by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Canyonlands

National Park - Utah

Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah is known for its dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado River. Island in the Sky is a huge, flat-topped mesa with panoramic overlooks. Other notable areas include the towering rock pinnacles known as the Needles, the remote canyons of the Maze and the Native American rock paintings in Horseshoe Canyon. Whitewater rapids flow through Cataract Canyon.

maps

Official Visitor Map of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Canyonlands - Visitor Map

Official Visitor Map of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official trip planner map with mile markers of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Canyonlands - Trip Planner With Mile Markers

Official trip planner map with mile markers of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of The Heart of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Canyonlands - The Heart of Canyonlands

Map of The Heart of Canyonlands National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Visitor Map (southern part) of the BLM Moab Field Office area in Utah. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Moab - Visitor Map - South

Visitor Map (southern part) of the BLM Moab Field Office area in Utah. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map 4 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.San Juan County - Travel Plan - Map 4

Map 4 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.

Map 3 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.San Juan County - Travel Plan - Map 3

Map 3 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.

Map 1 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.San Juan County - Travel Plan - Map 1

Map 1 of the San Juan County Travel Plan in Utah. Published by San Juan County.

Map of the San Juan County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Travel Plan and Trail System. Published by San Juan County.San Juan County OHV - OHV Travel Plan and Trails

Map of the San Juan County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Travel Plan and Trail System. Published by San Juan County.

brochures

The official newspaper of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Twelve pages of articles and visit recommendations. Includes maps of Island in the Sky and Needles. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Canyonlands Guides - Guide 2021

The official newspaper of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Twelve pages of articles and visit recommendations. Includes maps of Island in the Sky and Needles. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Filled with fun activities, these 24-page booklets reveal the wonders of Canyonlands to kids and parents alike. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Canyonlands Guides - Junior Ranger Booklet

Filled with fun activities, these 24-page booklets reveal the wonders of Canyonlands to kids and parents alike. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads at Island in the Sky. Includes district map. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).District Maps and Guides - Island in the Sky Trails and Roads

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads at Island in the Sky. Includes district map. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads in The Maze. Includes district map. Also includes Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Published by the U.S National Park Service (NPS).District Maps and Guides - The Maze Trails and Roads

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads in The Maze. Includes district map. Also includes Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Published by the U.S National Park Service (NPS).

Introduction to the cultural history of Horseshoe Canyon. Includes map of access roads. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).District Maps and Guides - Horseshoe Canyon

Introduction to the cultural history of Horseshoe Canyon. Includes map of access roads. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles. Includes district map. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).District Maps and Guides - The Needles Trails and Roads

Brief overview of the trails and four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles. Includes district map. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Trail guide of Roadside Ruin Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.Trail Guides - Roadside Ruin

Trail guide of Roadside Ruin Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Trail guide of Cave Spring Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.Trail Guides - Cave Spring

Trail guide of Cave Spring Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Trail guide of Pothole Point Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.Trail Guides - Pothole Point

Trail guide of Pothole Point Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Trail guide of Slickrock Foot Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.Trail Guides - Slickrock Foot

Trail guide of Slickrock Foot Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (NP). Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association.

