The Canyonlands National Park near Moab offers some of the most stunning natural scenery in the country. This impressive area introduces you to rock formations and features you simply can’t find anywhere else.
In this post, we explore some of the sights you should visit if you happen to be in the area.
Many people who visit the Canyonlands National Park are surprised to discover that it was once home to the Aztec civilization. Early settlers ventured north over a thousand years ago and temporarily settled in the park.
The most famous site is the Aztec Butte. It’s around 250 feet in elevation and accessible from surrounding trails. When you arrive, you’ll find small stone houses built into enclaves under the rocks. You’ll also find some ancient stone granaries that ancient inhabitants once used to protect their food supplies.
White Rim Overlook
Those looking for spectacular views should check out White Rim Overlook. It’s an elevated section of canyon that looks over lower-lying areas and onto mountains in the distance.
The loop takes around an hour to complete. And, because it is mainly on the plateau itself, there is relatively little elevation, making it a good place for beginners and families.
Whether it is better than Grand View Point trail is debatable. You’ll get impressive views from both.
Buck Canyon Overlook
If you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, then you’ll want to check out Buck Canyon Overlook. It tends to attract fewer tourists, but still offers impressive views of the canyonlands and natural rock formations.
Mera Arch is perhaps the most famous geological feature of the Canyonlands National Park and something you must see on Moab family vacations. The sheer size of the arch is what makes it impressive. From the top, it is more than a 1,200-foot drop to the floor of Buck Canyon below. Visitors can see land features for miles around, including the La Sal Mountains and the White Rim in the distance.
Getting to Mesa Arch is surprisingly easy. From the carpark, it is just an 0.5-mile loop taking, perhaps, 30 minutes to complete.
Because the sight is so famous, expect it to be busy when you arrive. If you can, try to get there early to avoid the crowds.
Grand View Point
Whether Grand View Point offers the most spectacular views of the Canyonlands is debatable. However, if you decide to make the trip, it won’t disappoint you. The view from the top is allegedly where the Canyonlands gets its name. From the ridge, you can see the Needles district of the park, the Green River and the Colorado River.
Shafer Canyon trail offers a classic canyon trail taking you through some of the most rugged territory in the park. It’s close to the Shafer road – a semi-paved strip that snakes its way down the side of the canyon in a series of breakneck hairpin bends. Those interested in exploring the area more fully should go on a 4X4 day tour.