The Hidden Secrets of Canyonlands National Park

 

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Most visitors perceive Canyonlands National Park as a barren land located at the southwestern side of Moab, Utah. However, what most visitors don’t know is that the canyons and plateaus seen in Canyonlands National Park are made by the power of the Colorado and Green River.

Due to the presence of these two rivers, Canyonlands National Park is considered to be one of the most difficult white water rapids in the world. This is further enhanced by the fact that there are some places of the park that are only reached by going straight down from the top of the mesa. Another way to reach some segments of Canyonlands National Park is through the Island in the Sky district by using a scenic route.

Camping and Water Sources

Some of the more popular photogenic spots during the drive are the Mesa Arch, the Upheaval Dome, Grand View Point, and Green River Overlook. Campers planning to enjoy the beauty of the Canyonlands National Park can stay at the Willow Flat Campground, which has 12 camp sites and vault toilets. The problem with this campground is that the camper has to bring along not only firewood but also potable water since there is no water source.

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Biking and 4×4 Adventures

Canyonlands National Park is also a good recreational area for those planning a more adventurous trip such as mountain biking and four-wheel driving. The White Rim Trail route is the most popular path for these adventurous seekers since it is only 100 miles long. However, the main requirement for these adventure seekers is that they will need to bring along potable water since there are no water sources along the route.

Hiking Trails

The Canyonlands National Park is perfect for various types of hikers, which include day trippers to experienced multi-day trekkers. Some of the more popular trails are Squaw Canyon Loop, Chesler Park Loops, Cave Spring, Aztec Butte Trail, and Elephant Canyon to Druid Arch. One of the most spectacular trails recommended for experienced hikers in Canyonlands National Park is the Squaw Canyon Loop Trail since it goes from one canyon to another. The problem with this trail is that most hikers will need to climb the slickrock ridge, which is perceived to be the more dangerous section of the trail since it passes through exposed drop-offs. The total length of the trail is 7.5 miles from end to end and has a reliable water source, which is the Big Spring. Taking potable water along is considered to be a good suggestion since most of the trail are over barren slickrock.

Outdoor Recreation Activities in Arches National Park

 

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Some of the most beautiful natural sceneries are found in the Arches National Park since it has the largest number of natural stone arches in the world at over 2,000. The structures in Arches National Park are composed of pinnacles, spires, fins, balanced rocks, and arches amid a startling background of a red and arid desert.

The Arches National Park is located at southeast of Utah near the town of Moab. Regular visitors are thrilled with new discoveries since the arches are scattered through the park. One of the most popular arches in the Arches National Park is the delicate arch since it only requires the tourist to make a 3 mile hike to reach its base. However, one of the most spectacular and difficult to finish is the fiery furnace path since it requires a park guide. The reason for this is due to the numerous dead ends and narrow passages of the labyrinth path as well as going through numerous large sandstone boulders and towering canyons.

Camping

Camping is a good nature activity offered by Arches National Park with the main campground located at Devils Garden. Campground benefits is that it has potable water, pit-style grills, and flush toilets for those planning friend or family type trips. The campground is a good base to explore the Arches National Park since it has a scenic and majestic background while overlooking the landscape arch.

Basic Hikes

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Some of the most basic hikes are those in the east side of Arches National Park where Balanced Rock is located. The advantage of hiking these trails is that there is no elevation change while giving a close up view of the Turret Arch, Double Arch, The Windows, and The Parade of Elephants. The most photogenic and interesting of these arches is the Parade of Elephants since it looks as if a herd of elephants are walking in single file and holding each other’s tail. The Double arch is another spectacular structure since it was developed using downward water erosion when compared to the other arches that are developed with side-to-side water erosion.

Rock Climbing

Due to the number of arches found in Arches National Park these are considered to be a good destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. However, most of these arches are considered to be only allowable for advanced climbers using established trails. The reason using established trails is that no permanent climbing hardware is allowed to be installed to protect the arches from physical damage.

 

Wendover Zion National Park

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Coasting along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, you will immediately see why this road was named as such: the view is indeed scenic. With wild flora sprouting out of spectacular towering cliffs, interspersed every now and then by sights of surreal geological landscapes, it’s no wonder why Wendover Zion National Park is a favorite destination by visitors looking for some time with nature.

Bound by the cities of Springdale, Ordervi, and Cedar City in Utah, Wendover Zion National Park is an expansive park that covers a total land area of 146,597 acres. It is an important geological spot and a historic area that has been home to Native Americans for 8,000 years.

Canyon walls, high plateaus, sandstone canyons, rock towers, and spectacular gorges are just some of the geographical features that make Wendover Zion National Park a great starting point for adventures with the family and friends. The park has a total of nine formations that are a product of natural sedimentation processes that started as far back as 150 million years ago. To this day, these same processes continue to shape the geological features of Wendover Zion National Park.

