Although my visit to Canyonlands National Park lasted for only one sunset, it was very memorable. The timing was just right to see blooming cactus and the sun setting over Canyonlands National Park after a long day of hiking around Arches National Park.
Some of the most interesting aspects of human culture are represented at Canyonlands. It is common to see Puebloan handprint symbols on the rock walls of this park among dozens of species like Bighorn Sheep.
People have visited what is now Canyonlands National Park for over 10,000 years. Over time, many different groups have moved in and out of the area in concert with the availability of natural resources and the technology for exploiting those resources.
The geology, ecology, and history of this park is very unique, and because this is one of the most pristine parks in our nation, it is well-preserved and observed.
Canyonlands National Park preserves one of the last, relatively undisturbed areas of the Colorado Plateau, a geological province that encompasses much of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Carved out of vast sedimentary rock deposits, this landscape of canyons, mesas, and deep river gorges possesses remarkable natural features that are part of a unique desert ecosystem.
The foundation of Canyonlands’ ecology is its remarkable geology, which is visible everywhere in cliff profiles that reveal millions of years of deposition and erosion. These rock layers continue to shape life in Canyonlands today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains.
Known as a “high desert,” with elevations ranging from 3,700 to 7,200 feet above sea level, Canyonlands experiences very hot summers, cold winters and less than ten inches of rain each year. Even on a daily basis, temperatures may fluctuate as much as 50 degrees.
Here are some helpful resources for planning your trip to Canyonlands.
Canyonlands NP – Plan your trip guide