SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAYS 59 & 60
Updated February 2018
Nature has a way of making me feel small and insignificant yet powerful and important all at the same time. These feelings consumed me as I sat on a mesa overlooking the extraordinary vast landscape of Canyonlands National Park. The park has the wow factor times ten and I’m not sure how many more times I can say, “WOW!”
See for yourself…
Canyonlands National Park
In southeastern Utah, Canyonlands National Park is the largest park in the state at 527 square miles. It is broken up into four separate districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and The River. We visited Island in the Sky and Needles, two of the most easily accessed areas by car. The Maze is the most remote area and is the least accessible. It is considered some of the most rugged land in the states and is an off-roading paradise.
We would love to come back and rent a rock crawler, but for now we hiked through the wild terrain of the other two districts on our own two feet.
Canyonlands National Park Itinerary
Island in the Sky
The 34-mile roundtrip scenic drive through Island in the Sky is atop the flat mesa overlooking the dramatic canyon. There are many overlooks that provide different perspectives on the landscape below.
The highlights of our day include Mesa Arch, Shafer Canyon Overlook, White Rim Overlook, Grand View Point, and both overlooks at Upheaval Dome.
The Needles District, on the southeast corner of the park, earned its name from the spears of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that stand at attention throughout the district. The drive is on a short paved road leading to 60 miles of interconnecting trails.
The highlights of our day include Roadside Ruin, Cave Spring, Pothole Point, Slickrock and Big Spring Canyon Overlook.
Perfect Base for Exploring Canyonlands: Moab
Home base for the week is Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground in the town of Moab, only 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City and 90 minutes from Grand Junction. The town is in an ideal location: 5.5 miles south of the entrance to Arches National Park, 30 miles northeast of Dead Horse Point State Park, 32 miles northeast of Island in the Sky Visitor Center in Canyonlands National Park, and 76 miles east of the entrance to Needles District, Canyonlands National Park.
Moab has many lodging options including hotels, motels, resorts, B&B’s and campgrounds. It is a gateway to a playground for the adventurous: hiking, four-wheel drive excursions, white-water rafting, canoeing, biking, and horseback riding.
Know Before You Go
- $25 per car, $15 per motorcycle, $10 per person on foot/bike.
- Island in the Sky Visitor Center open 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (March – December).
- Needles Center open 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (March – November).
- Maze District – Hans Flat Ranger Station open 8:00 am – 4:30 pm (year round).
- Leashed pets only in parking areas and campground, not on trails or backcountry areas.
- Stay on trails to protect fragile soil.
- Parking is permitted only in designated areas and is strictly enforced.
- Water is not available in most areas except the Visitor Centers from Spring – Fall.
- Most excursions for horseback riding, kayaking, biking, rafting, or off-roading depart from Moab.
And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 2 Canadian province and 13 national parks.
Miles Driven: 257, Total Road Trip Miles Driven: 9,007, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.29
All States Visited: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, British Columbia & Alberta Provinces, Washington, Oregon, Idaho
Next: Driving Off a Cliff
Have you been to Utah? What’s your favorite thing to do?
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