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Canyonlands National Park

Written by Jared on October 29, 2011

Jess, Jared and Kobus in Canyonlands.

Canyonlands is the second national park we planned to visit from our base camp in Moab. Little did we know, mother nature would have a few nasty surprises in store for us following our near-miss while hiking in Arches National Park.

Regardless of the rainy, frigid weather, we were able to visit the northern part of Canyonlands, named Island in the Sky. Our third day in Moab brought rain, more rain, and cold. Luckily the sky cleared around noon and after warming up in the local internet cafe, suitably caffeinated, we were ready to hit the road.

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.

We stopped by the visitors center to check on trail conditions and figure out what we bothered doing that afternoon given the less-than-ideal weather situation. Turns out there were still plenty of scenic stops and short hikes along the road. Mesa Arch, pictured above, was our first taste of the park.

A panoramic view of Canyonlands National Park.

Views of the surrounding canyons and mesas continued to impress as we drove the 20 mile stretch down the Island in the Sky.

A panoramic view of Canyonlands National Park.

The possibilities for panoramic photos was astronomical. Our cameras couldn't do the landscape justice. Marcell - you need to plan a trip out here!

Dark skys over the Canyonlands.

A couple of the scenic viewpoints were a mile or so from the main road. We decided to brave the 40 degree weather and light rain to capture a few shots of the Canyonlands under dark clouds.

A view of White Rim in the Canyonlands.

This is a shot of White Rim, a bench of white sandstone that circles the entire Island in the Sky. Off road enthusiasts can take a five day 100 mile trip along the edge, which we'd love to the next time we're back in Moab.

Canyonlands needle formations.

The columns of rock in the middle of this canyon are called "needles". The southern part of the park is famous for forests of these tall pillars.

Blue awaits our return from a short hike.

Our boy Blue awaits our return on top of a wet hill of sandstone.

A panoramic view of the Canyonlands.

At the end of the Island in the Sky is a vista called The Grand Viewpoint. Click the image to see the full jaw dropping panorama.

Our frost covered kitchen gear after a night out in Moab.

That night the weather drops. A lot. A cold front moved in after the rain and it was easily 30 degrees. Water bottles are frozen, our kitchen is covered with frost, and we jump in the car to escape the frigid wind.

The scenery during most of our hike in the Canyonlands.

Our plan for the day was to go on a 6 mile hike called Spring Creek. It drops down onto a sandstone shelf and loops around The Neck, a narrow strip of land that connects the northern and southern parts of the Island in the Sky.

Jess and Kobus scramble up the mesa.

The first half of the trip involved a 350 foot descent, followed by up, down, up, down through the small creeks along the edge of the mesa. A little more than midway through we climb back on top of the mesa, scrambling up steep sandstone rocks.

A panoramic view of the Canyonlands.

Once back up top we're greeted with the best view of the hike, looking out over the western side of the Canyonlands. Click the photo for a full panorama.

A mountain, that looks like a boob.

Another odd geological structure we found on top of the mesa. I'll let this caption write itself.

A couple piles of rocks called cairnes that show us the way.

Piles of rocks called cairns lead us back to the parking lot. It would be very easy to get lost without these markers.

Another view of the Canyonlands.

Just before the parking lot we stopped for one last glimpse of the Canyonlands. The road on the left of this picture, nearly 1100 feet below, winds up the canyon wall and eventually leads to the White Rim trail.

Up next, the mother of all canyons - The Grand Canyon.


Katie Bower
#3 Katie Bower 2012-04-01 08:44
I went to Canyonlands in 2001 with my family also in October. It was freezing cold at night. We were very thankful for our below zero sleeping bags dad insisted on getting us.

It was gorgeous during the day and by 9 we were in t-shirts and light weight pants.
Marcell Puzsar
#2 Marcell Puzsar 2011-11-07 08:23
Thank you guys for thinking of me. Just by looking at your amazing pictures makes me consider to book a trip there ASAP with Tarr ! :) I am happy that U guys doing well
#1 Lee 2011-11-03 04:58
This is amazing!

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