https://www.nps.gov/cany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyonlands_National_Park Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah is known for its dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado River. Island in the Sky is a huge, flat-topped mesa with panoramic overlooks. Other notable areas include the towering rock pinnacles known as the Needles, the remote canyons of the Maze and the Native American rock paintings in Horseshoe Canyon. Whitewater rapids flow through Cataract Canyon. Canyonlands invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure. Canyonlands National Park is cut into three land districts by the Green and Colorado rivers. Island in the Sky, in the north of the park, is about 40 minutes from Moab, UT via UT 313. The Needles district is in the southeast corner of Canyonlands, about 90 minutes from Moab or an hour from Monticello, UT via UT 211. The Maze district, in the west of the park, is the most remote and challenging; its ranger station is down 46 miles of dirt road from UT 24. All roads in The Maze require high-clearance 4WD. Canyonlands Backcountry Office The central backcountry office is located at park administrative offices south of Moab. Rangers can answer questions about backcountry travel over phone or email and issue permits online. Canyonlands administrative offices are about five miles south of Moab on US 191. Hans Flat Ranger Station The remote Hans Flat (Maze) Ranger Station is normally open daily year-round. This ranger contact station has a picnic table and vault toilet, and a small selection of books and maps for sale. There are no services, food, gas, trash collection, electricity for visitor use, nor potable water in The Maze. The nearest communities with amenities are Hanksville (68 miles) and Green River (86 miles). Getting to the Maze requires four-wheel-drive and a lot of time. To reach Hans Flat Ranger Station, from I-70 take UT 24 south for 24 miles. A left turn just beyond the turnoff to Goblin Valley State Park will take you along an unpaved, two-wheel-drive dirt road, 46 miles to the ranger station. Blowing sand dunes or precipitation can degrade the road condition at any time. Roads beyond the ranger station require high clearance and four-wheel drive year-round. Island in the Sky Visitor Center NOTE: Rangers are providing only limited services outside the visitor center during the current pandemic. The bookstore is open but exhibits closed. Backcountry permits are online only. Visitor center normally offers: exhibits, book & map sales, backcountry permits, general information, vault toilets, and park rangers on duty. You can get drinking water inside (during open hours) or outside (24 hours a day). We show a 15-minute orientation movie, "Wilderness of Rock," on request at the visitor center. On US 191, drive 10 miles north of Moab or 22 miles south of Interstate 70 (Crescent Junction), then take UT 313 southwest for 22 miles. Follow signs for Canyonlands National Park. Drive time from Moab is roughly 40 minutes to the visitor center. The Needles Visitor Center NOTE: Rangers are providing only limited services outside during this pandemic. The bookstore is open but exhibits closed. The Needles Visitor Center is normally open spring through fall. Enjoy exhibits, book & map sales, backcountry permits, information, picnic area, and park rangers on duty. An orientation movie (15 minutes) is shown on request. Water is available year-round. When the visitor center is closed in winter, you must self-register for backcountry permits outside the visitor center entrance. On US 191, drive 40 miles south of Moab, Utah, or 14 miles north of Monticello, Utah, then take UT 211 roughly 35 miles west. Highway 211 ends in The Needles, and is the only paved road leading in and out of the area. Island in the Sky (Willow Flat) Campground Island in the Sky Campground (Willow Flat) has 12 sites, first-come, first-served. The campground is open year-round. The spectacular Green River Overlook is nearby. Nightly camping fee is $15 per site. Sites fill quickly spring through fall. There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings in the campground. There is no water at the campground. You can get drinking water outside the visitor center spring through fall. Camping Site 15.00 Nightly fee per site at Willow Flat Campground. Group size limit is 10 people and two vehicles. Pull-through Campsite a paved parking area with a juniper tree and a shade structure in the distance Campsites at Island in the Sky can fit vehicles up to 28 feet in length. Accessible Site an accessible campsite with paved surfaces surrounding the site Willow Flat has one accessible campsite. Toilets A small, beige building. Vault toilets are available at Island in the Sky Campground. There is no water. Registration Board two upright bulletin board cases with a short, metal box next to them Campsites are first-come, first-served. You can self-register at the campground. Campsite a paved driveway with a shade structure and two tents in the background Campsites have shade structures, picnic tables, and paved parking areas. Green River Overlook a vast view of canyons and buttes with a river winding through the center Green River Overlook is just down the road from the campground. The Needles Campground The Needles Campground has 26 individual sites, plus 3 group sites in different locations around The Needles district. Nightly camping fee for an individual site is $20. You can reserve some individual sites spring through fall. Other times of the year, individual sites are first-come, first-served. You can also reserve group sites for nights between mid-March and mid-November. There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings in the campground. The Needles Campground Standard Site 20.00 Nightly fee for a standard Needles campsite. Group size limit is 10 people and 2 vehicles. If you are paying at the campsite, please pay within 30 minutes of occupying the site. Dutch Oven Group Site 11-20 Campers 90.00 Fee for one night at Dutch Oven Group Site for groups of 11-20 people. Dutch Oven Group Site 21-30 Campers 135.00 Fee for one night at Dutch Oven Group Site for groups of 21-30 people. Dutch Oven Group Site 31-40 Campers 180.00 Fee for one night at Dutch Oven Group Site for groups of 31-40 people. Dutch Oven Group Site 41-50 Campers 225.00 Fee for one night at Dutch Oven Group Site for groups of 41-50 people. Wooden Shoe Group Site 11-15 Campers 70.00 Fee for one night at Wooden Shoe Group Site for groups of 11-15 people. Wooden Shoe Group Site 16-20 Campers 90.00 Fee for one night at Wooden Shoe Group Site for groups of 16-20 people. Wooden Shoe Group Site 21-25 Campers 115.00 Fee for one night at Wooden Shoe Group Site for groups of 21-25 people. Split Top Group Site 11-15 Campers 70.00 Fee for one night at Split Top Group Site for groups of 11-15 people. Needles Campground a yellow tent nestled against a rock outcropping The Needles Flat Campground has shady sites against rock outcroppings. Needles Campground a campsite shaded by trees There are several options for shade at The Needles Campground Campsite a campsite with a gravel surface, fire ring, and picnic table Campsites include fire rings, tent pads, and picnic tables. Campsite a campsite parking area that is shaded by trees Most campsites have trees nearby. Accessible Site for People with Disabilities a campsite with a long paved driveway The Needles Campground has two accessible sites. One is always reserved for people with disabilities. Mesa Arch a broad stone arch with rock pinnacles in the distance Mesa Arch, at Island in the Sky, is a great spot for photographers. Pothole Point shallow pools with a double rainbow in the background Pothole Point Trail The Maze a rugged canyon The Maze is the most remote district of the park. Visiting requires four-wheel drive, self-reliance, and extra time. White Rim Road a long gravel road with cyclists on it The White Rim Road at Island in the Sky is a popular road for mountain bikers. The Needles in Chesler Park pinnacles of horizontally striped sandstone The Needles, pinnacles of Cedar Mesa Sandstone, are visible in many parts of the Needles District, including this view in Chesler Park. Boating on the Colorado River a person rowing a dory on the Colorado River Boating the Colorado and Green rivers is a popular activity at Canyonlands (permit required). Who Lives in the Park? Despite the harshness of the desert, wildlife is well adapted to living here. This virtual ranger activity will share some of the cool adaptations of Canyonlands National Park's wildlife. A bighorn sheep with large curling horns stands before a cliff wall. On the Edge: A Visit to Tower Ruin Read about a ranger's visit to Tower Ruin and her experience learning about the people who lived at the site. a stone structure in a rock alcove Searching For Treasure at Canyonlands National Park A series of roads, only one still distinct while the rest lie obscured by vegetation, reveal a human story: that of uranium miners exploring unfamiliar country with the hopes of becoming rich. By opening canyon county to travel, the miners blazed the trail for the establishment of Canyonlands National Park. mining equipment on a gravel road Veteran Story: John Schmitz John Schmitz served in the US Army and US Navy. Today he works in the facilities management division at Canyonlands National Park. He says, "I believe that serving in the NPS is an honor. Representing the NPS should not just be a job, but come as an opportunity to continue to serve our nation." a ranger in front of a sign reading NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Canyonlands National Park, Utah Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. park scene canyons and mesas Lions Park: Moab’s Gateway to its Natural Wonders After significant scoping and planning, the Moab Trails Alliance applied for assistance from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program to create a trail and transportation hub at Lions Park to safely integrate recreation and alternative transportation to reduce traffic congestion near Moab. a park with trees, shade structure, and signs Desert Varnish Ever wondered what those dark lines were on the rock walls of canyon country? These black, brown, and red streaks are called desert varnish. streaks of black desert varnish on a red rock wall Ephemeral Pools Ephemeral pools are a vital source of water in a parched desert. grasses growing in a ephemeral pool filled with water Celebrating 50 Years of Partnership Canyonlands Natural History Association celebrated its 50th anniversary of partnering with public lands in southeast Utah. Since its founding in 1967, CNHA has donated over $12 million to Southeast Utah Group parks and its other federal partners—the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. Superintendent Kate Cannon hands a plaque to CNHA Executive Director Roxanne Bierman Monsoon Season Late summer is monsoon season on the Colorado Plateau. Afternoon thunderstorms are common - flash floods and lightning are possible. Learn more about this special time of year and how to plan for it. rainstorm over Canyonlands Upheaval Dome Canyonlands is a place of relative geologic order. Layers of sedimentary deposits systematically record chapters in the park's past. Upheaval Dome is quite a different story. In an area approximately three miles (5 km) across, rock layers are dramatically deformed. In the center, the rocks are pushed up into a circular structure called a dome, or an anticline. Surrounding this dome is a downwarp in the rock layers called a syncline. What caused these folds at Upheaval Dome? red and white folded rock formations in the center of a large crater Veteran Story: Mark Olson Mark Olson served in the US Army as an infantryman from 2005-2011. Today he continues in public service as a backcountry reservations specialist at Canyonlands National Park, helping people safely enjoy the park's extensive backcountry. a ranger stands in a forest with a waterfall in the background Landbird Monitoring in Northern Colorado Plateau Network Parks, 2018 Because birds can be sensitive to habitat change, they are good indicators of ecosystem integrity. The Northern Colorado Plateau Network partners with the University of Delaware to assess breeding-bird species trends in three different habitats: low-elevation riparian, pinyon-juniper, and sage shrubland. Find out which species were increasing and declining at network parks as of 2018. Small, bright-orange bird with yellowish underfeathers. PARKS...IN...SPAAAACE!!! NASA astronauts have quite literally an out-of-this-world view of national parks and take some pretty stellar pictures to share. Travel along with the space