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Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

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what to know before your visit to canyonlands national park

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Welcome to the other Grand Canyon. Canyonlands is one of the five National Parks in Utah. Located on the far east side of the state, this park often gets overlooked. It is very isolated, has few visitors, and there are a lack of roads, all of which truly makes the experience feel like an adventure on Mars. 

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what to know before your visit

Getting to and around Canyonlands can be a bit of a challenge if you don't know these important tips before your trip! 

  1. The Park is separated into three major attractions: Islands In The Sky, The Maze, and The Needles. However, each of these attractions requires it's own entrance to the park. Meaning unlike most National Parks, you can not drive through the whole park. This is not something I was aware of before, so you can imagine when I found out The Needles was going to take 4 HOURS from Islands In The Sky. So take some time looking into these attractions and various adventures around the area to decide which side of the park you want to visit, or plan really well to see them all in one day. 
  2. This park has some hiking and 4-Wheeling opportunities but he views are the main attraction. From the canyons to the mesas and even some arches breath taking views are all around you. The low number of visitors gives you the opptotunity take it all in - it's such a quite beautiful place to practice some peace.  
  3. The Maze is the lest accesiable part of the park so please ensure you have 4-Wheel Drive and a clear sense of where you are going. With limited roads and service it is imaportant to know all the information about the area before hand. 
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islands in the sky

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Islands In The Sky is the most accessible part of the park, and truly a sight to see. These beautiful lookouts showcase the miles of beautiful canyons the park has to offer. We came right at sunset and the colors were unbelievable. My pictures hardly do the sight justice, you could see detail for miles it seemed.  

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It was so amazing to be practically the only ones here. We stood on the edge overlooking the sunset in nothing but vast canyons. We saw a few others setting up cameras and enjoying a picnic, but other wise no one. That was something so special about this park. After just coming from Arches National Park that morning, the change of scenery and serenity were so nice. 

This lookout is called Islands In The Sky because of the various dips and turns in the canyons making it almost look like 'sunken islands' in my opinion!  There are over 7 overlooks all accessible by road in this part of the park, so take advantage of the new perspectives! If you want to hike and really explore, check out the Mesa Arch Trail. If you do make it to The Needles you have to check out The Loop! It is high on my list for next time.

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Getting to Canyonlands is a bit of a drive through the backcountry but it is all so beautiful, I promise it is worth it. Sometimes in life the road less traveled ends up being the best one. Canyonlands has so much to offer, I can't wait to come back and explore the Needles side. Standing at the Grand View Point Overlook you can see the Needles very faintly in the distance. Pictures remind me of the Hoodoos in Bryce, but maybe even more magical! I will just have to see for my self one day :) 

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Regardless if it's on your bucketlist to see all 59 US National Parks or not, Canyonlands should definitely be on your radar for travel plans :)

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