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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Visiting Canyonlands National Park, one of Utah’s Mighty 5, is an immersive experience full of colorful high desert scenery and millions of years of sculpted magnificence. Whether you’re stopping for a few hours while in Moab or planning a weeklong adventure, Canyonlands offers everything from spectacular overlooks and culture to hiking, off-roading, and camping.

The park’s four districts—Island in the Sky, The Maze, The Needles, and the Colorado River and its tributaries—are bundled into 337,598 acres, making it the largest of Utah’s National Parks. Its size, remote and rugged location, and harder to access backcountry canyons, trails, and geological wonders make it Utah’s least visited, as well. So, while most road trippers are exploring the state’s more famous, perhaps easier explored parks, take advantage of a lack of crowds during your visit. This photo journey will help show you why there’s never been a better time to visit Canyonlands National Park.

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1. Gorgeous sunsets

Dramatic overlooks in the Island in the Sky district offer accessible, yet less crowded, and just as Instagrammable views at sunset as you’ll see in any park in America.

2. Eye-catching arches

You don’t have to visit neighboring Arches National Park to see spectacular stone arches. Mesa Arch’s cliffside perch in the Island in the Sky district is famous for a reason.

3. Those canyons

Nature’s handiwork sculpted Canyonlands into a ruggedly beautiful landscape in Utah’s southeast high desert. You could spend a lifetime exploring the park and still not see or do all the things it offers.

4. Peaceful solitude

With hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore, many leading deep into the rugged backcountry, trekking here means nary another tourist in sight.

5. Four-wheeled adventures

Technical four-wheel-drive trails provide adventuresome explorers even less visited campsites, trailheads, and viewpoints.

6. Blankets of colorful wild flowers

Blooming spring wildflowers are a beautiful reminder of adaptability and survival in this rich desert ecosystem.

7. Photogenic light and natural structures

Sunset colors casting deep reddish-orange hues upon sandstone features are a photographer’s playground.

8. Unspoiled terrain

The more time you spend here, the more it feels like you’re following in the footsteps of the nomadic hunter-gatherers who first visited the area over 10,000 years ago.

9. Vestiges of Puebloan culture

Signs of the once-thriving Ancestral Puebloans can still be seen in butte-side granaries that once stored precious water, seeds, and food.

10. Just you and the views

Oftentimes the most overwhelming sensation in the park is a calming, supreme silence.

11. Scenic mesa trails

The iconic .9-mile Shafer Trail provides a 1,500-foot white-knuckle descent for vehicles. For hikers, it’s a less-harrowing quiet stroll along a route made by Native Americans to access resources on the mesa top.

12. Always more to explore

Sunsets views unfolding in rearview mirrors at the end of the day are stark reminders of why you visited and that you’ll return for more one day.


Tagged: National Parks, Utah

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