station on its journey west to east getting the extreme bird’s eye view of national parks across the country. And one more down-to-earth. View of Denali National Park & Preserve from space Volunteer Story: Two Volunteers Named Ted A father/son team of Sierra Club volunteers take a break to chat about why they serve. two smiling men in safety vests with paint brushes Needles In the southeast corner of Canyonlands, spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone rise hundreds of feet above a network of canyons and grasslands know as "The Needles." shallow stone pools in front of rock spires with red and white striping Surviving in the Desert In this arid land, plants and animals must adapt to constantly changing water availability. red blooms on cluster of claret cup cactus The Grabens The Grabens in The Needles district of Canyonlands is a system of linear collapsed valleys caused by the movement of underlying salt layers toward the Colorado River canyon. The grabens begin near the Confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers and run roughly parallel to Cataract Canyon for 25 km, veering slightly westward before they end. an aerial view of two valleys with a ridge between them Solar Power at The Maze Since November of 1995, solar power has provided electricity for the facilities at Hans Flat. The system was installed through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Utah Office of Energy and Resource Planning. solar panels in a grassy field Veteran Story: William Bouley Bill Bouley served in the US Army for 20 years. Today he continues in public service as a Safety Manager for several parks and monuments in southern Utah. Bill Bouley, in uniform, with a helicopter in the background Veteran Story: Michael Frederick Michael served as an embassy guard in Luxembourg and Cyprus. He also served two deployments on board the USS Saratoga. Today he works as a lead park guide at Canyonlands National Park. He helps people connect with and enjoy the scenery and adventure that can be found during a visit to Canyonlands. a ranger in uniform with flat, straw hat Preserving the Past in Salt Creek Archeologists spent several weeks preserving structures and features in Salt Creek Archeological District in Canyonlands National Park. These sites were constructed by the ancestral Puebloan and Fremont people. a stone structure with green plants at the base Using Screens for Grassland Restoration Staff at Canyonlands and Arches national parks are installing connectivity modifiers or "ConMods" to create a protected environment for native grasses to take root. The focus is to use the ConMods to restore grasslands that had been degraded following decades of concentrated cattle grazing. a field with x-shaped screens standing in the soil Analysis and Dating of the Great Gallery Tool and Food Bag In 2005, visitors to the Great Gallery discovered a leather bag eroding from eolian sand. Fearing unlawful removal of the bag, a park ranger recovered the item on the day of its discovery. The authors, from the Navajo Nation Archeology Department obtained the bag and its contents on loan from the National Park Service to conduct the analysis reported here. two leather pouches Park Air Profiles - Canyonlands National Park Air quality profile for Canyonlands National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Canyonlands NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Canyonlands NP. Fort Bottom ruin, the Colorado River, and Canyonlands The Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau is centered on the four corners area of the Southwest, and includes much of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Hazy Fajada Butte, Chaco Culture National Monument Traits, Tradeoffs, and Pivot Points: How Climate, Plant, and Soil Properties Affect Vegetation Growth on the Northern Colorado Plateau As the northern Colorado Plateau heads into a hotter, drier future, there will be ecological winners and losers. Figuring out how different vegetation communities will fare is tricky. A recent study aimed to identify which vegetation communities might come out ahead, which might lag behind, and what might make the difference. Desert grassland in red rock setting. Pink wildflowers grow in foreground as storm brews in the sky. Studying the Fate of Arches Park staff and scientists study geological change in the natural arches of Utah. Monitoring devices, like the crackmeter, measure vibration and expansion in arches that are actively eroding. The data collected could determine potential safety risks in the future. a park ranger looks at a computer with two large arches in the background Students Explore Parks through the Arts As part of their school curriculum, third and fourth grade students in Moab explore national parks through the arts. The students create artwork in the parks and share their creations through an annual art show. The "Look Where We Live" program began in 2013 as a collaborative project between HMK Elementary School, Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Beverly Taylor Sorensen Arts Learning Program, and Friends of Arches and Canyonland National Parks. students hold up artwork beneath a massive stone arch Gnats In the late spring and early summer, swarms of tiny biting gnats often greet visitors to Utah national parks. These miniscule pests thrive in the scattered pinyon-juniper forests of southeast Utah. Wildland Fire in Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Northern Colorado Plateau Park Waters Pesticides, antibiotics, and personal care products are all being found in streams and rivers. But would you expect to find them in a national park? On the northern Colorado Plateau, scientists found that even in isolated areas, these "contaminants of emerging concern" are not uncommon. Find out what we found where--and how you can help. Ripples in cave water Reading Rock Markings If you travel the canyons of the American Southwest, you are sure to see figures carved or painted on rock faces. These include abstractions like spirals, dots and geometric patterns, or more recognizable forms like animals, humans, and handprints. They served to communicate among American Indian tribes throughout the centuries, and they continue to communicate today. depictions of bighorn sheep and riders on horseback pecked into a rock wall Studying River Deposits at Hardscrabble Bottom Researchers dug a trench at Hardscrabble Bottom to expose deposits of river sediment. The researchers can then date by various methods including counting of growth rings in buried stems of tamarisk. a deep trench with people standing in it Douglas Fir in the Desert - A Relict Population Ranger Tim shares insight into a relict population of Douglas fir in Canyonlands National Park with a beautiful video and a virtual ranger activity. Tall Douglas fir coniferous trees tower before a sandstone alcove Animal-Transmitted Diseases in Southeast Utah Some diseases can be passed from animals to humans. Never approach wildlife and learn other ways to protect yourself from animal-transmitted diseases in Southeast Utah parks. Small brown and tan rodent standing up on hind legs, with soil and green vegetation around it. Biological Soil Crust of Southeast Utah Be careful where you step because the dirt is alive! This bumpy, lumpy, crust black soil is called biological soil crust and is made up of living organisms. bumpy black soil crust with lichen Lichens of Southeast Utah Those bright colors you may see on sandstone and biological soil crust are alive! Lichens grow in every size, shape, and color in Southeast Utah. scaly gray lichen growing on dark soil crust Plant Salvage Partnership Volunteers from a local Federal cleanup site joined park staff in a mutually beneficial partnership to rescue and relocate some native plants. two volunteers in neon vests carefully lift bunchgrass for transplanting House Rules for Visiting Archeological Sites in Southeast Utah Visiting a Southeast Utah park? These parks contain sacred areas and ancestral homeland of over 30 traditionally associated Native American Tribes. Learn how to be a respectful guest at cultural sites with these house rules. Two people stand and look at a circular tower constructed out of rocks. The Adverse Effects of Climate Change on Desert Bighorn Sheep Climate change has and will continue to have a negative impact on the population of desert bighorn sheep. For the remaining herds to survive, management may always be necessary. Protecting wild lands is key to the survival of these amazing animals. Desert bighorn sheep, NPS/Shawn Cigrand The Names of Canyonlands Scavenger Hunt Can you find some of the special places within Canyonlands National Park with the park map? This activity will test your ability to read a map while also sharing some of the stories behind the names that fill this landscape. Two rivers meet in a deep canyon What We’re Learning and Why it Matters: Long-Term Monitoring on the Northern Colorado Plateau Knowing which key natural resources are found in the national parks, and whether they're stable or changing, helps decisionmakers make sound choices. The Northern Colorado Plateau Network is building that knowledge. After more than ten years of monitoring, we've learned a lot about park ecosystems, how they're changing, and what they may look like in the days to come. Find out what we’ve learned and how it’s being used to help managers plan for the future. Man stands in a stream, looking down at a handheld gauge. Landbird Population Trends in the Northern Colorado Plateau Network, 2019 Because birds can be sensitive to habitat change, they are good indicators of ecosystem integrity. The Northern Colorado Plateau Network partners with the University of Delaware to assess breeding-bird species trends in three different habitats: low-elevation riparian, pinyon-juniper, and sage shrubland. Find out which species were increasing and declining at network parks as of 2019. Bald eagle National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate. Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map Seeing Rock Markings in a New Way In 2007, a volunteer used special photography techniques and equipment to "see" various layers of rock art panels in Arches and Canyonlands national parks. This enabled us to see how much more complex these ancient rock paintings and peckings are than originally thought. a black and white photo of various human-like figures painted on a rock wall Water Quality in the Northern Colorado Plateau Network: Water Years 2016–2018 Once a month, ecologists collect water samples at dozens of monitoring sites in and near ten National Park Service units across Utah and Colorado. This consistent, long-term monitoring helps alert managers to existing and potential problems. Find out the results for 2016-2018 in this brief from the Northern Colorado Plateau Network. A monitoring crew of three samples a clear river flowing over brown rock and sand A Closer Look at When Grasses Need a Drink: Soils, Precipitation, and Desert Grasses The results of a recent study may help land managers to prioritize grassland conservation and restoration efforts. Park managers can’t do much about climate, but with the right information, they can make choices based on how different grassland communities behave in different soil types. In this study, cool-season grasses showed more resilience to drought than warm-season grasses. A field crew member takes measurements on a grassland transect. The Science of Conserving Native Fish: Mitigating Potential Effects of Flow Experiments along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument On the Green River, scientists are helping ensure that solving one problem doesn’t cause another for native fish. Analyzing long-term monitoring data collected in Dinosaur National Monument allowed them to suggest modifications to proposed experimental flows from Flaming Gorge Dam. The modifications may provide long-term benefits to Colorado pikeminnow. River camp and canyon wall Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Mesozoic Era The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America. fossil dinosaur skull in rock face Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Permian Period—298.9 to 251.9 MYA The massive cliffs of El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountains National Park represent a Permian-age reef along the supercontinent Pangaea. The uppermost rocks of Grand Canyon National Park are also Permian. flat-top mountain Pennsylvanian Period—323.2 to 298.9 MYA Rocks in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park represent vast Pennsylvanian-age swamps. Plant life in those swamps later became coal found in the eastern United States. fossil tracks on