We were here on September 19th, 2016
We found this map of the National Parks and Monuments in and around Utah. Oh I wish we had of known of this prior to making this trip. It is a GEM! Please download and you'll see how the Canyonlands fits in with the other places we're visiting in the Great Circle.
Canyonlands National Park
When we consider the Canyonlands N P we wanted to start by traveling up the Colorado River at Moab to about where the Dolores River joins the Colorado. Why you might ask? First it is a gorgeous drive along the river and the scatter farm/ranching lands that back right to the river. And Secondly the Colorado river is the life blood of the Canyonlands.
This photo probably shows the Canyonlands thousands of years ago when the Colorado and the Green rivers began became the agent to carry off the wind and rain driven erosion soils down stream.
Colorado River Recreational Area
Again when you see this word (download) underlined and in blue that indicates it is a hyper link to the full scale picture. When you open it you'll also see that your mouse pointer is a round plus sign, click again and the part of the photo where your pointer was will enlarge again. This is great if you might want to see more detail in a particular view. When you want to return to this page just tap the return arrow. Try it you might like it.
This is a tremendous recreation area adding to the already thriving tourist attractions of Moab. The Arches NP, the Canyonlands NP, and now the Colorado lazily floating by the same front yard.
There is first the Red Cliffs Lodge right on the river, and it appears to be first class. And of course it is beautiful nestled just opposite of the amazing red cliff bluffs, and only surpassed by the gently flowing Dolores River.
Then a little father up the road we found the Sorrel River Guest Ranch.
We drove up the river some 25 miles and for the first five miles we were in Colorado River Recreation Area, administered by the BLM, where there numerous camp grounds, right on the water's edge.
Now I called the Colorado Rive lazy, so let me correct that. of the 25 miles we drove there were areas for white water rafting, kayaking, speed boating, and of course fishing. What ever turns one on.
The highway you see and the one we were following is also adjacent to the Sand Flats Utah State Park, where three are miles and miles of hiking trails, bike trails, ATV trails, all for you younger folks.
Canyonlands National Park
The Canyonlands is actually divined into three natural parts, by the convergence of the Colorado and the Green Rivers. The Island in the Sky, where are going in just a minute, is the northern section laying between the two rivers. The Needles with access near Monticello, UT, and The Maze, which is southwest section is very remote and 4 wheel drive country.
This is our first scene as we enter the Park and climb to the top of the plateau, or escarpment which ever term you prefer. The drive is one through beautiful Vermilion and Navajo sandstone bluffs.
I threw this photo in to show the use of dead Juniper trees as parking control area and areas of sensitivity. What a brilliant move, the junipers are abundant, and we tourist certainly avoid any closeness to those stiff old branches.
We use this photo to show the jeep road climbing out of the bottom of the basin to the top of the bluffs. Moab was in the 1950-'s a center for uranium mining. Many of the back roads cut in the park area were done by prospectors and mining adventures. Since the area is now protected as a National Park many of those roads have been returned to nature.
But aint this a dilly!
Too, these two photographs give one a great prospective on the elevation change and the steepness of this terrain. Not exactly a Sunday leisurely stroll.
We drove to the base of Whale Rock, but the 3 ~ 6 mile hike we left for you real Hikers. My view for this picture was not that impressive, but the aerial the Park Service had posted certainly is.
The Green River
The Green River comes down through the middle of Utah feeding a tremendous agricultural area. If you happen to be traveling on I-70 to or from Salt Lake City you'll cross the Green at the community of Green River. STOP! They have the most wonderful fruit and vegetable stands of both ends of town and probably a couple in the middle. Sweet melons that delight, and peaches from heaven.
Thar she blows down in the very bottom. But notice the valley and the scalloped escarpments on the plateau that has been created over time. This overlook is about 10 miles from the convergence of the Green and the Colorado.
Just how high above the Plateau are we?
Colorado River Basin
Lets peak on the other side off the road, and see what's happening on the Colorado side in the last 3,000 years. As we wander to the Other Side we first find an old Juniper just waiting his turn to become a road barrier, but too note the effect of wind and water blasting away at the stone on the top of the escarpment.
An by gosh there is the ole Colorado in the bend. You'll see it just off the tip of the high bluff.
Just in case you missed it in the above shot, I'll enlarge the river bend for
This brings us to the end of our time in Canyonlands. We only visited the biggest area the Island in the Sky. We skipped "The Needles" and "The Maze". What we concluded is that we have just seen the start of the Grand Canyon, as this action of errors-ion by water and wind is exactly a preview of coming attractions. The Needles is accessed near Monticello, and the Maze is strictly four wheel drive territory, and the the Outback. 4X4, backpack, tent and gasoline later isn't our thing anymore. We plan on visiting Bryce Canyon where we'll substitute Hoodoos for Pinnacles, and near the end of this Fall trip we'll be at the Real Thing; the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
So with this is it good by Moab area, with the Arches and the Canyonlands National Parks, bad the Colorado River Recreation area, to get on down the Road making the Capital Reef National Park our next stop.
We've enjoyed having you travel with us, so please hang on for the next leg to Torrey, UT and the Capital Reef.