Canyonlands National Park is a remote, vast and spectacular natural attraction west of the Colorado Plateau. The park is located in the south eastern part of Utah. This is an area rich in canyons positioned at the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. Visiting Canyonlands wildernesses demands smart planning and vigilance as the region is rugged, harsh and primitive. It’s home to a maze of unexplored canyons and a winding labyrinth of hazardous chasms. The area is regarded as one of the most inaccessible regions in the United States.
The park is segmented into 4 districts; The Maze, The Island in the Sky, The Needles and combined the Colorado & Green rivers themselves.
The Needles district is towered by massive spires of rustic corals standing in twisted formation. The region boasts solid rock patterns with red and white bands estimated to be 270 million years old. The landscape of needles is dotted with Native American ruins and prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs. Needles is also bordered by the popular cave spring trail a location where cowboys use to herd their cattle. Traces of what use to be cowboy camp sites have been preserved by the park administration displaying common items used by more modern dwellers of the region. Adjacent to Needles is the legendary hideout for outlaws, Robbers Roost. This was an attractive region for criminals to escape the law, most notable of all Butch Cassidy and his gang.
The least accessible district of Canyonlands is the Maze district. The region is remote and difficult area to navigate with limited trails and roads. The harsh environment requires a relatively high degree of outdoor survival skills as the area maintains a 110 degree temperature and is virtually water less and void of any shade. The Maze is regarded by many outdoor professionals as one of the top 10 most dangerous hiking trails in North America. It’s also worth mentioning that park rangers estimate it can take up to 3 days to locate someone in need of search and rescue.
The Island In The Sky is the easiest destination to reach in Canyonlands. It has 20 miles of paved roads providing easy access to overlooks and pullovers. It also hosts a network of unpaved roads for biking and 4 wheel motorized bikes. Unpaved trails are an adrenaline rush for visitors that seek an up-close and personal view of the regions spectacular sites.
One of the most popular attractions of Canyonlands are the Colorado and Green rivers. Both rivers carve their way through Canyonlands, extending through layered sandstone that shape deep canyons. The rivers are relatively calm and are ideal for kayaking and canoeing. The aquatic conduits lead to Cataract Canyon which transforms the calm flowing water into a powerful 14 mile stretch of Class 3 white water with tremendous energy and speed.
The Canyonlands National park is a brilliant mix of canyons, arches, spires and rivers. The harsh region is appealing to the visual senses and serves as a playground for ATV riders, hikers, water-sport enthusiast and mountain biker explorers. With soaring temperatures and limited resources in this remote region it is important to be prepared with survival resources and knowledge, plenty of water and a solid itinerary.
Our favorite walk:
Why we love it:
The trail leads to a 1,100 foot drop with spectacular grand canyon-like views of the region where the Colorado and Green river meet.
When you get the end of the trail climb the rock directly in front of you for unobstructed views of the Maze District and the confluence.