I had wanted to go to Utah for a very long time. The pictures I had seen were amazing. Technically, we could have crossed Utah off our list just by going to the Four Corners Monument, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to see the amazing rock formations I had seen in pictures, so after Four Corners, we headed to Canyonlands National Park. Even the drive to the park was fascinating. If you use my itinerary from my ebook, you’ll follow this route too. Here’s a little of what you see along the way.
Canyonlands National Park is divided into four different districts by rivers that run through the park. There are no roads or bridges that connect the districts, so it takes hours to drive between districts. What that means for visitors is that you must be strategic in your planning. Because we approached the park from the south, we planned to visit The Needles District the first day and the Island in the Sky District the second day, bypassing the harder-to-reach Maze district and Horseshoe Canyon. We stayed on track the first day, but the second day we made an impromptu change of plans and we never did make it to Island in the Sky.
Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we learned about the type of rock formations in the park.
We also got a hiking trail recommendations from a park ranger. We decided on the Slickrock Foot Trail. This trail starts in a part of the park with a lot of mushroom formations.
The 2.4-mile trail is known for its expansive viewpoints. There are side trails to four viewpoints along the way. The views are amazing. You can see for miles and miles.
I read that bighorn sheep are frequently spotted on this trail. We looked down into the canyons, hoping for a glimpse of one, but we didn’t see any. The canyons themselves were stunning on their own.
This is one of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever been on.
It was designated as an “Easy” hike, but there were enough rock formations for my kids to climb on to keep them happy.
The rock formations and views were the main points of interest, but not the only ones. Check out this twisted tree.
Another interesting thing to note about this trail is that much of it traversed vast expanses of rock; it wasn’t a dirt trail through the woods. The trail was marked by cairns–small piles of rocks. You can see a couple of them in this picture.
We lost the trail only once.
OK, just a few more pretty pictures.
You can barely see the Needles formations in the distance in this picture.
We didn’t get very close to the Needles on this trail, but there were other trails that got much closer. After we got back to the trailhead, we finished driving the scenic drive and got some great views of mushroom rock formations.
We were able to get up close to a couple of them.
So, so pretty! Can you see why I fell in love with this place?
Ready to visit?
Canyonlands National Park
Open year-round, 24 hours a day, see website for Visitor Center Hours
Entrance fees: $10 per vehicle
This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.