Some of the most visited spots at the Wendover Zion National Park include the Temples and Towers of the Virgin, the Kolob Terrace, Kolob Canyons, and Checkerboard Mesa. Some of these places were the subject of the lenses of famed photographer Ansel Adams.

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Unlike the usual practice in other parks where guests stay at the rim to take a panoramic view of the entire place, the norm for many visitors at the Wendover Zion National Park is to go down on the canyon floor. From the bottom, they then look up to behold a majestic view of the surrounding monoliths and cliffs.

When at the Wendover Zion National Park, make sure to drop by the Zion Human History Museum. Orientations about the park, its history, and features are done here twice an hour. Exhibits about human activity in the park are also on display here.

Otherwise, guests to Wendover Zion National Park are treated to a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. These include climbing, canyoneering, backpacking, as well as hiking along any of the park’s excellent trails. The most famous of these trails is called The Narrows, which traverses the North Fork of the Virgin River. This 16-mile off-trail affords magnificent views of towering rock walls and clear river water.

The Beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park


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The Bryce Canyon National Park is considered to be one of the most spectacular views of Utah due to the numerous carved spires that are scattered in the entire park. The beauty of the carved spires is further enhanced by the hue of the soil and structure, which is considered to be pink in color resulting in the area being deemed as the Pink Cliffs. The carved spires in the bottom of the canyon are naturally made by the effect of water, wind, and natural calamities.

The best area to visit is the Bryce Amphitheater in Bryce Canyon National Park since it has a higher number of spire structures. Another reason for its popularity is that it is the conveniently located at the southwest corner of the park visitor center of the Bryce Canyon National Park. Most guests of the Bryce Lodge have a better view of the spires since it is located in the canyon rim above the amphitheater of the Bryce Canyon National Park.

For visitors who are planning a more rugged natural experience, the closest campground is the Sunset Campground, which is an easy walking distance at the western side of the park visitor center. Some of the more popular viewpoints of the amphitheatre area of Bryce Canyon National Park are the Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point. Each of these viewpoints are considered to be good photo opportunities especially during sunrise and sunset since the movement of the sun enhances the intensity of colors.

Some of the most striking photos of Bryce Canyon National Park are during late evening and early morning. And yet when these striking photos are compared yearly, there is a gradual change in the landscape since softer spots have eroded to form a more interesting shape. For the more adventurous visitors, there are various trails leading to Fairyland Point, which can take an average individual 2-3 hours. The advantage of this hike is that the visitor will be able to view the Bryce Canyon National Park at a higher elevation of 1,754 feet.

Some hikers prefer to see the hoodoos or spires up close by following several trails to Bryce Amphitheater. But the easiest in Bryce Canyon National Park is still the Queens Garden trail, which starts from Sunrise Point to below the Bryce Rim. Some of the more strange rock formations are named by visitors as Queen Victoria and Queens Castle.

 

 

Grand Canyon

 

The Grand Canyon in the United States counts as one of the nation’s most popular destinations for both American and foreign visitors – and for good reasons, too. The surreal, almost out-of-this-world landscapes are an enduring reminder of both the beauty and incredible power of nature. Many visitors describe an overwhelming sensation upon seeing the canyon, while others consider a visit to this place as a humbling experience.

The beauty of Grand Canyon is that it appeals to all ages. Visitors troop to this place for all sorts of reason: for leisure, for educational purposes, to cross it out from a personal bucket list of sorts, and to have some time to think. But no matter the reason, a trip to the canyon is bound to become an experience worth remembering.

Shaped in large part by the mighty Colorado River, the Grand Canyon measures 277 miles long and 18 miles wide. It is the product of various natural forces, including changes in elevation, power of oncoming water, and volcanic eruptions that happened over millions of years.

Kane County in Utah is often dubbed as the Gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is 8,000 feet above sea level. It is a little far as opposed to the more accessible South Rim, but less crowds mean a more personal experience and greater chances for solitude.

Bright Angel Point is the best spot in the North Rim to take a view of the Grand Canyon.

Cape Royal is where you go to get a view of the Colorado River, while Point Imperial is the highest point in the park

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Visitors to the Grand Canyon have a lot of different activities to choose from. Among these activities include hiking along unique trails and taking part in whitewater rafting. If you want to get a better sense of what you are seeing, taking a guided tour is your best bet. For a totally different view of the canyon, there are a handful of companies that offer flightseeing tours. Looking down at the Grand Canyon and seeing the expansiveness of the entire place is an experience that is at once exciting and humbling.

If you want to get closer to the Colorado River, one of the principal forces that shaped the Grand Canyon, you can take a unique ride atop a mule. And since there is no light pollution within the immediate surroundings, the Grand Canyon is also the perfect spot for stargazing.

