Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah. It spans over 337,000 acres of diverse and breathtaking terrain. With the Green and Colorado rivers separating the park into four distinct districts, there are various opportunities for adventures. From exploration to sightseeing and great camping. While these districts may appear close to each other on a map traveling from one to the next requires a few hours and there are limited locations to cross the river. Therefore it is best to visit one district at a time or choose the one that best fits your destination desires. Here is a brief overview of what each district has to offer.
Everything Canyonlands National Park Has to Offer
Island in the Sky
Island in the Sky is the most accessible of the districts. And also the most traveled to. It is positioned on sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet high. With many pullouts along the paved scenic route, the views and photo ops of the surrounding desert terrain are breathtaking. The popular hike to Mesa Arch averages about an hour. It offers spectacular sunrise photographs. The hike to Grand View Point, located at the southernmost point of the district, averages 15 – 90 minutes depending on which viewpoint you search out. This hike offers views of the White Rim, The Maze, and The Needles, and often you will find park rangers. They are often presenting geology talks and lessons for Grand View Point visitors.
Located at the southeast corner of Canyonlands, The Needles district offers various hiking trails. Also overnight trip trails, foot trails, and four-wheel-drive trails. Visitors can see an ancestral Puebloan-era structure at Roadside Ruin. Or hike Pothole Point and take in the views of The Needles expansive formations and unique pothole communities. And if up for a further adventure, Cave Springs Trailhead takes you to a historic cowboy camp. One with prehistoric rock paintings and western artifacts.
Indicative by its name, The Maze is the least accessible of all the districts in Canyonlands National Park. Due to its’ remoteness and the difficult terrain of the roads and trails, most visitors of The Maze spend at least three days to a week here. Visitors must be prepared for a fully self-sufficient trip. With proper equipment, ample supplies, and hiking or off-roading experience. If up for the challenge, The Maze offers various hiking and backpacking trails. Ones difficult in nature, and with isolated four-wheel drive roads for experienced drivers.
Located northwest of The Maze, Horseshoe Canyon offers a day-use area, hiking trails, and horseback riding trails. Known for its’ impressive rock art, Horseshoe Canyon is home to some of the most intricate and well-preserved rock art displays in all of North America.
Explore the Rivers
With the Green and Colorado rivers winding through Canyonlands National Park, exploring the park by water is also a great way to take in its beauty and diversity. Flatwater trips on the rivers as well as whitewater trips in Cataract Canyon are popular ways many visitors experience the park. There are a variety of guided river trips offered ranging from half-day excursions to week-long riverside camping trips.
For more information on Canyonlands National Park or help on planning your next trip, contact Goss RV. We are here to help you start your journey!