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Monday, June 13, 2011

Canyonlands National Park

After stopping and seeing the Dinosaur Tracks, it was naptime.  We had planned on going to Arches, but decided to detour to Canyonlands since it was a longer drive and it would give the little one in the back seat a chance to get some rest.  I'd never been to Canyonlands before, so it was a good detour.  Canyonlands has 3 main areas: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze.  In between each area are large rivers and steep dropoffs, making it impossible to access one area directly from another.  We visited the Island in the Sky District. 
Our first stop was at Mesa Arch.  You've seen the iconic pictures before of Mesa Arch.  Many of them are taken at sunrise or sunset.  The arch looks over an array of ledges, dropoffs, and spires.  We visited about lunchtime, and ended up with some pictures that an average tourist would take.  The arch is pretty impressive.  I'd always wondered about getting below the arch, so I took a look.  It's several hundred feet down and not an option I'd recommend. 
The Mesa Arch hike is about 1/2 mile round trip. I'd say it's accessible to almost anybody that can walk.  
 Our next stop was at Upheaval Dome.  I was pretty impressed with Upheaval Dome.  It's a little over 1 mile (roundtrip) from the parking lot to the first overlook.  The park indicates that it's a strenuous hike.  Whatever. They just say that to keep people from doing it in flip-flops or heels. 

After the two hikes, the little one was still tired, so we drove around the park and looked at the different overlooks before continuing on to Arches. 
Nearest City: Moab, UT
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: Varies
Difficulty: Variable Easy-Difficult
Kid Friendly: Yes and No, depending on what you are doing.  There are some pretty big dropoffs here.
Additional Info: $10/vehicle fee to get into the park

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