Canyonlands National Park Things to Do Tips by Ischyros
Canyonlands National Park Things to Do: 141 reviews and 275 photos
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands is a rare granite arch. Perched at the edge of a cliff, the arch frames beautiful photographs of the La Sal Mountains in the distance. The trail to the arch is a short half mile loop trip and is an easy walk.
Directions: Located near the main park road's intersection with the road to Upheaval Dome. The trailhead is marked and is on the left side of the road.
The Aztec Butte trail in Canyonlands takes you past several Anasazi graineries and to the top of a giant butte. This hike is not for hikers with a fear of heights but the view from the top is unbelieveable!
Directions: From the main park road in the Island in the Sky district, take a right turn toward Upheaval Dome. Aztec Butte is on the right side of the road with a small signed parking area at the trailhead.
Dead Horse Point State Park
The Dead Horse Point Overlook is another often photographed spot! This area is often considered part of Canyonlands but is actually part of Dead Horse Point State Park. The legend behind Dead Horse Point is almost as interesting as the view of the Colorado River! Dead Horse Point is a mesa connected to the mainland by a very narrow area of land. Legend has it that cowboys used to round up wild stallions and corral them on the mesa top, using the cliff walls as natural fencing. They would then pick out the steeds they though were the strongest and leave the rest to die, thus the name Dead Horse Point. Stand at the overlook of the Colorado River and imagine being a horse in those days dying of thurst and being able to see water down below but with no way to get to it....
Directions: Take highway 313 from US 191 to the junction. Take the signed road toward Dead Horse Point State Park. The overlook is located at the end of the park road.
Upheaval Dome is a huge uplifting of a salt dome in the middle of a giant crater. It's a geological mystery with two main theories pointing at either an astroid impact or some shirt in the earth. Either way, it's well worth the short hike to view and even better to take the longer hike around the rim!
Directions: From the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands follow the signs to Upheaval Dome
If you've got a good mountain bike and a lot of stamina, or a 4x4 vehicle, you can take the dirt road journey down into Shafer Canyon. Otherwise, if you're like me, you can enjoy the view of the canyon and marvel at the switchbacking road as it somehow decends the canyon wall! You can see the road going off into the distance at the bottom of the canyon in this picture.
Directions: Located just inside the park entrace plaza, look for the signed Shafer Canyon Overlook
Shafer Canyon Jeep Trail
Here is the jeep trail going down the side of Shafer Canyon. If you have really good eyes you might spot a jeep cautiously making its way down. It's about the middle of the picture and almost looks like a rock in the middle of the road. That's a jeep! It's dwarfed by the cliff walls towering some 1500 feet above!
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