Road Trip to Utah - Part 5 - Canyonlands

We both woke up rather early since we had fallen asleep rather early the night before. The plan for the day was to take in as much of Canyonlands National Park as we could in one day. Neither of us like to rush our visits to anywhere, especially a national park, but we wanted to see Arches National Park the next day and had reservations for a guided 4-wheelin' adventure and rock-crawlin' the day after that and Michael had to be back home in 4 days so we had to make the best of it.

I made a cup of coffee in the motel room, but only drank half of it and made a mental note to not do that again. After another breakfast at Love Muffin (a big slice of yummy fresh Banana Bread and a good cup of coffee which I drank all of and wouldn't have minded another), we headed back up Main Street/Hwy 191 for 11 miles to once again turn left on Hwy 313, but this time, we drove on past the turn to Dead Horse Point. About 19 miles after turning onto the highway, we arrived at the northern entrance of the park. 

The entrance fee is $25 per car, which I consider very reasonable for the sheer awesomeness of the park. However, if you are an American citizen aged 62 or more, you qualify for what I think is the absolute best senior discount ever, the National Park Senior Pass. This pass gets you and everyone in your car free entry into any National Park plus a 50% discount on other fee's within the park like camping, tours, transportation and on some concessions. The pass is also recognized by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Corps of Engineer parks. And the cost? How about a one time fee of $10! For me, my National Park Senior Pass is one of the best things about getting old!

Breaking out my Senior Pass, the Ranger welcomed us with a friendly smile, provided maps and park information, invited us to have a nice visit and waved us on in. Driving down Grand View Point Road, we entered the park and soon came to Island In The Sky Visitor Center. Of course we had to stop to buy park t-shirts (yes, I now have a pretty large collection of shirts from most of the highlight places I've been - "been there, done that, got the t-shirt!") and little knick-knacks to bring back for the girls we left at home. 

To say we enjoyed our visit to Canyonlands would be an understatement. To be honest, this park might not be for everybody. The land is a maze of rock layers and dirt that are the products of erosion by ancient rivers and seas that once covered the region. The climate is dry, vegetation sparse. Deep canyons and sheer cliffs dominate. I have a long-time close friend, my "brother-from-another-mother" who I would not trade for the world, but he likely would not be crazy about this place. He calls land like this a "desiccated, wasted land." If it doesn't have trees and greenery, he's not a fan.

In quiet contemplation
For me though, I love the sparseness and rugged starkness. To me, it's a place of beauty and wonder perfect for calm introspection and relaxation. I always come away feeling peaceful and relaxed; contentment in my soul. I found it to be one of those all too few places that when you leave, part of you wants to tell everyone about it, but part of you wants to tell no one.

One day is not near enough time to see all there is to see. The two short hikes we took only served to expose the vastness and glories of the park. I'll be back and next time, you can be sure it will be for multiple days with no set deadline for leaving.

So many places and such little time! Lord, why couldn't I have been born rich with nothing to do but travel and see the world's wonders? I'm not sure even a full lifetime would be enough.

View point from Island In The Sky
The awesome Rim Trail we drove


Feeling small in the vastness


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