Canyonlands Utah

Canyonlands National Park stretches across 527 square miles. There are so many different types of topography as well as the Green and Colorado rivers running through and where the two rivers converge. Canyonlands is a 45 minute drive from Monticello so we have been fortunate to be able to explore the area often over the past few months but still haven’t seen but a tiny part of it. The western area, called Glen Canyon is rugged and accessible mostly by hiking trail or ATV. The hikes are multiple day hikes and we aren’t really into pup tents set up on rocky areas but if you are it would be an awesome place to go. We have visited the Needles District and Island in the Sky areas.

The first thing you see when entering Canyonlands Needles District is Newspaper Rock. It is a really cool thing to see. Couldn’t get the picture of the plaque to come out readable so here is what it says:

“Newspaper Rock is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records approximately 2,000 years of early human activity. Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo cultures, etched on the rock from B.C time to A.D. 1300. In historic times, Ute and Navajo people, as well as European Americans made their contributions.

In interpreting the figures on the rock, scholors are undecided as to their meaning or have yet to decipher them. In Navajo, the rock is called “Tse Hane” (Rock that tells a story).

Unfortunately, we do not know if the figures represent storytelling, doodling, hunting magic, clan symbols, ancient graffiti or something else. Without a true understanding of the petroglyphs, much is left for individual interpretation.

Newspaper Rock is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Please continue to preserve it.”

After leaving Newspaper Rock there is an area where climbers come from all over the place to climb. We pulled into the parking lot there to watch some of the climbers. Thanks to zoom lens we got some closer pictures of them.

After the rock climbers you will reach the payment booths and Welcome Center. Thanks to Bruce’s senior pass we don’t have to pay to enter.

The view from the parking lot of the Welcome Center

Next we decided to walk the Pothole Point Trail. The trail is over sandstone covered with potholes. There is life in these potholes, whether wet from rain or dry they ask that you not step in them so you don’t damage the micro-organisms. There are some great views of the Needles in the distance at the top of this trail.

Next along the drive is the Wooden Shoe Arch. We are constantly impressed by the shapes created by the wind, rain and changing temperatures in this area.

This is the “Wooden Shoe Arch”

The road ends at Slickrock Trail. The trail to the Confluence Overlook (where the Green and Colorado rivers converge) is an 11 mile round trip hike over pretty rough terrain. As much as we would like to see that we know our limitations and this hike is too much for us. Nevertheless, the scenery here is beautiful.

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