Canyonlands – Island in the Sky

On 5/21/15, my family and I visited Canyonlands – Islands in the Sky, near Moab, UT. The day was a little dreary, but that made for its own scenery in this National Park.

Our first stop was the visitor’s center. The photo below is from across the street from the visitor’s center.

After the visitor’s center, we drove to the Shafer Trail Overlook. From here, you can see into a large canyon, as well as trace Shafer’s Trail (also known as the White Canyon Rim Road), and see the jeeps and bicyclists winding their way down to the canyon floor.

We drove around some more. We have a habit of going to the farthest point and then working our way backwards. In this case, we had a picnic lunch near the end of the road, and then hiked up to the first overlook (0.8 miles) of the Upheaval Dome. Supposedly, this place was either a salt dome where the salt evaporated, and the dome collapsed, or a meteor impact. Even though the area is very round, there is not the overturning typically seen in a meteor impact. Also, the surface rebound in the center is significantly larger than Meteor Crater, even though the Meteor Crater was struck with a larger meteor. Anyway, our theory is that it was a salt dome that washed away.

After our hike here, we went to Panorama Point. From here, we could see a rainstorm completely soaking the edge of a canyon wall. The following photos show the progression of this rain shower as it moved towards us.

We also passed Candlestick Rock. I took photos of it from several angles as we stopped at different pull-offs along the road.

After that, we drove out of the rain and stopped at Mesa Arch. The arch is on the edge of a cliff, and will fall into the canyon someday. This one was difficult to photograph. It was only about 0.3 miles from the road, and there were always people on it or under it.

Around the park, there were tons of wildflowers due to all of the rain.

We tried to get to Dead Horse Point (Utah State Park), but it was closed before we arrived, so we drove back to Moab for the night.

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