When we first entered Utah I stopped at the visitor’s center near the border. I explained to the lady behind the counter that we were traveling the country, in order to visit all 50 states. We were here now to visit southern Utah and I had heard that it was amazing but it was something that I have never experienced. I told her that we were headed to arches and ask her if there’s anything else in the area that was worth their while. She mentioned several things more than I had actually imagined was possible. She also handed me literature. Pamphlets brochures and books about 4.5 inches worth of glossy paper all about southern Utah. I kind of looked at her stunned and said “What are your top recommendations?” She said “It’s so hard to say some of the locals here say that arches is the best, other say that Canyon land is. At least in this area.” “Canyon land? Didn’t sound very interesting” I thought to myself. “Ok” I said “Sounds interesting” I thanked her for literature and hauled the ten and a half pounds of glossy paper back out to the truck. From there we headed to Arches.
I had fully intended to only visit archers in that area of Utah. But that was until I looked at some of the literature and talked to the guy in the gift shop at Arches National Park. I asked him about Canyonlands and he said to me “It’s more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, in my opinion”. When I asked him how long of a journey would be he said it would be anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days if I had a four wheel drive vehicle. This speak my interest.
What is canyon land you ask? Well it’s not an amusement park. It is a contrasting collection 3 of areas that are divided by the Green River and the Colorado River at the point where they become one river. One side – the side that we traveled on – was called island in the sky. Is the only part of this Park that was accessible by our truck (Over 23 feet in length if we haven’t mentioned that) the other parts are the needles and the White Rim Trail. The other two sides are accessible with smaller off-road vehicles mountain bikes and dirt bikes. If you take a mountain bike on the road expect a minimum of 4 days. With an off road vehicle you could do the track in as little as two days.
We decided to drive island in the sky and hoped to catch a wonderful sunset at the very end overlook of the park. This section is a literal island in the sky. Once you ascend to the top and travel the park road you discover that all ways lead to 1000 foot cliffs. The view out to the river and other lower canyons are amazing.
Unfortunately there was no sunset that night, it was overcast and rainy, really rainy. IN fact the storm system that was running through was the same storm system that caused major flooding in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. It was a bit scary once the system made it over our location because it went from “over there curtains of rain and amazing lighting” to” oh…. We are in the clouds that are making this storm”
Still we enjoyed the drive and the amazing lightning storm that we saw after dark. We took several pictures of the view and I can say that the vastness of the views at Canyon land are truly spectacular. Never in my life have I seen anything quite like this. Our miniscule cell phone photos can’t really do it justice. But for the sake of sharing here are the photos that we took of Canyonlands.
I highly recommend if you’re in the area to take the time to visit Canyon lands. If you do have an off road vehicle and the tent or an off road trailer take a couple of days and do the rim. This is one of the first places on our trip where I had I desire to come back and try something else. Maybe an off road motorcycle ride and camping trip -any takers?
Have you ever been here? Share your comments and thoughts on this area.