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Trips : Utah : Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park spans three different regions. Each is bounded by the Colorado and Green rivers, as shown by the graphic below (taken from the Canyonlands National Park map, available at the ranger station when you enter the park).

Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park

There was an interesting bit of political negotiation that went on regarding the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. The larger of the two rivers would be determined to be the more important river, and the lower merged portion would take on that name. The Colorado lobby won, and therefore it's the Colorado River that extends down through the Grand Canyon today, rather than the Green River.

"Shafer Canyon Overlook - Island in the Sky"
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Big Picture

Island in the Sky
The northernmost area is bounded on the south by the Colorado River, and on the north and west by the Green River. Because of its remote location and sheer canyon walls on almost all sides, this area of the park is called the Island In The Sky.

This portion of the park is home to Mesa Arch, the Gemini Bridges, and some old Native American structures and rock art. There is also a large hole that may have been caused by a meteorite or a collapsed salt dome. Not to mention stunning vistas overlooking the canyons of both the Green and Colorado rivers.

The southernmost district of Canyonlands is called the Needles District. This area is more rugged, and many of the trails are longer and more difficult that those found in the Island in the Sky district. Some of the trails used to be open for four wheel drive vehicles; many of them are now closed.

The last, most remote, and even more rugged area of Canyonlands is called the Maze District. This area is so large and remote that only high clearance four wheel drive vehicles are allowed in. Don't try this with your SUV-wanna-be, you must have a true off-road vehicle to navigate these trails! And I don't think that this area qualifies for AAA towing service either...

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Canyonlands National Park
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