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 Canyonlands National Park

Utah

All Photographs Brian & Nancy Morganti


Canyonlands National Park 

 Island In The Sky & Needles Districts

Autumn 2015

September  28 - October 1, 2015

Nancy and I finally got the opportunity to revisit Canyonlands National Park located in east-central Utah.  We had visited many of the other nearby national parks quite a few years ago, but only briefly visited a few of the more popular vistas within the park's Island in the Sky District.  This time we wanted to spend several days exploring and hiking in both the Island in the Sky and Needles district, and visiting both is nearly impossible in the same day.  The weather was unseasonably warm for our entire visit with temperatures close to or above 90F each day which made hiking rather unpleasant.  Many of the 4x4 roads were closed for one reason or another, so we never got a chance to explore any of them.  The Shafer Trail and White Rim Road were open, but we simply ran out of time to venture onto those routes, but that is a good excuse for a possible return visit in the future!

Canyon Vista - Island in the Sky District:  A late afternoon view of the canyons and distant La Sal mountains as viewed across the street from the visitor center.   

 


White Rim Trail Overlook - View 1 - Island in the Sky District:.  A 30 minute hike along the White Rim Trail leads to his breathtaking view of the Monument Basin.  Part of the 100 mile long 4x4 White Rim Road is visible wrapping around the basin.

 


 

White Rim Trail Overlook - View 2 - Island in the Sky District:  A closer view of Monument Basin revealing more details in the fractured white rim caprock that protects the softer underlying rock below.


 

 

White Rim Trail Overlook - View 3 - Island in the Sky District:   The spires and mesas of Monument Basin extend from the views above, as does the White Rim Road. 

 


White Rim Trail Overlook - View 4 - Island in the Sky District:  Nancy captured this dizzying view from the precipice of a sheer rock face that descends over 700 feet to the canyon floor below. 

 


White Rim Trail  - Island in the Sky District:   We found this cluster of "mushroom-shaped" rocks while hiking along the scenic White Rim overlook trail. 

 


Grand View Point Overlook - Island in the Sky District:  A grand view of Monument Basin looking eastward at sunset from the one mile long Grand View Point Trail. 

 


Grand View Point Overlook Panoramic View - Island in the Sky District:   This panoramic view was taken well after sunset from the Grand View Point Trail and includes the entire Monument Basin area that extends into the left side of the image.  Notice how the lighting has changed in less than an hour from the image directly above!

 


  

Wilson Arch - Highway 191 South of Moab:  Pre-dawn light on Wilson Arch which is located about half-way between Moab, Utah and the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. 

 


Indian Creek Recreation Area:  One of the many pretty scenes found along UT Highway 211 that connects Highway 191 to the gateway of the Needles District of Canyonlands N.P.

 


Indian Creek Recreation Area - Six Shooter Peak:  A full moon adds to the scene of "Six Shooter Peak" which is still shaded by the deep canyon walls to its east which is contrasted by the fully illuminated mesas to its west. 

 


Chesler Park Trail - Joint near Elephant Canyon - Needles District :  Nancy poses on our way through a narrow rock joint along the Chesler Park Loop trail on our way to the Chesler Point Viewpoint. 

 


Needles & Mushrooms - Chesler Trail - Needles District:   A wonderful view of the Needles & Mushroom Rocks near the Chesler Trail Viewpoint, approximately 2.9 miles from the trailhead.

 


Chesler Park Viewpoint - Needles District A look into Chesler Park from the viewpoint.  This is the beginning of a 5 mile long loop trail around Chesler Park, and eventually ends where it begins back at this viewpoint.

 


Upper Elephant Canyon - Chesler Park Trail - Needles District A multitude of colorful rock outcroppings and spires extend into the upper Elephant Canyon region. 

 


Needles & Slickrock - Chesler Park Trail - Needles District Dry potholes dot the slickrock in front of a small rock cairn that marks the trail back to the Chesler Park trail head. 

 


Gorilla Rock - Chesler Park Trail - Needles District:  Not the official name of this interesting rock formation, but Nancy thought it resembled the face of a gorilla! 

 


Hamburger Rock - Chesler Park Trail - Needles District:   There are quite a few rock formations similar to this one found in and around Canyonlands National Park, but found this one rather interesting.

 


Parade of Elephants - Chesler Park Trail - Needles DistrictThis a head on view of the popular rock towers known as the "Parade of Elephants" which is found near the Chesler Park Trailhead. 

 


Shafer Canyon Overlook - "The Neck" - Island in the Sky District:  Looking east into the Shafer Canyon at Sunset from a narrow viewpoint known as "The Neck".  The 4x4 Shafer Trail Road can be seen heading east towards Moab along the canyon floor.

 


Green River Overlook - Sunset 1 - Island in the Sky DistrictLooking southeast from the overlook the Green River can can be seen winding its way through the Soda Springs Basin in the fading light after sunset.

 


Green River Overlook - Sunset 2 - Island in the Sky DistrictA closer view of the Green River and Soda Springs Basin area as viewed from the overlook well after sunset.

 


Green River Overlook - Sunset 3 - Island in the Sky DistrictThe surreal colors of the  Soda Springs Basin are revealed in the final glow of daylight as viewed from the Green River Overlook.

 


Holeman Spring Canyon - Dawn - Island in the Sky District:  A pre-sunrise panoramic look  from the Holeman Spring Basin overlook, one of the less visited areas of the park since the view is not really appreciated unless one is willing to take a short hike from the roadside.

 


Holeman Spring Canyon - Sunrise - Island in the Sky District:  The rising sun begins to illuminate a prominent butte that rises above the Holeman Spring Basin.  The Green River can be seen on the left side of this image.

 


Green River Overlook - Morning View - Island in the Sky District  A morning view of Soda Springs Basin and the Green River from the Green River Overlook, an entirely different look from the after sunset views featured above!

 


Candlestick Tower - Island in the Sky District:   A morning view of Candlestick Tower, the last of a series of buttes that extends westward from the Island in the Sky mesa.  

 


Buck Canyon - Island in the Sky District A morning view overlooking Buck Canyon which stretches eastward towards the La Sal mountains from the Island in the Sky mesa. 

 


Grand View Point - Island in the Sky District A view into the depths of the canyons from near the Grand View Point lookout.  Part of the 4x4 White Rim Road is visible running through the center of this image.

 


Grand View Point - Island in the Sky DistrictAnother nicely framed view looking into the canyon depths with the La Sal mountains visible in the distance.

 


Grand View Point - Island in the Sky District A nice depth of field view into Monument Basin from a rock precipice near the Grand View Point Overlook.

 


Grand View Point - Island in the Sky District:  Another one of Nancy's views from the canyon's edge near the Grand View Point overlook.

 


White Rim Trailhead - Island in the Sky District:  The shadow of the "Island in the Sky" mesa creeps eastward across the canyon floor as viewed from near the White Rim Trailhead parking area.

 


Shafer Canyon - Island in the Sky District:  The canyon appears to glow with its own light shortly after sunset.  The Shafer Trail Road  is clearly visible on the canyon floor.

 

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