sandstone slab Triassic Period—251.9 to 201.3 MYA The brightly colored Triassic rocks of Petrified Forest National Park yield not only the petrified trees but many other plant and animal fossils. fossil footprint on stone Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Mesozoic Era The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America. fossil dinosaur skull in rock face Round-up Donations Add Up to Big Support If you tell our bookstore partner to "keep the change," those pennies lead to big support for park programs. A clerk ringing up a customer at Arches' bookstore Landbird Population Trends in the Northern Colorado Plateau Network, 2020 Because birds can be sensitive to habitat change, they are good indicators of ecosystem integrity. The Northern Colorado Plateau Network partners with the University of Delaware to assess breeding-bird species trends in three different habitats: low-elevation riparian, pinyon-juniper, and sage shrubland. Find out which species were increasing and declining at network parks as of 2020. Small beige bird with black beak and feet, brown back. Keeping Up with the Contaminants: Monitoring the Impact of Improved Wastewater Technology on the Colorado River Near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks In Moab, Utah, the Northern Colorado Plateau Network is helping to determine if improved methods of wastewater treatment can help reduce the presence of unregulated contaminants in effluent. The results have important implications for water quality in some of our nation’s most treasured rivers—and the news is good. A brownish river runs through rugged canyon walls Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for Visiting Canyonlands Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for visiting Canyonlands National Park Climate Smart Conservation Planning for the National Parks In response to climate change, park managers are having to rethink how they plan for the future. Climate Smart Conservation is a process that can help managers achieve goals in the face of coming changes. Under this framework, scientists and managers use their collective knowledge to anticipate problems and be proactive, rather than reactive. Pika with a mouthful of grass Monitoring From Space: Using Satellite Imagery to Measure Landscape Conditions on the Ground Scientists from the Northern Colorado Plateau Network travel thousands of miles each year to collect data on plants, soils, and water across network parks. But it would be impossible to cover every square inch of the Northern Colorado Plateau with boots on the ground. Instead, we simultaneously monitor the parks with boots in space—satellite data that provide information at a much broader scale. Satellite and Earth in space Responding to Climate Change in the Southeast Utah Parks This paper describes how the Southeast Utah Group of parks is responding to climate change. The paper summarizes expected future climate conditions compared with a 20th Century baseline. It describes the foundation of our work within the Climate Smart Conservation framework adopted at our initial workshop in December 2018. A photograph of a grassland, containing some shrubs. Localized Drought Impacts on Northern Colorado Plateau Landbirds Birds of the desert southwest, a climate-change hotspot, are among the most vulnerable groups in the US. To help park managers plan for those changes, scientists evaluated the influence of water deficit on landbird communities at 11 national parks in Utah and Colorado. The results will help land managers to focus conservation efforts on places where certain species are most vulnerable to projected climate changes. A man wearing a clipboard looks through binoculars at dawn in field of sagebrush Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021 Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon.
Visitor Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands Pull-out hiking guide inside! Mesa Arch NPS / RHODES SMART T A Lifetime of Exploration Awaits Canyonlands National Park preserves 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. Water and gravity have been the prime architects of this Horseshoe Canyon Green River land, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape we see today. Island in the Sky Colorado River Canyonlands preserves that natural beauty and human history throughout its four districts, which are divided by the Green and Colorado rivers. Island in the Sky is closest to Moab and is the most visited district. The Needles is a farther drive, and is great for a day trip or backcountry hiking and backpacking. The Maze is the most remote and rugged district, requiring a four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, and more time. The Maze’s Horseshoe Canyon unit contains intriguing rock markings from tribal cultures. The Maze The Rivers separate the other three districts and offer world-class boating opportunities. The Needles While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different Cataract Canyon opportunities for exploration and adventure. Though they appear close on a map, there are no roads in the park that directly link the districts. Traveling between them requires two to six hours by car. Check inside this visitor guide for the best way to plan your visit to Canyonlands. Welcome to Canyonlands. Have a safe and enjoyable visit by remembering these rules and advisories. Drink water. It’s easy to become dehydrated, even in cold temperatures. Drink at least 1 gallon (4 L) of water per day. You can get water year-round at The Needles and Island in the Sky visitor centers, and seasonally at The Needles Campground. Do not rely on cell service at Canyonlands. Much of the park is outside cell phone range. You may find service where the La Sal Mountains are visible, but availability will vary by provider. Respect nature. Leave plants, rocks, and artifacts where you see them. Do not feed or disturb animals. Find your way. Cairns (small rock piles) mark routes. Don’t build your own; they could mislead other hikers. If you get lost, stay where you are, and wait for rescue. Keep off the arches. It’s prohibited—and dangerous—to climb or walk on any arch in the park. The sun is intense, and shade is rare. Avoid exertion during peak heat (>90°F /32°C). Protect yourself with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Preserve natural darkness. Using artificial light sources to illuminate features for photography at night is prohibited. Watch your step. Rocks fall. People fall. Sandstone is slippery when wet or icy. In winter, avoid snowy or icy trails. Leave drones at home. Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft (such as model airplanes, quadcopters, or drones) is prohibited. Leave the rocks as you see them. Graffiti—carving, scratching, chalking, or any type of marking—is illegal. Leave no trace. Walk on hard surfaces. Stay on trails to protect fragile biological soil crusts and plant and animal habitat, and to reduce your risk of getting lost. Do not use ATVs. It’s prohibited to use any type of ATV or OHV. There are many roads outside the park where you can use ATVs and OHVs. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands Visitor Guide 2021, vol. 2 Published By Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA), a nonprofit organization that assists the National Park Service in its educational, interpretive, and scientific programs. For more information, see the back page. General Information i INFORMATION CENTERS Canyonlands National Park operates visitor centers year-round at Island in the Sky and Hans Flat (The Maze), and spring through fall at The Needles. Hours vary with the season. Many neighboring communities have information centers with knowledgeable staff, brochures, and maps. 7 WATER Canyonlands is in the high desert, and it is easy to become dehydrated, even in cold temperatures. Plan on drinking at least 1 gallon (4 L) of water per day. You can get water year-round at The Needles and Island in the Sky visitor centers and seasonally at The Needles Campground. Contact Us: 2282 Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 phone 435-719-2313 email canyinfo@nps.gov website nps.gov/cany FOOD, GAS, LODGING, AND OTHER SERVICES Follow @CanyonlandsNPS There is no food, gas, lodging, or other amenities at Canyonlands. Come prepared with adequate food, fuel, and water. These may be found in nearby towns—see next page for mileage. Join us to share your park experiences with us and our growing online community: instagram.com/CanyonlandsNPS The Needles Campground − Park Fees We charge fees for park entrance, camping, and permits. Eighty percent of your fees collected at Canyonlands ret
Canyonlands National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior r e g n a R r o i n u J EXP LORER GUID E YOUR NAME CAIRN SPIRE MESA WELCOME, A DV ENTURERS! Junior rangers explore, learn about, and help national parks. The activities in this guide are mileposts in your learning adventure. Ready? Let’s go! Choose your level and... Cairn level: 4 book pages Spire level: 7 book pages Mesa level: the whole book ...go on at least three adventures. Attend a ranger program. Go on a hike. Go stargazing. Spend 10 quiet min. outside Pick up litter safely. Share something you learned with a friend or relative. 1 READY FOR ADVENTURE Hold a safety meeting with your family. Is everyone ready to have a safe adventure? Use the park map to choose a place to explore. Where to? CHECK LIST How will the weather shape your plans? L ot s o f w a te r Fo o d a n d s n a c ks E x t ra l a y e rs Pa r k m a p Check that you have what you need. Write in other things you should bring. What is your plan in case someone gets separated from the group? Safety brainstorm! Make a list of good and not so good ideas for safety. HOW TO STAY SAFE WHAT NOT TO DO 2 PLANT DETECTIVE Find a prickly plant. Does it look like a yucca, prickly pear cactus, or something else? Draw your plant and write your answer. The prickly plant I found is a: Find a tree. Use the pictures below to decide if it’s a juniper or pinyon pine or another species. Draw your tree and write your answer. The tree I found is a: 3 HOME SWEET HABITAT L IZ A R D likes rocks to hide under and grass where bugs hang out live on steep cliffs where no predators dare to follow If you were an animal in what Canyonlands habitat would you live? WETLANDS RIVER CLIFFS CANYON SAND GRASSLAND POTHOLES Draw a picture of you as an animal in your habitat. Include what you would need to survive. M D RE ACK CHUB PB HU LA N EEP SH COL BI G H O R Draw a line to match these desert animals with their habitat (home in nature). lives in the Colorado River and grows up in flooded banks 4 FIND YOUR WAY Get out your park map (or the park newspaper). You will see that the park has four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers. Which district are you in right now? Find the legend on your map and use it to fill in the missing labels below . Overlook/ Paved road PAVED ROAD Unpaved 2-wheel-drive road Ranger station High-clearance, 4-wheel-drive road Locked gate Hiking Trail Developed Campground Picnic area Drinking Water Designated Backpacking Site If you’re in Island in the Sky, find Shafer Trail on your map. If you’re in The Needles, find Elephant Hill. Could you drive on these roads in your car? FILL IN YOUR ANSWERS ON THIS MAP. What two rivers meet in the park? What is the name for the place where the rivers meet? How long is the hike to that point? miles Is this a good hike for your group? Topographic maps show the shape of the land. Draw a line to match the places with how they look on a ‘topo’ map. AZTEC BUTTE is a hill with flat land on one side and a steep drop off on the other. TOPO MAP HINTS: Close-together lines show steep land that climbs up or drops off. Widely spaced lines show flat land with little change up or down. CYCLONE CANYON has rock towers called spires on both sides. Hills look like many circles inside each other. The inside circle shows the very top. The tops of spires look like tiny circles. TURKS HEAD is a small tower inside a bend of the Green River. BE AS OLD AS A GRANDPARENT BY THE TIME IT HEALED. HOTO NEAL H E SP RB ER T DON’T STEP ON THE SOIL CRUST! IT TAKES SO LONG TO GROW THAT YOU WOULD NP 5 MORE THAN DIRT Here is a science phrase for you: biological soil crust. Can you figure out what it means? Circle the answers below. Bio means: A) ice cream B) smelly C) life D) cold Soil means: A) flamingo B) sky C) hula hoop D) dirt Crust means: A) hard layer B) sandwich C) river D) hat Hint: The ground is alive! Biological soil crust is a mix of tiny living things growing on the dirt. Why do we care? This soil is like a mini town that helps the park! Draw a line to match the parts of a town to the ways biological soil crust helps the park! grocery store construction neighborhood Biological soil crust BUILDS LAND by gluing dirt together. Biological soil crust MAKES FOOD for plants and animals! Biological soil crust GIVES HOMES to plants and animals. 6 JUNIOR RANGER ROLE MODELS Junior rangers show others how to explore safely and respect wild places. Below, circle good role model actions. Draw an X over the actions that could hurt you or the park. Pick one role model action. Why is it a good idea? Pick one action that isn’t a great idea. Why is it not the best choice? What would a junior ranger do instead? 7 SCENES IN THE SCENERY Below, match stories with their setting in the landscape. Fill in the circles with the matching number. 2. KAYENTA FORMATION 1. WHITE
