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Cedar Mesa
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     Mule Canyon Ruin
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     S.Fork Mule
   Lime Canyon
   Road Canyon
     7 Kiva Ruin
     N. Fork Road
   Slickhorn Canyon
   John's Canyon
   Arch Canyon
   Walnut Knob

Comb Ridge
  Procession Panel
  Wolfman Panel
  Upper Butler Wash
    Butler Wash Ruin
    Ballroom Cave
    Target Ruin

Canyon of the Ancients
  Lowry Pueblo
  Ruin Canyon
  Montezuma Creek

San Juan River
  16 Room House
  Sand Island Panel

Canyonlands N.P.
  Island In The Sky District
     Aztec Butte

Hovenweep N.M.

Other Cool Places
  Little Westwater Ruin
  Moki Dugway
  Milk Ranch Point
  Whiskers Draw
  Moki Dugway

 
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Island In The Sky - Canyonlands National Park

       Canyonlands National Park, located just outside Moab, Utah, is an interesting park that covers a vast area of inaccessible canyons and mesas. The Canyonlands is divided into three units and it is not possible to visit more than one unit in a day. The Island In The Sky district of the Park is easily accessed from Moab and many people first visit Canyonlands by driving through this unit. of the Park.
       
       The Island In The Sky is a large plateau that sits high above the Green and Colorado Rivers. These two major rivers join together within the boundaries of Canyonlands and each river has carved a giant canyon through the sandstone. This is classic canyon country and visiting Island In The Sky puts you above it all with sweeping views into each of the canyons. The primary attraction to this area is the majestic sweeping vistas. However, there are a number of hikes of varying lengths that offer great exploration opportunities.
click photo to enlarge
    This view of the Colorado River Canyon is typical of the panoramic views seen from the top of the Island In The Sky.

     Begin your visit to Island In The Sky with a stop at the Visitor Center where you can get up-to-date information, maps, a few exhibits and a small gift shop. From there, drive about 12 miles to the end of the main road at the Grand View Point Overlook. At 6,080 ft (1853m) Grandview is at the very end of the plateau and the overlook is on the edge of a sheer cliff falling below for hundreds of feet before flattening when a harder layer of rock is reached. This canyon geology results in a series of huge stairs stepping down to the river. Standing at the Grand View Point Overlook you look to the south and see the Green River canyon on the right or west side, while the Colorado River canyon is to the east or left. These two mighty rivers are heading toward each other and in just a few miles they join together. The confluence of the rivers is about 10 miles from where you stand and this is the highest point in all directions.
click photo to enlarge
Aztec Butte as seen from the trail head
     
     Since the Grand View Point road is one way you will turn around here and head back the way you came in. However, rather than head to the entrance station, take the fork in the road to the Northwest about half way between the entrance and Grandview Point. This road travels past the huge bald Whale Rock and ends at the Upheaval Dome. The Upheaval Dome is a very interesting area geologically with an easy hiking trail to follow.  Less than a half mile from the parking area is the first overlook from which to examine the formation that gives the area its name.  The Upheaval Dome is an area of rock that is completely different from everything around it. This is very unusual as the surrounding rock is all sandstone which was formed as massive sheets of uniform composition. However, here the rock is collapsed inward or blown upward (the scientific theories conflict). It is interesting that even in todays scientifically advanced world there is still no generally  accepted explanation for this anomaly but it is sure obvious to us as untrained visitors that there is sure something different here.

       After exploring the Upheaval Dome area you can either exit the park or take advantage of one of the several hikes available in the Island In The Sky district. One hike that can usually be included in a day trip to the Park I have included on a separate page. Read about the hike to the ruins on top of Aztec Butte

     
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