librarian + adventurer



Canyonlands National Park is almost literally across the street from Arches. It's over 337,000 acres and features three different districts that are so spaced out, it's virtually impossible to visit the entire park in one day. The Maze District is the most remote part of the park, it is for experienced visitors who want to see the park in a way others cannot. People rarely spend less than three days in The Maze. The Needles District features long day hikes and opportunities to four-wheel through the canyons. The Island in the Sky District is the most accessible district, featuring short hikes and paved roads leading to overlooks of the canyons. The districts are not connected, so you have to leave the park and re-enter if you want to visit more than one. 

We made friends with two older couples while taking this picture and then saw them throughout the day - they had us carry messages between them and it was adorable.

Because we, 1. Are not experienced desert backcountry-ers, 2. Weren't particularly interested in four-wheeling that day, and 3. Only had a few hours in the park, we opted for Island in the Sky. We stopped at the visitors center for Passport Stamps, t-shirts, and to look at the park information before we headed down the road. We didn't have any huge hikes planned for this day, mainly because we still had a 5.5 hour drive home that afternoon, so our game plan was to stop at every possible overlook. 

When it's too hot to wear your boots but too sandy to just wear your chacos. (I eventually put the boots on)

More cairns. 

Shafer Trail (leads to White Rim Road) with two full sized jeeps for scale. This road used to be used for herding livestock, imagine making this climb/descent several times with hundreds of sheep in front of you.  

Cairn in a tree, because why not. 

We did to a very short hike to Mesa Arch. Its incredible to look out underneath of it and see canyons seemingly all the way to the La Sal Mountains. 

Checking out the sheer drop off below Mesa Arch. 

Under Mesa Arch

Also under the arch.

Mesa Arch is only about halfway on Grand View Point Road, so there were still a lot of stops for Logan and I to make till the end. 

For my birthday, mom and dad got me some AMAZING binoculars - it was awesome to see the canyons up close and in such detail. 

What I was binocular-ing

You have to protect your neck when it's ghost-white.

So proud of Logan for sitting here. 

After we reached Grand View Point and spent 20 minutes sitting and overlooking the canyon, we headed towards Upheaval Dome. I promptly fell sound asleep - it had been a rough night and it was hot and it had already been a long day. We ate our lunch of goldfish and uncrustables (kept delightfully frozen despite 100+ degree weather thanks to our yeti) and decided hitting the road was the best course of action. 

I want to spend more time in this incredible park, but preferably in the fall or spring. It was incredible and the canyons made me feel so small, I can't imagine something like the Grand Canyon. This was the best of weekends and I can't wait to go back to Moab when the weather is a little more on our side.