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky District Trails and Roads Paved road/ Pull out High-clearance, 4-wheel-drive road Unpaved 2-wheel-drive road Hiking Trail At-large Backpacking Zone Boat launch Ranger station Name of Backpacking Zone Name Water available Developed Campground Self-guiding trail Backcountry Vehicle Camp D Picnic area T Designated Backpacking Site Backcountry Trailhead Parking Toilet NOTE: White shading within Canyonlands National Park indicates areas with designated site camping only. Island In The Sky Visitor Center to Moab 32mi/51km 313 2.4 Long Ca Mineral Bottom l) ai s or 0 (H d 5.6 l Roa ra Mine ad r fT e hi et 1. nyon Ro 12.9 DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK 6.5 Visitor Center H EA Taylor A in Syncl e Y 4.9 D Syncline Hardscrabble l 1.5 5.3 5.8 Gooseneck Overlook Whale Rock 4 3. First Overlook 3.8 Second Overlook T 6.8 3 11. 6mi 11 .0 Upper West Basins p ro T T ISLAND IN THE SKY th Upheaval Dome Musselman Arch La Potato Bottom Potash ai l Neck Spring g rin Tra i O N Sp N 3.5 1.5 Dead Horse Point Overlook 1.0 r Tr Shafe ve co C 5.6 1.7 L Al VA Shafer Visitor Center C A N Y O N ad UP Ro 0.6 Fort Bottom Ruin Moses and Zeus 1.0 Taylor i 5.0 T A Y L O R 1m Labyrinth Wil Washer Woman Arch ite I Gooseberry/ Lathrop e Wh it n 0.5 Buck Canyon Overlook 1.3 I 1.5 R ee P m Ri T Murphy Point O Gr 6mi 10km 2.8 3 ry ber Go o se M 2.7 1. Gooseberry 2.7 White Rim Overlook Murphy Hogback Grand View Point Overlook T 8.0 0 1. 5 5. Rive r R W H I I M Monument Basin E T 1.4 White Crack TH E M A Z E R E 10.0 4.0 T Candlestick 11.5 Willow Green River Flat Overlook R o ad Wh H Mesa Arch Airport L A T H W Ri m Aztec Butte Rive hite ad Lower Basins THE LOOP Colorado Ro T r 5mi 6.1 Interpretive Activities Visitor Center Interpretive Talks and Guided Walks Open daily March through December, 9 am to 4 pm, with extended hours in summer. Exhibits, information, permits, video presentation, booksales, and water for sale. Call 435-259-4712 to verify hours. Presented daily March through October. Locations, times, and topics vary. A program schedule and description of activities is posted at the visitor center, campground, and entrance station. Hiking Trails Trails are marked with cairns (small rock piles). Do not disturb existing cairns or build new ones. Signs are located at trailheads and intersections. All trails leading below the mesa top are primitive and rough. There is no potable water along any hiking trails. Drinking water is available spring through fall at the visitor center. Potash and Shafer Trail roads in a single day. You can walk your pet along paved roads, in parking lots, and at Willow Flat Campground, but must be on a leash at all times. Protect your pet from heat exhaustion: do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle during hot weather. Traveling With Pets Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails or in the backcountry. Pets may not accompany you in your vehicle on four-wheel-drive roads, except when traveling along the Backcountry Reservations Reservation Office 2282 Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 Phone: 435-259-4351 www.nps.gov/cany Round-Trip Distance Round-Trip Hiking Time One-way Elevation Change 0.5mi / 0.8km 3.6mi / 5.8km 1.8mi / 2.9km 2.0mi / 3.2km 30 minutes 2 hours 1 hour 1.5 hours 100ft / 30m 100ft / 30m 25ft / 8m 50ft / 15m good for sunrise, arch on cliff edge panoramic view w/Henry Mtns. view of potholes, White Rim Road panoramic view along cliff edge 5.8mi / 9.3km 2.0mi / 3.2km 1.0mi / 1.6km 3 - 4 hours 1.5 hours 1 hour 300ft / 91m 225ft / 69m 100ft / 30m springs, evidence of ranching steep slickrock to top, grainaries bare slickrock, good views 0.8mi / 1.3km 1.8mi / 2.9km 1 hour 1.5 hours 100ft / 30m 150ft / 45m view into crater crater & upheaval canyon view 13.6mi / 22km 21.6mi / 34.7km 10.8mi / 17.4km 5.4mi / 8.6km 12.2mi / 19.6km 11.2mi / 18km 8.3mi / 13.3km 3mi / 4.8km 7mi / 11.2km 5- 7 hours overnight 5 - 7 hours 4 - 6 hours 6 - 8 hours 6 - 7 hours 5 - 7 hours 2 hours 3 - 4 hours 1600ft / 488m 2000ft / 610m 1400ft / 427m 1400ft / 427m 1600ft / 488m 1300ft / 396m 1300ft / 396m 350ft / 107m 400ft / 122m views of Colorado River & LaSals river access, cottonwoods panoramic view from hogback views of cliffs & LaSal Mtns. slot cyn across White Rim Road large alcove, views of Taylor Cyn canyon hiking, some shade some scrambling over rocks sandy hike along wash bottom 0.6mi / 1.0km 3mi / 4.8km 1mi /1.6km 30 minutes 2 hours 1 hour 50ft / 15m 500ft / 152m 500ft / 152m excellent view of Colorado River tower ruin from ancient times views of Taylor Cyn, climbing routes Description Mesa Top (Easy Trails) Mesa Arch Murphy Point Overlook White Rim Overlook Grand View Point Mesa Top (Moderate Trails)
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park The Maze and Orange Cliffs Unit Destination Getting to The Maze People using a GPS to get to The Maze can get lost. Use a map to find your way. From UT 24, turn east just south of the Goblin Valley State Park turnoff. Take the two-wheeldrive dirt road 46 miles (76 km) southeast to Hans Flat Ranger Station. Other four-wheel-drive routes also lead into the area. Road conditions can change quickly. For road conditions: go.nps.gov/canyroads or call 435-259-2652, 8 am–4:30 pm. Driving time from Hans Flat Chimney Rock Cleopatras Chair The Doll House Ekker Butte Flint Seep Golden Stairs Green River (via 24) Green River (dirt road) Happy Canyon Hanksville High Spur Hite (via 4WD road) Horseshoe Canyon Maze Overlook Millard Canyon Moab The Neck North Point Panorama Point Standing Rock Sunset Pass Teapot Rock The Wall 5 hours 2 hours 6 hours 4 hours 45 minutes 1.5 hours 2 hours 2.5 hours 1 hour 1.5 hours 45 minutes 5-6 hours 1 hour 3 hours 6 hours 3 hours 1 hour 15 minutes 2 hours 5 hours 3 hours 3 hours 5 hours Introduction For More Information Because of its isolation and challenging roads, The Maze is the least visited district of Canyonlands National Park. Travel to The Maze requires the right vehicle, more time, and a greater degree of self-sufficiency. You should be prepared for self-rescue. Most people spend at least three days at The Maze, but trips can easily last a week. Canyonlands National Park The Maze Hans Flat Ranger Station phone 435-259-2652 Note: Unless it is an emergency, please call only 8 am–4:30 pm. website go.nps.gov/themaze The Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area shares Canyonlands’ western boundary and is administered under the same backcountry management plan and reservation system. Regulations are the same for The Maze and Orange Cliffs, though they differ in the rest of Glen Canyon. Hiking Trails Trails in The Maze are steep, unmarked, and minimally maintained. Route finding may be difficult. The Maze Overlook Trail and other routes in the district require basic climbing maneuvers in order to negotiate sections of steep slickrock and pour-offs. A 25-foot (7.6 m) length of rope is often essential for raising or lowering packs in difficult spots. If you have a fear of heights, many routes may make you uncomfortable. Routes into the canyons have a few cairns from mesa top to canyon bottom, but routes in washes are not marked. Many of the canyons look alike and are difficult to identify without a topographic map. Backcountry Reservations Canyonlands National Park Reservation Office 2282 Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 phone 435-259-4351 website go.nps.gov/canybackcountry Four-Wheel-Drive Roads Most routes begin at trailheads along four-wheel-drive roads. If you have a twowheel-drive vehicle, you may park at the North Point Road junction, approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) southeast of Hans Flat Ranger Station, and hike to Maze Overlook via North Trail Canyon. Depending on your vehicle, you may also be able to negotiate the 14-mile road (22 Hans Flat Ranger Station is two hours from Green River, Utah. From I-70, take UT 24 south for 24 miles (38 km). A left turn just beyond the Goblin Valley State Park turnoff will take you along a two-wheel-drive dirt road 46 miles (76 km) southeast to the ranger station. This road may require four-wheel drive after wind or rain. In addition, a four-wheeldrive route leads north from UT 95 near Hite. Do not use GPS to find your way; use a map instead. The ranger station is open daily 8 am–4:30 pm. km) to park at the top of the Flint Trail, then hike to Land of Standing Rocks. Overnight trips require a permit, which you can reserve in advance. Backpackers stay in atlarge zones. There are several reliable springs in the canyons of The Maze. Inquire at Hans Flat Ranger Station for more information. Four-wheel driving in The Maze is extremely difficult, presents considerable risk of vehicle damage, and should not be attempted by inexperienced drivers. You must have a highclearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle for all Maze backcountry roads. ATVs and OHVs are prohibited. The Flint Trail traverses slopes of clay that are extremely slippery when wet. The Flint Trail is often closed in winter. The road between Teapot Rock camp and Land of Standing Rocks is the most difficult in The Maze, with additional clearance or locking differentials highly recommended. You should be prepared to make basic road or vehicle repairs and should carry the following items: at least one full-size spare tire, extra gas, extra water, a shovel, a high-lift jack, and chains for all four tires between October and April. Protect Your Park • Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or on four-wheel-drive roads, even in a vehicle. • Do not enter, alter, damage, or deface archeological sites. Do not collect artifacts. • All vehicles and bicycles must stay on designated ro
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Horseshoe Canyon Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the most significant Archaic rock markings in North America. Other impressive sights include spring wildflower displays, sheer sandstone walls, and mature cottonwood trees that shade the canyon floor. Cultural History Preserve the Past Help us protect archeological resources. American Indians consider these cultural sites critical to the education and survival of their communities. Rock markings are extremely fragile and can be destroyed by the oil in human skin. Please do not touch or chalk around figures. All prehistoric artifacts and ruins are irreplaceable treasures. Walking through ruins, sitting on walls, handling artifacts, and leaving modern grafitti destroys a site's scientific and aesthetic value for future visitors. Activities The archeology of Horseshoe Canyon spans thousands of years of human history. Artifacts recovered from sites in this area date back as early as 11,000 years ago, when Paleoindians hunted animals like mastodons and mammoths across the southwest. history has more modern chapters. Outlaws like Butch Cassidy made use of Horseshoe Canyon in the late 1800s, taking refuge in the confusing network of canyons, especially those around Robbers Roost to the southwest. During the Late Archaic period, 4,000 to 1,500 years ago, nomadic groups of huntergathererers made Horseshoe Canyon their seasonal home. They created the rock markings known as the “Barrier Canyon” style. Later, in the early 1900s, ranchers built several stock trails into Horseshoe so cows and sheep could reach water and feed in the canyon bottom. Eventually, the ranchers constructed a pumping operation to fill water tanks on the canyon rim. Many of these modifications are still visible today. The Great Gallery is the best known and most spectacular of the Horseshoe Canyon panels. This well-preserved site includes both pictographs (painted figures) and petroglyphs (figures etched in the rock). The tapered, life-size figures, lacking arms and legs and frequently containing intricate designs, are characteristic of the Barrier Canyon style. During later periods, the Fremont and ancestral Puebloan