Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky, Grand View Point 10/18/16

Canyonlands is the largest of the 5 National Parks in Utah, over 337,000 acres. The Colorado and Green Rivers have carved countless canyons, mesas, and red rock formations into the Colorado Plateau, and divide the park into 3 main areas – Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze. We started at Island in the Sky – a great description because you’re on top of the Plateau, looking down into the canyons. From Moab, you drive 32 miles, passing the Arches entrance, to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center.

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Then you drive 12 more miles from the Visitor Center to Grand View Point, passing pretty grand views along the way. Doubleclick any photo for full size view:

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Grand View Point offers spectacular views down into the multi-pronged canyons, with Monument Basin right in front, and a 2-mile roundtrip trail to see more and more and more around each bend.

We were facing into the sun early in the morning, so the views of these monuments were backlit/dark, and surreal.

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The trail continues over red slickrock:

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and along red walls:

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Look at the vastness of this view:

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view back to Candlestick

The trail includes climbing down and scrambling up some outcroppings for photo ops and views:

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This mushroom rock is near the end of the Grandview Point trail:

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The trails over slickrock are marked by cairns, formally constructed here, with a view of more canyons and mesas:

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On the return trip – it’s an out and back trail – the sun’s position has changed, illuminating the canyons in new ways:

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Not a bad start to Canyonlands – a grand view.

 

 

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