The best way to view Canyonlands National Park is via hot air balloon with Canyonlands Ballooning at sunrise. If you are on a tight budget or just aren’t a morning person, driving through the park and hiking around is just as beautiful.
Canyonlands is split into three districts: The Needles, Island in the Sky, and The Maze. John and I started our driving tour from the Island in the Sky visitors center. As soon as we entered the park, we noticed a change in the environment; it became more desolate and windy the higher up we went.
Our first pull off was at the Shafer Canyon Overlook. We climbed all over the rocks and gazed out over the land debating how the canyons might've formed while scrutinizing the modern scientific explanations. After those conversations ended, we hopped back in the car and headed to mesa arch.
Mesa Arch is a smaller arch and had several families waiting for pictures, so we avoided the crowd and hiked off trail to the next peak over. We climbed up to the top to soak up the sun and spread out onto the white sandstone. Our thirst drove us from the peak, down onto the mesa arch trail, and out to the car.
Our next stop was the Grand View Point Overlook. There isn’t much exploring to do at this stop, but the view is magnificient. It overlooks miles of desert, far away rock spires, and old uranium mining roads.
Canyonlands is a park that we plan to come back to and spend more quality time in. There are lots of campsites in the park and plenty of trails in each of the three areas. We can’t wait to go back and experience more of Canyonlands National Park.