Relax in Lake Powell

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Spanning the borders of Utah and Arizona, Lake Powell is a major man-made reservoir of the Colorado River and is famous for being visited by over 2 million people each year. Lake Powell is also the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States.

A Brief History

Named after the one-armed veteran of the Civil War John Wesley Powell, Lake Powell was created due to the flooding of the Glen Canyon. Now, it is one of the most popular summer destinations in the United States making it the ultimate playground for kids and kids at heart alike. Once there, you can rent your own houseboat and be treated to a variety of activities that will surely make you happy and excited. Low water levels have also brought forth a couple of new beaches that you could frolic in.

The Canyons

Lake Powell is also divided into a couple of canyons and bays, which are not only beautiful but are also great to stay in. Some of these canyons/bays are:

  • Wahweap Bay. This place is perfect for water-boarding and skiing and is also ideal for paddle-boating and kayaking.
  • Bullfrog Bay. This is the major Lake Powell destination for sandy beaches and bird-watching and is a great place to be in the middle of the city without all the noise.
  • Padre Bay. The biggest bay in Lake Powell which is also the house of monuments such as Cookie Jar Butte, Tower Butte and Domingues Butte, as well.
  • Navajo Canyon. The only canyon with a view of the Colorado River and is full of shaded and eroded beds of soil.
  • The Escalante. The Escalante is famous for being Utah’s biggest kayaking point. Not only that, there are also some man-made amphitheaters where you can relax and enjoy under the sun. Fishing is also quite popular in this area.
  • Good Hope Bay. Lake Powell’s “Secret” site for wakeboarding, kayaking and tubing, as well.
  • Iceberg Canyon. What makes Iceberg Canyon different from its contemporaries is that it is full of lush greeneries, ruins and dams that are surely a sight to see and that you’ll certainly appreciate.

Aside from visiting these bays and canyons in Lake Powell, you may also enjoy eating hotdogs and ice cream at Dangling Rope, hike to Hole in the Rock, and check out the fascinating Annie’s Crack which is known for its resemblance to the caves in the Indiana Jones movies, too.

 

Check out Moab Monument Valley

Full of Sandstone buttes which are the largest ones in the world, Utah’s Moab Monument Valley, also called the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, is found in the Colorado Plateau and is a great place for hiking, trekking, and even shooting films. When people think of the American West or Western movies, the scenic Moab Monument Valley always comes to mind.

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What to do in the area

Upon visiting Moab Monument Valley, you may pay an access fee to drive along the park and check out Mystery Valley, one of the best areas for sightseeing in the world. Mystery Valley is named as such because it is as if it’s a hidden gem as it cannot be seen at first glance. Spines, mesas, and Anasazi Ruins are also prominent in the area. You may also see the Hunts Mesa, which can be found at the southeastern edge of Moab Monument Valley and is famous for its many sand dunes.

Perfect for Location Shoots

As said earlier, the Moab Monument Valley has been used as a location for a lot of films in the past and present. Movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones, Lone Ranger, After Earth, The Great American West, Con-Air, Thelma and Louise, Rio Grande, and Warlock, amongst others have all shot on location in Moab Monument Valley because of the great topography of the area. When you visit the place, you may also check out locations where these films have been shot, such as Potash Lower Colorado Scenic Blueway, Dead Horse Point Blueway, North Highway 191 and South Highway 191, as well. Guided tours are available for your convenience and so that you can learn more about the said locations. A film museum is also located in Moab Monument Valley where you can see artifacts, props and costumes from films that have been shot there. If you are a movie buff or if you love history, then this certainly is the place for you to see.

Brand new scenery

Aside from the fact that a lot of films have been shot in Moab Monument Valley, you’ll also get to enjoy awesome Navajo cuisine in the many restaurants located around the area plus get to buy some arts and crafts from the locals, as well. If you’re looking for something fun to do during your vacation and get a glimpse of Utah’s arts and culture, check out Moab Monument Valley because you certainly won’t regret it.

Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase.

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The Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase is one of the many National Monuments that is located in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Utah. Because of the stair-like sequence of sedimentary rocks that are prominent in the area from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park, Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase is likened to a great staircase made by men, when in truth, it’s a natural formation and that’s why it is quite pleasing and magnificent to see.

A Profound History

One of the things that make Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase special is the fact that large dinosaur skeletons were discovered in the area in the late 1880’s. This makes the belief in dinosaurs even more real and since then, excavators and archaeologists always frequent the area to check for more relics of fossils from years gone by.

