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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Canyonlands National Park Overview

August 16, 2012

Buck Canyon Overlook in Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands 

M and I drove from Leadville through Colorado National Monument and arrived at our Utah campsite late in the day. Since all campsites within Arches and Canyonlands were already filled due to the two parks being so popular, we ended up at another BLM campsite. We drove to Horsethief Campground, picked our site, and set up our tent. We then decided to do a quick sunset tour of Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands was divided into 3 sections: Island in the Sky, Maze, and the Needles. We decided to tour Island in the Sky since it was most accessible and closest to our campsite. Needles was 40 miles away and Maze was definitely too advanced for us to even consider. Since we also cut our trip short, Island in the Sky was perfect as it had ample overlooks and shorter trails for us to explore. 

Our evening drive through Island in the Sky was filled with views of orange tinged cliffs, desert shrubs, and layers of canyons. We wished we had a 4-wheel drive car that could drive through the canyons but alas, we didn't have one nor did we have the luxury of time to drive the 100 mile White Rim Road. After this quick tour, we rested and got ourselves ready for our hikes in both Arches and Canyonlands the next day. 

Horsethief Campground, nicely spaced
View near Neck Spring

Shafer Trail Road viewed from a Shafer Canyon Overlook

Talus cones at the bottom of the cliff/canyon edge

Least efficient but scenic road through Island in the Sky

Sandy trail with slickrock underneath leading us to Mesa Arch

Area surrounding Mesa Arch

Trail to Mesa Arch

Getting closer to Mesa Arch

View through Mesa Arch

M and I in front of Mesa Arch

Trail to/from Mesa Arch 

On the way to Green River Overlook

Green River Outlook

Close up of Green River Outlook.

Cliffside near Green River Outlook

Area surrounding Green River Overlook

Canyonlands National Park

White Rim Road Overlook

Hiking to White Rim Road Overlook

M on White Rim Road Overlook trail

White Rim Road

Slickrock trail with cairns in the background

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