We headed back south down Hwy 191 toward Moab and turned toward Canyonlands National Park a few miles before the town. Immediately you are in another world of red rock and all sorts of shapes.....spires, fins, slabs, something new around each bend in the road.....and there are a LOT of bends.
|At the exit from I70 to Hwy 191 is this interesting gas stop.|
|The guy is a marketing genius. What kid wouldn't want to stop here!|
|The place was pretty busy, but we didn't bother buying any jerky.|
A short drive takes you to the main entrance gate. What a difference from Arches NP yesterday. There we waited a half hour or more to get in. Here, two cars ahead of us. A quick stop at the Visitor Center then we were of to explore the various viewpoints and short hikes.
|The drive towards Canyonlands NP|
|Monitor and Merrimac|
|It does look like a ship don't you think?|
|So does this one.|
|This sandstone rock wears a beenie!|
|We finally make it to the entrance to the National Park. All the pictures above were on the drive to the park.|
|And oh, what a view. This was at the Visitor Center. See the tiny road in the middle of the frame? It's for 4x4 vehicles. Cheryl wouldn't let me go!|
Also, see the road on the left? Then look at the picture below where it heads!
|Can you imagine driving that road??? Can you imagine the bulldozer operator that built that road!!!!|
|That is a Jeep down there. We saw this trail from many angles. It is 100 miles long and it's recommended you take two days to drive it.|
|The next viewpoint was a hike to Mesa Arch.|
|This thing seems to be hanging from the cliff wall by willpower. Huge cracks at each end.|
|Under the Arch.|
|The view from over the Arch. Wow!|
|The beautiful La Sal Mountains in the distance. About 35 miles away.|
|To think all this erosion was caused by water and to a lesser degree, wind.|
|That trail again.|
|Spires of sandstone.|
|Red and white sandstone. The red is usually the softer of the two.|
|The Green River at the bottom. It joins with the Colorado a few miles downstream from here, then feeds into Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.|
|I like his words....."the scale of the canyon shrinks the River into insignificance". I agree!|
|It's a tough life for trees here.|
|This huge rock is called the Whale.|
By midday the traffic had built up and the viewpoint parking lots were full. We still managed to get to most of the spots we were interested in seeing.
|These caves may eventually turn into arches. It may take a few million years though.|
|Traffic heading home.|
|A balancing rock. The red rock has eroded faster that the white stone cap.|
Canyonlands NP was established in 1964 to help protect this fragile and unique landscape from mining and oil exploration. The siesmic lines are still visible where equipment had marked up the land for exploration. Today there are three main areas of the Park. Island In The Sky is the name of the section we visited as do most folks. The Needles section is just as beautiful but a bit more remote and in the south of the Park. The Maze is nearly inaccessible to vehicles and makes up the Eastern portion of the Park. You can learn more about this Park here.
Is it as spectacular as the Grand Canyon? Well, no; but it is certainly spectacular in it's own right. We really enjoyed it. Natural erosion does amazing things to rock.
Thankfully we didn't have to fight with the traffic in Moab and turned the truck north at Hwy 191. We were home in about 30 minutes.
Saturday we'll stick close to home and explore Thompson Springs area a bit more. Sunday we head south to the town of Bluff, UT.
|Friday night sunset.|
.....and that was Our View From Here!