The Three Regions

The Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase monument is divided into three sub-regions, which are:

  • Canyons of the Escalante. Made from landforms brought upon by erosion from the Escalante River, this region is vast in Canyon walls, domes, arches, pedestals and water pockets and extends over 1500 square miles. The famous Aquarius Plateau, one of the best land formations in Utah, is also located here.
  • Grand Staircase. This is one of the most talked about regions of Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase as is boasts of rock formations such as the White Cliffs, Pink Cliffs, Gray Cliffs, Chocolate Cliffs and Vermilion Cliffs which makes for great picture-taking sessions as they are all colorful and full of ridges. These unique cliffs are some of the most visited places in Utah.
  • Kaiparowits Plateau. Another elevated landform located in Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase, this one is totally visible from the skyline and always gets the attention and admiration of many. Many sandstone flat formations are also seen in this area of the Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase.

 

What to do in the area

You’ll never get bored while at the Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase. Aside from seeing cliffs and great topography, you can also go hiking at Lower Calf Creek Falls, or explore the canyons in Hole in the Rock Road. Groups can check out centers Escalante, Cannonville or Big Water for promos and tours. Thrill-seekers and mountain climbing enthusiasts will surely love Flaming Gorge Grand Staircase, and you certainly will, too. A visit to the area will remind you how beautiful Utah is and how great and important rock formations are.

Social Activities in Park City

 

Park City is only 35 minutes by car from Salt Lake City but its ambience is perceived to be significantly different from the main city. This is due to the fact that Park City was previously known as a main mining town of the United States. However, it is now considered as a trendy winter spot. One of the most popular places for tourists is the Main Street of the Historic Old Town since it houses a collection of the most prestigious art galleries as well as gift stores, restaurants, and boutiques; though most of the visitors have a more difficult time walking the main street because they are sprawled across a span of over 7,000 meters.

Winter Fun

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Sports enthusiasts consider Park City as a good place to visit especially during the winter season. This is because most visitors of the city are playing winter sports at the three world-class ski resorts located nearby. One of the most popular is Deer Valley since it caters to both amateur and professional skiers due to the variety of runs as well as a no snow-boarder rule. Deer Valley was the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics since the highest elevation is at 2,920 meters while its base is at 2,000 meters.

Most of the Park City visitors are normally seen at the various ski slopes of the resorts during the day but the nightlife is nothing to sneeze at. This is due to the numerous restaurants that cater to the different palates of food enthusiasts, which includes the classic hamburgers to gourmet creations.

Sundance Fever

2004 Sundance Film Festival

However, the popularity of Park City is due to the fact that it hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival during January. This is considered to be a significant week residents of Park City and celebrity fans since popular actors and actresses are seen strolling the streets. Celebrity buffs can even eat in the same restaurants with their favorite actor, actress, or director.

But what makes it a treat for Park City residents and visitors is the chance to see independent films developed by young filmmakers. The independent films are not only limited to domestic filmmakers but also international ones as well. Unfortunately, a majority of the submitted films are rejected since only 200 of the best films will be shown during the Sundance Festival. Thus, new and talented directors make it a point to visit Park City during the festival.

 

Information about the Moab Monument Valley

Nothing conjures up the classic American West landscape other than the sights at the Moab Monument Valley. Thanks in large part to Hollywood, the giant buttes at this park have been forever ingrained in our collective consciousness as the very embodiment of West and everything it stands for.

It started in 1949 in the city of Moab in Utah when John Ford used the area during the production of his film, “Wagon Master.” Since then, many Westerns have been shot against the backdrop of the Moab Monument Valley.

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The Moab Monument Valley sits on the border of Arizona and Utah state line. It is situated at the Navajo Nation on the Colorado Plateau, and is accessible via Highway 163. It is best known for its giant and imposing sandstone buttes that create a dramatic natural skyline, particularly when you are driving toward it.

It is important to note that the Moab Monument Valley is not a US national park. Instead, it is a Navajo Tribal park that charges $20 per car with four passengers. An additional $10 is charged for each extra person.

Vast and scenic, the sights at Moab Monument Valley can be seen along the unpaved loop road. Guests are not allowed to deviate from this course unless they hire a Navajo guide at an additional cost to reach places like the Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa. Depending on how fast you drive, this loop can be easily covered in under an hour. But most guests usually take a longer time than that in order to stop and appreciate the gorgeous views at Moab Monument Valley.

Climate at the Moab Monument Valley is typically marked by very cold winters and very hot summers as is typical in most desert environments. The place also has a unique flora and fauna that thrive even in the midst of extreme weather conditions.

Guests coming to the Moab Monument Valley have a couple of choices to choose from to while away time. One of the unique ways to get closer to the buttes and see how huge these rock formations are is through horseback riding. Saddle up and explore the rugged beauty of the Moab Monument Valley up close.

Otherwise, you can also choose to take a walking tour. So far, there is only one approved trail for walking, and this is the Wildcat Trail. This unpaved trail measures 3.1 miles and affords a more intimate view of the buttes.