Canyonlands National Park

Posted by: Donna Smith, Contributor on Friday, December 8, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Not too horribly far from the Journeys for Women office in Pleasanton is an incredible National Park in Utah known as Canyonlands. This year I purchased a lifetime National Park Pass in hopes of visiting many National Parks in retirement. My husband and I have dreamed for a long time of taking an RV cross-country and discovering many of the natural wonders along the way. Although it will be several years before our journey can begin, there’s no time like the present to start planning such an extensive trip.

canyonlands national parkWe have never been to Utah, so Canyonlands National Park is sure to be high on our list for its cliffs, deep canyons, towering mesas and many red rock spires.

For those with limited time, the closest major airport is Salt Lake City International. It is about a four-hour drive to Moab, the town nearest Canyonlands National Park. Also, Denver, Colorado airport offers flights to Canyonlands Field, a small airport in Moab.

Four Districts - Covering Acres of Land

It is the largest national park in Utah, covering 337,598 acres. Because of the diversity of the park, it is divided into three land districts and one river district.

Islands in the Sky is the most accessible district mostly because it is closest (about thirty-three miles) to the town of Moab. Islands in the Sky sits atop a massive 1500 feet mesa, thus its suitable name. There are many pullouts along the paved scenic drive offering panoramic views. Backpacking is popular on the many hiking trails for day or overnight trips.

The Needles is another district for more of a backcountry experience.  It is named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone. This area is for hikers or those with a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The Maze is even more remote than the other districts. You are on your own here, so you must be self-sufficient with food and gear.  Most visitors spend three to seven days to venture out in The Maze.            

The Rivers district consists of the Colorado and Green Rivers that wind throughout the heart of the Canyonlands National Park. Surprisingly, the river corridors are green, shady and full of life. This area is ideal for kayaks and canoes in the calm waters. The two rivers combine to flow down Cataract Canyon with much power to create world-class white-water rafting.

For those choosing not to rough camp within the Canyonlands National Park, Moab is the best location for lodging and restaurants. There are several chain hotels, bed and breakfasts, ranches and full hook-up campgrounds. There is also a spa resort.

Canyonlands National Park is my kind of place to discover its many exploration possibilities. Are they any ladies out there that enjoy the National Parks? If so, tell us about your experiences in the comments.


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