Canyonlands National Park Things to Do Tips by BruceDunning Top 5 Page for this destination
Canyonlands National Park Things to Do: 141 reviews and 275 photos
Symbols of the living and daily events
This is a section of petroglyphs along the highway 211 on the way to Needles. It is a rather long section and high up on the rock face. It is fenced off to deter vandalism and markings by today culture. The petroglyphs are from 1,000+ years and etched by Pueblos in this area and Anasazi that lived here
map of the trail route
This trail hike of only 3/4 mile RT is over some sand, up a couple of ladders, and then to the backside of the cave view over some slick rock trekking (a bit steep) to get back to the parking lot. This trail shows the use of it by cowboys from the mid 1800's until 1975. Outside the park they still have open range cattle grazing. A guy named John Scorup started the operation of ranching in late 1800's and continued using this area and the trails in the park are form cattle roundup paths. The cave spring area was a place for cowboys to sleep and rest and they may have stayed out here for weeks and months. Items left form those days are in the cave overhangs.
View of te rock surface climb
This is a short 6/1- mile round trip over some slick rock that takes you to the edge of a view overlook. The rock is for sure filled with potholes, and when it rains, I imagine the feet get wet by not avoiding holes filled with water.
Sign warning of rough road ahead
This is at the end a a side road to the southwest of the visitor center about 8 miles. At the end are some parking spaces and the entry to go on if you like with a 4WD vehicle up the hill. NOt for me, though. It looked rough. You can hike to the rock mounds that surround the area, and I did that.
Wooden Shoe Rock-looks like it
These are different landscapes just a few miles separated form each other. Needles has that change in scenery all over, and that is one main draw to see it all.
Buttes and valleys abound
Entry to Needles District is off Hwy 211 and that is 36 miles west of Hwy 191 turnoff. The Slickrock trail is to the north of the visitor center 7 miles and at Big Spring overlook. The hike at Slickrock was 3 miles and took 1 hr 10 minutes. There are boulders to climb and walking on the angle of slickrock facing. Cairn markers are about every 10-30 feet to direct you to keep on the trail. The hike was between easy to moderate in my opinion. The views at the end are worth the trek.
The more adventuresome can take the Confluence trail from Big Spring for 5.5 miles one way and ends at the Colorado river.
View of arch through tree line
This is a relatively easy hike of 1 mile round trip to see the arch. There are steps up to the arch for easy trail hike.
Layout of the trail map
This is one I did not take, and it is not advised unless you have a 4WD vehicle. Even then it is said the "trail" or road path as you may call it is treacherous, and only for the adventuresome. Access to the trail is located close to the Island in the Sky visitor center and goes off to the east for about 20 miles before connecting to a paved Potash Road that is another 17 miles to get to Hwy 191. The 4x4 drive from what I read takes you up and to Goosenecks Park area, and many scenic overlooks to the Colorado River. To get there, the climb is steep and so rough even a lot of 4WD vehicles cannot make it past the first few miles. Then the road becomes single lane while going up the road, and some areas are washed out with cracks from erosion that you have to drive over. The rough rocks also have sharp points that can ruin a tire. This is to be investigated before trekking further.
Group listening to Range talk
There is usually a series of Ranger class sessions that discuss the creation of the parks formations and the park itself. They are interesting and informative. They last about 45-60 minutes and maybe have 6-20 in a park each day at various points on interest.
First trail View looking into the dome
This is by far the most unique feature of the park. It is at the north end, about 12 miles form the visitor center. Hiking here can be done, and a shorter for 8/10 mile round trip to a view, and longer, more rigorous for 2.2 mile hike. The second leg is up some steep rock and on angle, then at 2/3 point the overlook hangs you out to the edge of the cliff. It then proceeds another 1/2 mile to get another view of the dome. Theory is a meter crashed here and caused the ground to create a huge crater. It is 2 miles wide and 1 mile deep. Salt deposits from blast heat to the meteor blew out of the ground, and today this is the dome. The salt has dissipated a lot, and the minerals left create the color of the dome and caldron
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