cultures left their own distinctive markings in the canyon. They left this area about 700 years ago. Though Horseshoe Canyon is most famous for its ancient rock markings, the canyon’s Camping You may camp at the west rim trailhead on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There is a vault toilet, but there is no water. No overnight camping is allowed in Horseshoe Canyon within the park boundary. Hiking From the west rim trailhead, the strenuous hike to the Great Gallery is 7 miles roundtrip (11.2 km), with an elevation change of 750 feet (228 m). The hike requires about six hours. Pets are prohibited below the rim of Horseshoe Canyon. Group size is limited to 20 people. Bring your own drinking water. Prospectors explored the area in the mid1900s, improving many stock trails to accommodate vehicles and drill rigs. Though they searched the rock layers for oil and other minerals, no successful wells or mines were ever established around Horseshoe Canyon. After Horseshoe Canyon was added to Canyonlands National Park in 1971, grazing and mineral exploration in the canyon stopped. Today, people descend the old stock trail and marvel at the history of this magnificent canyon. There is no water above the canyon rim and water sources are unreliable within the canyon. You should purify any water you find in the canyon. Guided Hikes Rangers lead guided hikes in Horseshoe Canyon when staff are available. Contact Hans Flat Ranger Station at 435-259-2652, or visit www.nps.gov/cany for current schedules. You can arrange special hikes for educational or other large groups by contacting Hans Flat Ranger Station. Hikes usually depart the west rim parking lot at 9 am. Map The sheer sandstone walls of Horseshoe Canyon How to Get There Do not use a GPS to get to Horseshoe Canyon—use a map instead. Two-wheel drive vehicles can get to Horseshoe Canyon via a 30-mile graded dirt road off UT 24 or a 47-mile dirt road from Green River. Drive time is roughly 2.5 hours from Moab or 1.5 hours from Green River. A four-wheel-drive road leads to the east rim of Horseshoe Canyon from Hans Flat Ranger Station. All roads may become impassable during storms. For road conditions, call Hans Flat Ranger Station at 435-259-2652 between 8 am and 4:30 pm, or visit go.nps.gov/ canyroads. Most visitors reach the canyon from the west side. More Information Maps of Horseshoe Canyon include the Trails Illustrated series topographic map for Canyonlands National Park (The Maze & NE Glen Canyon), and the USGS 7.5-minute series Sugarloaf Butte topographic map. You can purchase these maps and other publications from Canyonlands Natural History Association at 435-259-6003, or online at www.cnha.org. Additi
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Needles District Trails and Roads Overlook/ Paved road Unpaved 2-wheel-drive road High-clearance, 4-wheel-drive road Rapids Locked gate At-large Backpacking Zone Name of Backpacking Zone Hiking Trail Name Ranger station Developed Campground Self-guiding trail Picnic area Backcountry Vehicle Camp Backcountry Trailhead Parking Drinking Water Designated Backpacking Site Toilet NOTE: White shading within Canyonlands National Park indicates areas with designated site camping only. Col n orado I N Riv er THE Lo D I A N C K 0 A N Y O Road 7. N Big Spring Canyon Overlook Hamburger Rock (BLM) 4.5 Slickrock 2.0 2 1. N O 1.0 O N Y 8. 5 O CANYON Butler/West Side Canyons N Salt/Horse 5 1. Castle Arch 0.4 Fortress 0.5 Arch NY Druid Arch 4.7 NYO N CA ST CA E LO 3 CA 1.7 3. 9 miles from 211 to park boundary Road ends at park boundary S CA W A U SQ LC3 Tower Ruin 4.0 T 1.9 2.4 Paul Bunyans Potty DA VI NY 5 2. NG RI SP G BI CP2 LC2 1.5 Peekaboo LC1 N CANYON 1.0 Joint Trail SQ1 SQ2 1.0 5 0.2 1.3 0.4 EC2 EC3 0. 1.4 3.1 2.3 VIL S DE S N E B A R BS2 1.5 5 0. G 0.6 2.0 H CP1 2.5 BS1 3 2. EC1 0.6 Permit required for vehicle entry Squaw Flat 0.5 0.8 1.5 5 Horsehoof 0. Bobby Jo 1.2 CP5 CP4 CP3 CHESLER PA R K Elephant Hill 0 Needles Visitor Center to 191 34mi 53km Cave Spring 1.0 1.1 DP1 1.5 ELEPHANT 1.6 Devils Kitchen 0.6 1.5 Red Lake/ Grabens 2.0 LAN 1.0 3. (Privately owned) Roadside Ruin 6.4 E CL O CY Brown Betty Rapids Needles Outpost 211 Wooden Shoe Arch Overlook 2 4.0 New Bates Wilson 2. NE KE L OW E R RE D L A Pothole Point Visitor Center HORS CA N YO N No Trail Across River 2.6 1.0 E E Bas in E Needles North Confluence Overlook Confluence R C Colorado River Overlook The Slide art LOOP ISLAND IN THE SKY THE MAZE NORTH ckh 0.5 G ree 15 miles from 211 to park boundary SC4 5. 0 Bobbys Hole Angel Arch N Upper Jump Frequently impassable for 4-wheel-drive vehicles NY O Davis/Lavender 0 5. K CREE CA SC3 E E F B A S I EN LAV B DE SAL R T Permit required for vehicle entry N Cleft Arch SC2 SC1 3.0 Kirk Cabin 3.5 Printed by Canyonlands Natural History Association 12/17 Cathedral Butte to 211 18mi 29km Cathedral Butte Hiking Trails Over 60 miles of interconnecting trails present hikers with spectacular canyon scenery. Some of the more common routes are described below. Trails traverse a mixture of slickrock benches and sandy washes, and some may require negotiating steep, rocky passes with drop-offs, narrow areas and ladders. Water sources are unreliable; carry all that you will need. Trails are marked with cairns (small rock piles) and signs at intersections. ELEPHANT HILL TRAILHEAD SQUAW FLAT LOOP “A” TRAILHEAD ç Big Spring Canyon to Squaw Canyon 7.5 mi/12 km, 3-4 hrs round trip Chesler Park Viewpoint 6mi/10km, 3-4 hrs round trip This popular trail leads across to a pass overlooking a scenic expanse of desert grasses and shrubs surrounded by sandstone spires. Chesler Park Loop / Joint Trail 11 mi/18 km, 5-7 hrs round trip SHORT HIKES Short on time? Four short, selfguiding interpretive trails highlight various aspects of the area's cultural and natural history. Trail guides are available in the visitor center and at trailheads for a nominal fee. Roadside Ruin .3 mi/.5 km, 20 minutes Easy trail. Leads to an ancestral Puebloan granary. Cave Spring .6 mi/1 km, 45 minutes Two ladders. Leads to historic cowboy camp and prehistoric pictographs. Pothole Point . 6 mi/1 km, 45 minutes Uneven surface. Leads to pothole communities, views of the Needles. Slickrock Trail 2.4 mi/4 km, 2 hours Uneven surface. Several viewpoints and sometimes bighorn sheep. Four-Wheel-Drive Roads This loop travels beyond the viewpoint described above, providing great views of the Needles. The southern portion, called the Joint Trail, winds through deep, narrow fractures in the rock. A short segment follows the four-wheel-drive road. Druid Arch 11 mi/18 km, 5-7 hrs round trip This trail offers one of the most spectacular views in the Needles. It follows the first part of the Chesler Park trail, then branches off to travel along the bottom of Elephant Canyon through deep sand and loose rock. The last .25 mile at the upper end is steep with 1 ladder and some scrambling. BIG SPRING CANYON TRAILHEAD ç Confluence Overlook 10 mi/16.5 km, 5-6 hrs round trip Unlike other Needles hikes, this trail traverses dry, open country along the northern edge of the geologic faults that shaped the Needles. Trail ends at a cliff overlooking the junction of the Green and Colorado rivers 1,000 feet below. D* One of the most technical four-wheel-drive roads in Utah, Elephant Hill presents drivers with steep grades, loose rock, stair-step drops, tight turns and back
corncobs, gourd shells, and foodstuffs, but artifacts are gone. Long ago rodents ate the contents of most structures, or looters took them away. Usually all we see in structures today are thick deposits of packrat droppings. If you find any archeological or historical objects, leave them in place. Removing, damaging, or even moving an artifact destroys a site’s scientific value for future archeologists. It also deprives other visitors of the enjoyment of seeing the objects on site. 7 Narrow-leaved yucca (Yucca angustissima) Tribes use almost every part of this common plant. The sharp spines on the leaf tips serve as needles. Leaf fibers can be made into cord and rope and woven into sandals and mats. The flowers and fruits can be eaten. The roots yield saponin, a substance used as soap. 9 Pinyon (Pinus edulis) The cones of this pine contain tasty, proteinrich seeds which have been an important food for the human inhabitants of this area as well as for birds and rodents. They can be eaten raw or roasted. Roadside Ruin T R A I L G U I D E cactus (Opuntia sp.) 10 Pricklypear This cactus bears a sweet, juicy, edible fruit. The pads can be eaten after being roasted and scraped to remove the spines. For medicinal use, compresses are made by splitting a cactus pad and applying the cut surface to a wound. 8 Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) The soft, fibrous bark of this tree provided diapers and cradleboard padding. The berries can be made into tea for medicinal purposes, or pierced and strung as beads. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association Printed on recycled paper 10/18 2.1m EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA 0.3 mile (.5km) THE NEEDLES DISTRICT CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK Who Lived Here? Around 950 ce (Common Era), ancestral Puebloan populations around Mesa Verde and Fremont communities to the north were growing. Emigration into the Canyonlands area increased. Both groups were farmers, seeking locations that provided water, arable land, building sites, and a variety of wild plants. One of those productive locations was the nearby Salt Creek drainage. The ancestral Puebloans practiced full-time farming, but the Fremont split their time between farming and foraging. They raised corn, beans, squash, and cotton and gathered seeds, roots, and fruits. They also hunted deer and bighorn sheep and trapped or snared small animals and birds. Climate change and regional droughts in the late 1200s made farming difficult. By the end of the century most farmers had emigrated south to what is now New Mexico and Arizona. They joined other groups that would become the Hopi and Zuni tribes. Others stayed and adapted to the colder climate by relying on wild plant gathering. These groups would become local Ute and Paiute tribes. Though a later visitor named this place “Ruin,” today’s tribes would not use that word. They say their ancestors in the spiritual world continue to use this place. This ⅓-mile (0.5 km) loop leads to a typical ancestral Puebloan-era structure. Few in the park are in as good condition as this one. Along the way you will see native plants which people used to meet their daily needs. They will help acquaint you with the way of life of the early inhabitants of this area. Trail Guide Follow the Numbered Posts 1 Indian ricegrass (Stipa hymenoides) The seeds have excellent food value and were gathered in quantity, parched, and ground into meal. 2 Peppergrass (Lepidium montanum) The delicate clusters of white flowers ripen into disklike seeds with a hot, peppery taste. Tribes grind these seeds to use as a spice. The Navajo also use peppergrass for medicinal purposes. 3 Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) This is one of several species of sage found in this area. The plant furnishes a light yellow dye. The fibrous bark can be pounded and twisted into weak cordage. Other species of sage can be used for seasoning, medicine, and tea. 4 Fremont barberry (Mahonia fremontii) The Hopi extract a bright yellow dye from the roots of this shrub. The wood is suitable for making various tools. The bright yellow flowers ripen into edible berries. 5 Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens) The seeds of this shrub are used as food; the ashes are used as baking powder. 6 Structures like this could have held corn, seeds, and nuts, or they could have been storage for ceremonial items used for religious practice. In these cases, they are often well hidden or located in almost inaccessible places. Please do not climb on this structure or disturb it in any way. The mortar is very fragile and even touching it will hasten its collapse. The small, rectangular doors were covered with slabs of rock. This structure’s door is on the roof. Some structures still contain
