Thursday, October 9, 2014

Canyonlands National Park: East White Rim

October 6, 2014

Beautiful sunrise to start the day

The park at a “glance” - 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert.  Water and gravity have been the prime architects of this land, sculpting layers of sedimentary rock into the rugged landscape seen today.

Map showing the districts

The park is divided into four districts by the Green and Colorado rivers: the Island in the Sky, the Maze, the Needles, and the rivers themselves.  In addition to the Horseshoe Canyon that is detached from the district. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and adventure.  Before getting off the black-top, please make sure the road conditions are safe to travel and equipment requirements.

There are no roads within the park that directly link the districts.  They may appear close on a map, but traveling between them requires two to six hours by car as there are few places to cross the Colorado and Green rivers.  Most people find it impractical to visit more than one or two districts in a single trip.

We decided to start with district “Island in the Sky”, which most know as Canyonlands National Park.  This mesa area rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Every overlook offers a different perspective on the park’s spectacular landscape.  The Island is the easiest district to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive (about 34 miles round trip).  Or you can see its glory via hiking or 4-wheel-drive roads access the backcountry areas for day or overnight trips. 

DING, DING, DING ~ 4-wheel-driving roads and backcountry…the heck with black top and all the people! 

We flipped the jeep around and started our decent down into the canyon on the East side of White Rim road.  Within a mile into our decent we had to stop and soak in the views, while asking each other; “why have we never come here before”?  

Decent into the canyon country

 LOVE these kind of roads!

After further investigating the map and adding up the mileage markers, quickly we realized 100 miles was WAY out of our reach.  So, much to our dismay we would be returning the same way, but until then we drove, and drove, and drove fantasizing about making the whole trip around the canyons or at least to the Grand View Area --from Shafer Trail to Grand View its approximately 36 miles-- even  that just wasn’t possible on this trip. 

Green River Overlook

Spires with a Mesa in background


Sculpting layers of sedimentary rock with arch

We saw two men in these rock formations; watching over the canyon & a logger working on a stump

Finally around 3:30 p.m. we found a shaded area under a cliff and had lunch, before turning back to continue our 20 mile climb out…after all we were only driving an average of 10 miles per hour.  FINALLY we climbed our way out of the canyon, when Jerry said; well should we drive down to see what we were unable to see…the Grand View?   

Grand View

Needless to say after 40 miles in the backcountry and then another 24 on pavement, we were tucker out and ready to get home!! 

Jerry & Max taking a scroll out to the point

Max, how can I to that river below?

Captured Max posing while checking out the views

Me in awe of all the beauty

Ended our day with a full moon


We can say; “We will be back”, so until next time take care and help preserve this magical paradise if you happen to visit!  ~D

** can click on the highlight words to get more information and double click on the pictures to enlarge them.

1 comment: