"Large Park Spread Over Miles" Top 5 Page for this destination Canyonlands National Park by BruceDunning

Canyonlands National Park Travel Guide: 217 reviews and 541 photos

Long Time Evolving for the Rock Formations

The creation of this area started 350 million years ago. It was a basin next to 30,000 feet high mountain range, and was part of a large sea. In the last 10 million years there has been a reduction in the vertical rock of one mile high. It was swept away by the Green and Colorado rivers rushing through here. Paleo Indians are known to have lived here 13,000 years ago. By 1000BC and through 1100AD they famed and raised corn crop, and hunted.
In 1836 fur trapper Don Julian came here and discovered the magnificent formations of rock. From 1860-1871 when John Wesley Powell tried to find the route of the rivers, there still were not inhabitants. In 1880's cattle ranching started. IN 1950-60's there were miners coming here for finding uranium. Finallyu, in 1964 it was dedicated as a park.

Island in the Sky District

This is the northerly section of the park and it has a lot of different landscape and rock formations than those down south at Needles. It is 36 miles northwest of Moab and splits off Hwy 313 directly to the park after 25 miles form Hwy 191 turnoff. Bates Wilson was the first superintendent of the park back in 1950's and pushed for it becoming a park. It finally became a park in 1964 by declaration and efforts form Udall. The section has the Green and Colorado rivers converging down from here, so it is more green than Needles.
The park has 337,598 acres

Needles District

This section of the park is about 80 miles to Moab and 32 miles from Monticello to turn off Hwy 191 to Hwy 211 to the park. In 1880's to 1970's ranchers used the lands for free range cattle grazing. In the 1950's there was an influx of people digging and hunting for uranium since it was found around Moab area. There are 46 miles of road in the Island park, and 17 miles in Needles district, and many dirt/gravel back roads, especially in adjacent Maze District

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A lot of sites with variety landscapes to see and hike
  • Cons:Some areas have too many tourists congregating
  • In a nutshell:It is a long distance between the two entry points
  • Last visit to Canyonlands National Park: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (8)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Nice page! Newspaper rock looks very interesting!

    • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
      Jul 19, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      That trip to 11 parks was wonderful and the terrain so varied and beautiful.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Too bad we were short of time to visit Canyonland! Thank you to show all what we have missed. Very interesting tip on cryptobiotic soil

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    This must have been quite a Western adventure for you. Loved info about the open range grazing and the specific soil. So much great information, especially for those who plan this trip.

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    I just cannot get enough of your pages. The pictures alone just make we want to get back out there and explore. Hope this New Year offers great adventures to you.

  • goodfish's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2009 at 4:22 AM

    Wonderful pages, Bruce! Don't you just love this park? Getting out to Maze district and doing the Grand Gallery hike is top of our list but even the overlooks here are just amazing.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    great page mate. would love to visit that part of the world.

  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2009 at 5:08 AM

    Glad to see that you went to the needles. Most people just will not take the extra time. But as you now know it is worth it. Did you make Horseshoe Canyon?

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    Great job with these pages on an amazing place!


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