Canyonlands National Park Entrance Sign

Yesterday, we visited Canyonlands National Park. This park has three major sections, the most popular being the Island in the Sky because of the many the hiking trails and spectacular viewpoints along the paved Island in the Sky Scenic Drive. The other two sections of the park are more suitable to backcountry hiking and/or off road vehicles, or at least vehicles with high clearance, which a Hyundai Elantra does not have.

We had overheard someone say that they preferred Canyonlands over the Grand Canyon. After our visit, Steve felt that way too, however there is something about the Grand Canyon that really reached out to me so that one is still my favorite.

Canyonlands is located near the confluence of the Colorado River and the Green River. At the Grand View Point Overlook, you can look one way and see the Colorado River, and the other way and see the Green River. The Green River eventually empties into the Colorado River a few miles further downstream.

Island in the Sky is a particularly apt name for this area because it is like an island, carved out by a canyons on both sides by the two rivers, not to mention, the numerous tributaries.

We took at easy and only hiked about 5 miles on this day, but we stopped at several overlooks too. In one of the pictures below, you can see switchbacks from a road that leads down into Shafer Canyon, 1500 feet below. This is a road for high clearance vehicles only and eventually connects with other roads in the canyons. In other pictures, you’ll see a 100 mile long road called the White Rim Road that follows the rims of the canyons for both the Green River and the Colorado River. The road is aptly named because the canyon rims are edged in white sandstone.

We ended our day in the late afternoon, as the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. Those turned out to be some of our favorite pictures. To see those, you’ll have to scroll to the final few pictures in the photo gallery below. Enjoy!

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

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