:23 PM

    Love the view! Wish I was there!

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2006 at 9:15 AM

    Spectacular scenery, Thanks for a very informative page.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2006 at 7:05 PM

    Anne, this is a very impression page with volumes of valuable information and stunning photographs.

  • Shihar's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2006 at 4:06 PM

    I really enjoyed your Canyonlands pages!

  • frank_delargy's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2005 at 3:49 PM

    Hi Anne, We missed Canyonlands on our last trip. Next time, it will be on the itinerary. Great pix and tips. We spent a week just upriver from Cody a few years back. We did enjoy your town! ciao, Frank

  • Agraichen's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2004 at 9:32 PM

    Oh wow....I think you just convinced me to bypass Bryce Canyon for my next photo shoot.

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2004 at 1:41 PM

    Great info! You went in winter, it must be really nice with less tourists than when i went this Sept. I hiked the Slick Rock trail too!

  • windsorgirl's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2004 at 11:10 AM

    Thanks to you, my custom travel guide is FULL!! Wonderful photos and tips here, keep up the good work.


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