Canyonlands National Park Overview
Imagine wave after wave of deep canyons, towering mesas, pinnacles, cliffs and spires stretching across 527 square miles. This is Canyonlands National Park, formed by the currents and tributaries of Utah’s Green and Colorado rivers.
Located to the west of the town of Moab and a short distance from Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park is wild and wonderful and diverse in its landscapes and travel opportunities. Due to the park’s massive size, Canyonlands has four separate “districts,” including three land districts and the rivers themselves, each with their own characteristic landscapes and experiences.
Geographically, the Canyonlands is a section of southeastern Utah, some of it embodied in two magnificent national parks, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. But geography is only a small part of the story. Naturally, the Canyonlands is much more.
It’s a rugged piñon pine growing out of solid slickrock—and the beautiful blue piñon jay screaming at you from it. It’s the stealthy mountain lion stalking the skittish mule deer or the seldom-seen bobcat getting fat on the desert cottontail. It’s those amazingly hardy desert plants. It’s a whole lot of slickrock, those little potholes in the slickrock that evolve into microhabitats. It’s the amazing light that colours the cliffs red and pink and orange, and it’s the quiet of a region far from the hustle and bustle of Utah’s urban areas.
And, famously, it’s those breathtaking deep canyons dropping suddenly out of the desert and winding aimlessly through the plateau along with awesome sandstone spires and cliffs.
Do yourself a favor and don’t hurry through the park. Instead, take your time and let the nature of the Canyonlands sneak up on you and take root in your heart. It’s quite likely you’ll become so attached to the place that you’ll have to return again and again and again.