Canyonlands National Park
Updated: May 7, 2022
Canyonlands is a National Park of big views. There are no words to describe this National Park and we're going to show pictures mostly one at a time to give you the best views. Canyonlands was designated a national park by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The Green River and the Colorado River connect in Canyonlands. These two rivers have created amazing canyons and the bends are beautiful. The National Park Service website is https://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm where you can find maps and plan you visit further.
Every National Park is different. As we traveled through Utah, I had a moment of boredom as I had a feeling that all the National Parks were getting similar in my mind. The whole time we were in Utah I couldn't figure out the difference between Thor's Hammer (Bryce) and Balanced Rock (Arches). When at Canyonlands, we kept thinking we were looking at horseshoe bend. So, I took a moment to recognize how truly different all of these parks are..
Canyonlands National Park for us is all about the Shafer Trail and viewing lookouts. When we stayed in Moab all of our hikes were in Arches National Park. One of the reasons we decided to setup the truck for tow behind the motorhome was because of Canyonlands National Park. We knew that the Shafer Trail was an epic experience that we had to drive. When we planned our trip we took a lot of time to understand the trail on YouTube and other sites. We can safely tell you that any 4x4 pickup truck can make the drive. We were mostly concerned about our long wheel base and driving over spots that may have us bottom out. On the trail, we took a few spots at an angle to make sure we didn't put the whole front end into a dip at the same time. Otherwise, we just took it slow and enjoyed the bumpy ride.
Our route from Moab included taking a left onto 279 off of 191. This route took us along the Colorado River. 279 turns into Potash Road. Potash Road can be described as slow and painful. It is a very rocky road that if it is maintained we didn't notice. The road is named for a Potash plant along the route that can be seen from Dead Horse Point State Park. We recommend going to Dead Horse Point State Park to view the overlook first and see the drive and Potash facility from up above.
The most remote vault toilet we've found is on this trail. We were quite happy to find it. A few of us had to use it. Unfortunately, we didn't take a picture.
We like seeing the places we have been in movies. While I was preparing this post we watched Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul and noticed that there is a scene that starts in Arches National Park and then proceeds from Moab down 279 and ends up on Shafer Trail. Anyone who has been down that stretch of "road" knows a Shelby Mustang could never survive Potash or Shafer. Additionally, if they were driving from Detroit to California there is no need to be in any of those locations. I won't spoil how they get out of Canyonlands but where they go next also makes no sense. So, if you are in for a good action/race car movie that is relatively clean (swear words and some suggestive comments) for kids this was a hit for my family and we recommend it. We had fun watching these scenes and remembering our time in the Moab area. Click on the affiliate link above to rent or purchase from Amazon.
We hope we make it back to Moab someday. When we do our goal will be to experience more in Arches. However, we would like to go deeper into Canyonlands and experience more of this vast landscape with a closer perspective. We were up close and personal with Shafer Trail. The rest of our time in Canyonlands we looked from the viewpoints. We see many trails on the Canyonlands map from NPS. Our research also mentions many different species of wildlife. We would like to visit Canyonlands earlier in the day to see if we can see any bears, deer and bighorn sheep. We are happy to have gotten our time in Canyonlands and hope you enjoyed our summary. Let us know if you have any must see places to recommend or if you have any questions about our visit.