Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

5 Things to See in Canyonlands

1. BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE
Canyonlands National Park provides ample hiking opportunities from the sheer cliffs of the Island in the Sky district, the colorful spires of the Needles district and remote back country primitive terrain of the Maze. Back country areas require permits, planning, resources and time. Reservations during peak season are highly recommended. The area surrounding the park in Utah's Canyon Country includes more than 7,000 miles of unpaved, gravel, dirt or native surface roads ready to explore. The hot summer months are best spent above 8,000 feet where roads wind through aspen and pine forests and trails meander through meadows of wildflowers. Spring, fall and winter offer rides over desert routes via auto, 4-wheel drive, ATV and bicycle. San Juan ATV Riders sponsor a safari in September. Wherever you wander, maps are a must. Call 800-574-4386 or go to www.utahscanyoncounry.com.

2. RELICS OF THE PAST
Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum is the site of an ancestral Pueblo ruin. The modern museum offers visually stunning and thought-provoking exhibits that bring American Indian culture to life. Rare and well-preserved artifacts will delight visitors and an exceptional pottery collection makes this one of the finest museums in the Four Corner region. Changing exhibits are presented throughout the year. Call 435-678-2238 or go to www.stateparks.utah.gov.

3. WINTER WONDERLAND
Whether snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling in the national forests, explore and enjoy the winter months in San Juan County. Hot air balloons light up the night skies over Bluff during the third weekend in January at the annual International Balloon Festival. The high-country may be buried in snow but Bluff, Mexican Hat and Monument Valley offer hiking, ATV adventures, trail rides and auto tours.

4. SAND CASTLES IN STONE
The formations of Monument Valley are timeless skyscrapers sculpted in stone. Explore on your own by traveling a 14-mile loop road through the Valley. Or take a guided tour into the interior and enjoy narrated stories about the local culture. Navajo food and authentic arts and crafts are available at the Navajo Tribal Park and Gouldings Lodge. Tours leave the park headquarters and the lodge throughout the day. The Monument Valley Visitor Center is located at the main intersection in the valley and offers information about the park and the entire area. Gouldings Lodge offers a museum of the original trading post and the many movies which have been made in the valley.

5. OUT IN THE WILDS
Grand Gulch Primitive Area offers a glimpse into the Basketmaker and Pueblo periods of ancient dwellers of the high desert. Travel is restricted to horseback or hiking. Access from Kane Gulch Ranger Station requires a five-hour round trip hike. The Area is located on Cedar Mesa, southwest of Blanding. Other canyons are accessible on Cedar Mesa for hiking.

CONTACT: Utah's Canyon Country, PO Box 490, Monticello, UT 84535, (435) 587-3235, Ext: 4139 or (800) 574-4386, Ext. 4139 or visit ww.utahscanyoncountry.com.