Sl ic kr ock  to s ands n e parking Cave Spring cowboy camp pictographs S li ckroc k T R A I L G U I D E hiking trail s ands to n ladder e This 0.6-mile (1 km) loop trail leads to a cowboy camp, rock paintings, a perennial spring, up two wooden ladders onto slickrock sandstone, and back to the parking area. Take the left fork at the trail intersection and hike clockwise around the loop. Climate isn’t the only factor that has changed the canyons. Upstream erosion, hastened by cattle grazing, created deeper soil in this area, allowing the sagebrush and rabbitbrush that you see near the trailhead to flourish. They probably have thrived since the days when Cave Spring was an active cowboy camp. Canyon Country The geology and climate of Canyonlands have created an unusual landscape characterized by maze-like canyons, sheer cliff faces, strange rock formations, deep crevices, and alcoves. Some areas are hospitable to life; some are not. Water plays a major role in determining suitable habitat for humans as well as plants and animals. As you hike Cave Spring Trail, notice how the presence of water has affected each area. Plants, animals, and people have all played a part in shaping the environment we see today. In turn, the canyons have molded the behavior, adaptations, and character of the inhabitants. On the cover: The Flying V Bar, Lazy TY, and Bar X Bar cattle brands were used by the ScorupSommerville Cattle Company. The Three Swipe is still used by the Dugout Ranch. The Nature Conservancy purchased the ranch from the Redd family in 1997, and the 5,200-acre property is now managed by Heidi Redd as a working ranch. She calls the brand the Bear Claw. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association Printed on recycled paper 10/18 2.1m 0.6-mile loop (1 km) THE NEEDLES DISTRICT EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK Cowboys In the late 1800s pioneering cattlemen settled in canyon country and carved successful cattle operations out of this desert. In 1926 John Albert Scorup and his partners formed the Scorup-Sommerville Cattle Company, which grew to be the largest in Utah. As many as 10,000 head of cattle ranged over 1.8 million acres. This area included The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. Widespread ranching required cowboys to stay on the open range with their cattle. They lived in isolated outdoor camps such at this one near Cave Spring. They used these camps from the late 1800s through 1975, when cattle ranching ended inside the park. Many original items left by the cowboys remain. Please do not enter the camp, touch, or remove the objects. Cowboys usually worked for several weeks or months at a time. From daylight until dark, the men watched the cattle and moved them to feed and water. Since it took 200 acres to feed one cow, and water sources were many rugged miles apart, the life of a cowboy was difficult. Each cowboy packed his belongings, clothes, and bedding on a mule. Other mules carried food, water, and grain for the horses. The cowboys cooked over an open fire, using Dutch ovens and other simple cookware. Usual cowboy fare included beans, bacon, potatoes, canned goods, sourdough biscuits, and the ever-present coffee. Cowboys established the camp at Cave Spring because of the reliable water source. Rainwater percolating through layers of porous sandstone forms these seeps. Moisture hastens erosion of the rock face and carves alcoves. Sacred Water Springs are rare in the desert. In the alcove beyond the cowboy camp, you'll notice soot-blackened ceilings, handprints, painted figures, and grinding depressions. These tell us that this precious resource also attracted earlier people. Ancestors of today's American Indians occupied these canyons six millennia before the cattlemen arrived, about 6,000 to 700 years ago. Before the adoption of corn agriculture, American Indians kept on the move. They followed the annual migrations of their prey and camped near areas with fresh water and plants they could use. Once they domesticated foods like squash, corn, and beans, they moved less and began farming. They left the area when the water table dropped following prolonged drought, making farming difficult. Descendants of these people still live in the region and consider the spring a sacred place. Help protect our heritage by not entering the spring. Do not touch or mark the rock art. It is a violation of federal law to deface pictographs. Plants and Animals Few plants can survive the intense heat and dryness of bare rock. Shallow pockets of soil support the growth of biological soil crust. This crust is made up of cyanobacteria, lichens, moss, fungi, and algae, and it is an essential component of the desert ecosystem. It protects soils from wind and water erosion and enriches them with nitrogen and other nutrients. Biological soil crust can ta
Pothole Point T R A I L What’s for dinner? Largely confined to their puddle, pothole residents create a complex food web. Filter feeders eat algae and microscopic plants. Shrimp feast on bacteria, algae, and the remains of less successful life forms. The Great Basin spadefoot toad consumes up to half its body weight in insects and shrimp every night. Some pothole residents might become snacks for ravens or bats. The desert may seem lifeless, but survival strategies evolved over time let organisms thrive in unlikely places. The climate here is rapidly getting hotter and drier. What might that mean for life in the potholes? G U I D E Canyonlands National Park protects the tenacious creatures that call this desert home and provides opportunities for us to learn from their stories. How might you adapt your “survival strategies” after exploring the potholes of Canyonlands? National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association Printed on recycled paper 10/18 2.1m EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA 0.6 mile (1km) THE NEEDLES DISTRICT CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK Deserts may seem lifeless, but look closer. Pinyon and juniper trees thrive here. Grasses spring up between rocks. Coyotes howl, ravens soar, and lizards bask in the sun. Even the puddles teem with tiny life. How does it survive? Take a Walk on the Wild (and Rocky!) Side This short loop trail crosses sandstone dimpled with pockets called potholes. When wet or dry, potholes are tiny—and sensitive— ecosystems. Body oils, soaps, and sunscreens easily pollute the water. Protect these ecosystems by never putting anything (like fingers or feet) into potholes, and by walking around potholes, even when they are dry. The bumpy soil along the trail is also alive. Biological soil crusts are living communities of cyanobacteria, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi. Soil crust prevents erosion, stores moisture, and provides critical nutrients for plants. Protect this life by staying on trail. How Do Potholes Form? The sandstone along this trail has not eroded evenly. Weakly acidic rainwater collects in surface depressions and dissolves the rock’s cementing material, making shallow depressions deeper. Microbes produce a thin film that lines the rock surface, keeping water from soaking into the sandstone. As water sits, an ecosystem comes to life. Escape, Tolerate, Resist 1. Fairy shrimp 2. Tadpoles 3. Mosquito larvae 4. Snail 5. Beetle larva and adult With rock temperatures up to 150°F (60°C) and only 7 to 9 inches (17-23 cm) of rain per year, which strategy would you use to survive? • Escapers (mosquitoes, adult tadpole shrimp and fairy shrimp, spadefoot toads) cannot tolerate dehydration. For them, potholes are a convenient place to breed and lay droughttolerant eggs. 1 • Tolerators (rotifers, shrimp eggs) can withstand an almost complete loss of body water. Microscopic tardigrades slow their metabolism to 0.1 percent of normal and form a waxy cyst to protect their remaining moisture. Some tolerators can rehydrate and become fully functional in as little as 30 minutes after it rains. • Resistors (snails, mites) use a waterproof outer layer to prevent desiccation. Some have a shell or exoskeleton that prevents water loss, while others burrow and seal themselves in fine layers of mud. When potholes dry out, life doesn’t end—it hides. Within the cracked mud, hundreds of microscopic eggs might just be waiting for the next rain. 6. Tadpole shrimp 7. Clam shrimp 8. Gnat larvae 2 7 6 4 3 5 8
Viewpoint 3 Viewpoint 4 Lower Little Spring Canyon Big Spring Canyon Gifts from the Sea The gray and purple rock layers visible in Little Spring Canyon contrast sharply with the red and white rock that dominates most of The Needles district. Both, however, were derived from the same source — the ocean. Millions of years ago this area was covered by a shallow sea. Little Spring Canyon is predominately limestone, a hard sedimentary rock composed mostly of calcium carbonate, the hard parts of tiny marine animals that settled to the ocean floor as they died. Fossilized remains of crinoids, brachiopods and other Brachiopod marine invertebrates give testimony to the ocean’s Crinoid presence. A Monumental Change Grand View Point and Junction Butte, rising a thousand feet above Big Spring Canyon, are visible to the north. These landmarks show erosional patterns typical of sedimentary rock. The various layers exhibit different degrees of resistance to weathering. Softer rocks, such as shales and mudstones, crumble into slopes. Sandstones, limestones and other harder rocks maintain vertical bluffs. The massive Wingate cliffs, the most prominent layer, were once enormous sand dunes. The spires of The Needles district display the red-and-white banding of Cedar Mesa Sandstone, which was formed as sandy beaches and dunes repeatedly overlaid red sediments washed down from the mountainous Uncompahgre Uplift to the northeast. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Moab, UT 84532 The Canyonlands region remained near sea level during the time these rock layers were deposited. Change came when massive forces within the earth pushed these layers upward, forming the Monument Uplift and causing the rock layers to fracture. Cracks and joints weakened the rocks, exposing them to erosion from water and wind. Given time, these forces molded the rocks into the spires and mushroom shapes of The Needles. Slickrock Foot Trail T R A I L G U I D E Navajo Ss. Kayenta Fm. Wingate Ss. Chinle Fm. Moenkopi Sh. White Rim Ss. Organ Rock Sh. Cedar Mesa Ss. Lower Cutler Beds Honaker Trail Fm. Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association Illustrations by Teri Manning Printed on recycled paper 06/19 2.1m EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA RIVER Paradox Fm. LEGEND Fm. – Formation Sh. – Shale Ss. – Sandstone 2.4 miles (4 km) roundtrip 2.5 to 3 hours NEEDLES DISTRICT CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK Viewpoint #4 Viewpoint #3 Little Spring Canyon Big Spring Canyon Viewpoint #2 Viewpoint #1 Scenic Drive The Slickrock Foot Trail provides an opportunity for beginners to orient themselves to trails in Canyonlands National Park. The trail is marked with cairns (small rock piles) spaced at intervals. Keep an eye out for cairns in the distance as you walk the trail and look for four side trails—marked by small signs— that lead to viewpoints. Bicycles and pets are not allowed on the trail. Slickrock, a general term for any bare rock surface, dominates much of the landscape in Canyonlands. For millions of years, natural forces have interacted to create the sweeping vistas and landmarks visible along this trail. Ironically, one of the dominant forces in shaping the landscape is now an intermittent feature of this semi-arid region. Can you guess what it is? Viewpoint 1 Panorama A Land Exposed Geological landmarks are visible in every direction. The La Sal Mountains to the north­ east and the Abajo Mountains to the southeast are igneous formations created when molten rock (magma) rose from the Earth’s interior and slowly cooled and crystallized underneath layers of sandstone, shale, and other sedimentary rocks. Eventually the overlying layers eroded, exposing the igneous rock as our present-day mountains. Dominating the rest of the scene is the stair-step topography of canyon country: canyons, buttes, mesas, and needles. Unlike the fire-born igneous mountains, these older sedimentary rocks were deposited by wind and water. Layer upon layer of sand, silt, clay, and gravel were laid down over geologic time. Following deposition of these sediments, water gradually eroded them into the formations visible today. Ekker Butte 12 MILES 4 MILES Needles Overlook 5 MILES 13 MILES North Sixshooter Peak 8 MILES Please report any bighorn sheep sightings to a park ranger. Upper Little Spring Canyon Sculpting Forces Water has played a vital role in carving this canyon. Although precipitation in the park averages only nine inches per year, late summer flash flooding is common. The impact of swiftly moving, sediment-laden floodwaters as well as water alternately freezing and thawing within rock cracks has worked in conjunction with La Sal Mountains gravity to become the dominant 37 MILES sculpting force. Colorado River Basin Elaterite Butte Viewpoint 2 Molly's Nipple 11 MILES Needles 4.5 MILES Abajo Mountains 23 MILES Water has also influenced the sparse, open character of this landscape.
