A mosaic of multicolored sedimentary sandstones adorns an endless array of canyons. Perhaps you are hallucinating. No, this is reality. Welcome to the Canyonlands. Pictographs and petroglyphs tell us of the native cultures once called the Canyonlands their home. Some people visit the Canyonlands to explore the 10,000 year-old culture of these mystical people. Others are fascinated with the Canyonlands geology. Then there are those who simply choose to watch and wonder. None are disappointed at the Canyonlands National Park.
The Canyonlands Utah is known as the "high desert." This is due to its elevations that range from 3,700 to 7,200 feet above sea level. The Canyonlands Utah can experience very hot summers, cold winters and less than ten inches of rain each year. Temperatures often fluctuate as much as 50 degrees in a day.
Two mighty rivers, the Colorado and the Green, carved the Canyonlands into three distinct districts:
- Island in the Sky to the north
- The Needles to the south-east
- The Canyonlands Maze to the west
Island of the Sky sits majestically on top of a broad, 1500 foot mesa. Magnificent views of the White Rim can be seen from this district of the Canyonlands. The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park was named for the red and white banded rock pinnacles which dominate its landscape. Arches, canyons and intriguing rock formations are characteristic of this district of Canyonlands National Park. This area was once home to the native Puebloan Indians. Artifacts of their culture can be found throughout this district.
The Canyonlands Maze district of the Canyonlands National Park is the most remote. It is only accessible by unpaved roads. If you plan to visit the Canyonlands Maze, it is recommended that you are highly skilled in the use of a topographic map. You should also have a significant amount of skill in the nuances of 4-wheel drive technique. The trails of the Canyonlands Maze are primitive and unpaved. Hike with care! The routes are steep, and often quite close to the edges of the cliffs. They can also be somewhat confusing. This labyrinth of rock formations has often been referred to as a thirty mile jigsaw puzzle of sandstone.
Although there are no commercial horseback riding trips through Canyonlands Utah, if you get a permit, you can ride into the Horseshoe Canyon. Your saddle and pack stock is allowed at the Orange Cliffs mesa in the Canyonlands National Park.