The Five – Canyonlands

September 21st, 2013

Outdoor adventures, Travel

This fall is the perfect time to explore some (or preferably all) of Utah’s five national parks. They’ll be less crowded and cooler. So we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have decided to help motivate you. In this five-part mini-series blog we will focus on the best ways to explore these parks. The next national park on our hit-list is Canyonlands.

Canyonlands is actually the least-visited park in Utah. And because of proximity, it is often lumped together with Arches National Park. We think this is a shame; Canyonlands has so much to offer as its own destination. Here is a list some of the things you should do:

Go to the Island in the Sky – this is the northern region of the park. It is also the easiest to access. Start by driving the scenic route, and hiking to the Grand View Point. We also highly recommend Mesa Arch. This is the most iconic part of Canyonlands – and rightly so. (It is one of the greatest overlooks we’ve ever seen.) And, of course, check out Upheaval Dome. It looks like it sounds.

Visit the Needle District – there are many excellent hikes in the Needle District. However, some of the roads require a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle, (something you should plan on bringing anyway.) Chesler Park, Cave Spring, Confluence Overlook, and Roadside Ruin are all popular locations. We recommend you see Newspaper Rock, which is covered in ancient petroglyphs.

Drive Shafer Trail – if, like many people, you are planning on driving an off-road vehicle in Canyonlands, we recommend Shafer Trail. This narrow dirt road climbs through the park, providing amazing views. Only drive this trail if you have the proper equipment and experience.

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