As we still find ourselves moving backwards in our adventure, the next step is also another National Park to cross off of my bucket list. Additionally, it was also one that I knew almost nothing about, but at first glance, it looked very much like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon to me. Which, if I really think about it… could be the reason that it has the name that it does too?
The view from Green River Overlook was one that I really enjoyed, and it really was reminiscent of the parts of the Grand Canyon National Park only not so overwhelming in its depth. I was surprised that the river that we happened to be looking at was the Green River and not the Colorado River.
I was however relieved to find out that both the Colorado and Green rivers wind through the heart of Canyonlands. They both cut through layered sandstone to form two deep canyons. Both rivers are calm upstream of the Confluence, ideal for canoes, kayaks and other shallow water craft. Below the Confluence, the combined flow of both rivers spills down Cataract Canyon with remarkable speed and power, creating a world-class stretch of white water.
The Island in the Sky mesa rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Every overlook offers a different perspective on Canyonlands’ spectacular landscape. But the Island is the easiest district to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive, which actually prompted Mrs. LZ to ask; “are we stopping again already?”
Much of canyon country's annual precipitation falls during summer monsoons. These dramatic storms often last less than twenty minutes but can cause powerful flash floods despite their brevity.
The Needles District (which is in the southeast corner of Canyonlands) and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district’s extensive trail system provides many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads in the area lead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park.
The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands. Due to the district’s remoteness and the difficulty of roads and trails, travel to the Maze requires more time, as well as a greater degree of self-sufficiency. Rarely do visitors spend less than three days in the Maze, and the area could easily absorb a week-long trip but we only had a half of a day there.A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.
~ Thomas Jefferson