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Bighorn Sheep Desert bighorn sheep roam some of the most inhospitable land in canyon country. Their diet consists of the same spiny shrubs that scrape the shins of hikers. Once feared to be nearing extinction, the desert bighorn is making a tentative comeback in southeast Utah due to reintroduction efforts by the National Park Service. With one of the few remaining native herds, Canyonlands has been a vital source of animals for this program. A Story of Survival Accounts from early explorers tell us that more than two million desert bighorn once roamed the southwest. By the late 1800s however, bighorn sheep had disappeared or declined in many areas. Bighorn sheep are extremely vulnerable to diseases from livestock. Domestic sheep introduced pathogens like scabies (an ear mite) and anthrax (a bacterial disease), and herd after herd of wild sheep were decimated. Early explorers, settlers, and trophy hunters also killed bighorns. Increased competition with domesticated cattle and sheep for food didn’t help the situation. In 1975, Utah’s population numbered around 1,000 sheep. When Canyonlands was established in 1964, there were approximately 100 bighorn sheep remaining in the park. To protect these animals, in the 1970s the park phased out grazing allotments within park boundaries. The Bureau of Land Management, whose lands border the park, limited grazing leases to cattle only, which lessened the risk of exposure to disease from domestic sheep – probably the most important step in preserving bighorn populations. In the early 1980s, biologists began relocating sheep from the growing population in Canyonlands in order to establish new herds. Since sheep are poor dispersers, this is the only way to return them to their historic ranges. To accomplish this, park staff captured sheep in nets fired from helicopters, then staff assess the sheep's health and age and transport suitable animals to a relocation area. Since the program began, sheep have been reestablished in Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Sheep relocated to the San Rafael Swell west of Canyonlands have created two herds totaling more than 600 animals. Today, the bighorn population in Utah is estimated at 3,000 animals. There are roughly 350 sheep in Canyonlands, with separate herds in each of the districts. Though restoration efforts appear to be working, increased human activity and development continue to threaten the desert bighorn sheep. For the remaining herds to survive, intensive management and conservation measures may be necessary. The protection of undeveloped land and wilderness areas is key to the species’ survival. Canyonlands will continue to play a large role in this effort. If you see a bighorn sheep, please complete the form on the other side of this page. Bighorn Sheep Observation Form By recording your observations on this form, you’ll be helping scientists study the effects of human–bighorn interactions on range utilization and travel routes. Your Name: _________________________ Phone:____________________ Park or Area:______________________ Date:____________ Time:______________ Your location (be specific): ___________________________________ Location of Bighorn: ______________________________________________________________________________ Details of terrian on which bighorn were sighted: Rocky slope (lower, middle or upper?) Cliff base River edge Approximate distance to the animal(s):_____________________________ Number of sheep (please estimate age using diagram at the bottom of the page): Number of Ewes:_________ Ages: __________ Number of Rams: _______ Ages: __________ Unknown Sex: __________ Of these, ______ were lambs Total number in this observation:___________ Were you (and your group): In a vehicle Walking In camp Other On a motorcycle On a mountain bike In a boat What was the reaction of the bighorn to your presence? None Continued lying down Walked away Continued feeding Ran away Watched you Noted your presence then resumed activity (please describe below) Other __________________________________________________________________________________ Please note any ailments you noticed: Coughing Loose Hair Nasal Discharge Lethargic Other___________________________________________________________________________________ Other Information: ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Completed Forms Please leave completed forms at
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Geology Canyonlands National Park is a showcase of geology. In each of the park’s districts, visitors can see the remarkable effects of millions of years of erosion on a landscape of sedimentary rock. Pictured above, the Green River has carved a channel out of rock layers deposited nearly 300 million years ago. Deposition Most of the rock found in Canyonlands today came from distant mountain ranges like the ancestral Rockies and even the Appalachians. For millions of years, rock was broken down and carried here by wind and water, creating deposits that eventually became distinct layers of sedimentary rock. Some layers were laid down by rivers, their sandy channels surrounded by swamps and Uplift Many of the rocks exposed in Canyonlands were deposited near sea level. Today, the average elevation here is over 5,000 feet above sea level – a significant uplift. Canyonlands is part of a region called the “Colorado Plateau,” an area that stands high above the surrounding country. About 20 million years ago, movement in the Earth’s crust began to alter the landscape of North America, building modern landforms like the Rocky Mountains, Nevada’s Basin and Range, and the Colorado Plateau. Some geologists Erosion Today’s landscape is one of erosion. As this area gradually rose, rivers that once deposited sediment on the lowlands began to remove it from the emerging plateau. The Green and Colorado Rivers began carving into the geologic layer cake, exposing buried sediments and creating the canyons of Canyonlands. However, the rivers aren’t the only force of erosion. Summer thunderstorms bring heavy rains that scour the landscape. Some layers erode more easily than others. As softer rock dissolves away, layers of harder rock form exposed shelves, giving the canyon walls their stair-step appearance. Occasionally, a slab of harder rock will protect a weaker layer under it, creating balanced rocks and towers. Great examples of this are visible in Monument lakes. Wind brought some of the thickest layers, creating vast sand deserts or dune fields on the shores of an ancient sea. The accumulating rock created a geologic layer cake, with most of the material hidden below the surface. There were no canyons: only vast plains gently sloping into the distance. But change was coming... believe that the plateau has risen as much as 10,000 feet since the uplift began. These movements also created cracks where melted rock rose from deep inside the Earth. In some places, it cooled before reaching the surface, creating pockets of harder, igneous rock within the surrounding sedimentary layers. Eventually, erosion exposed these harder deposits, creating the isolated mountain ranges visible from Canyonlands: the La Sals, Henrys and Abajos. Basin at the Island in the Sky and the Land of Standing Rocks in the Maze. Water also seeps into cracks in the rock, eroding and widening them until only thin spires remain, like those found in the Needles. As the work of erosion continues, today's geologic displays will eventually disappear, making way for future wonders. Rock Sequence of the Canyonlands Area TERTIARY This sequence shows the deposited layers from youngest (top) to oldest (bottom). For clarity, the entire record of visible layers in this area is shown, including those not found in Canyonlands. Older rocks are not exposed in southeast Utah, except for Precambrian rocks along the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon. Geologic names are actively debated and vary regionally, so sometimes two names are listed. Descriptions of the dominant layers 1.6 in Canyonlands National Park: C R E TA C E O U S 66 Navajo Sandstone Sandstone. Desert sand dune environment with periodic flooding. Heavily crossbedded, some dinosaur tracks. Forms tan cliffs and domes. Island in the Sky mesa top, Horseshoe Canyon. Abajo, Henry, La Sal Mountains Green River FM Uinta Basin Source of oil Wasatch/Claron FM Bryce Canyon NP (hoodoos) Book Cliffs Source of coal Mesa Verde Group Kayenta Formation Sandstone, siltstone, with limestone and shale. Dinosaur tracks and ripple marks sometimes visible. Meandering river environment. Forms ledges and slopes. Island in the Sky mesa top. Badlands along I-70. Mancos Shale Wingate Sandstone Dakota Sandstone Cedar Mtn/Burro Cyn FM Mesa tops, canyons at Hovenweep NM Sandstone. Desert sand dune environment. Forms prominent red cliffs and spires in the canyonlands basin. Island in the Sky, Candlestick Tower, the Orange Cliffs. 144 Source of Uranium and Dinosaur Tracks throughout SE Utah and SW Colorado San Rafael Group Glen Canyon Group JURASSIC Morrison Formation Summerville Formation Curtis Formation Exposed along the Green River Delicate Arch Arches NP Entrada Sandstone Horseshoe Cyn. Trailhead Carmel Formation White Rim Sandstone Sandstone. Desert/near-shore sand dunes with periodic flooding. Forms cliffs
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Gnats In the late spring and early summer, swarms of tiny biting gnats often greet visitors to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Also called midges, no-see-ums, punkies and moose flies, these miniscule pests thrive in the scattered pinyon-juniper forests of southeast Utah. Regardless of their name, it is no secret that a large population of these creatures can make outdoor activity unbearable. Natural History Biting gnats are parasitic organisms similar to mosquitoes and are capable of very annoying bites. However, while mosquitoes pierce the skin and feed with mouthparts similar to a hypodermic needle, biting gnats have scissor-like mandibles that cut the skin to produce a small, bleeding wound. In the process of biting, saliva penetrates the skin causing an allergic reaction. This reaction is minor in most people, though it can be severe in rare cases. Only females bite as they require a blood meal to produce eggs (males feed on plants). Gnats are active mostly during the day, especially around mid-morning and dusk. Biting usually peaks during a three week period in late spring or early summer, and is usually more severe following droughts. Evidence of a bite may include itching, discomfort and localized swelling. Anti-itch creams may alleviate discomfort. Visitors can lessen their chances of being bitten by wearing protective clothing (long sleeves/ pants), and repellants containing citronella may also be effective. The life cycle of all biting gnats begins as an egg laid by the female shortly after mating. Males attempting to mate are especially harried as their sexual potency begins to decline eight EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA hours after they pupate. A young male gnat takes about ten minutes to fertilize a willing female. However, as males reach 24 to 36 hours in age, copulation can take almost an hour. Females are intolerant of the advances of older males, and will resist sex with impotent males by flying away, kicking violently, and tipping their abdomens away. Gnats deposit eggs in places that may become moist or flooded with spring rains. In canyon country, this includes mosses, soils, potholes and the bark of Utah junipers and pinyon pines. Both eggs and larvae of some gnat species are tolerant of desiccation, becoming inactive when their habitat dries and starting their metabolic machinery again when rain moistens their home. Although the larvae will pupate whenever they reach the appropriate stage if there is adequate water available, they may spend most of the summer, fall and winter in their egg and/or larval stages. Adults often emerge from the pupal case after late spring or early summer rains. Annoying as they are, biting gnats are an essential part of the web of life in canyon country. Many animals, including birds, fish, lizards and other insects, depend on gnats as a food source.
Canyonlands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Canyonlands National Park Natural History The word ‘desert’ usually conjures images of barren, desolate lands. In fact, many plants and animals have adapted to this environment. The collared lizard (shown above) is one of Canyonlands' more colorful inhabitants. Desert Ecology Deserts form where lack of water limits life. At the middle latitudes (30 degrees) in each hemisphere, deserts occur where warm, dry air masses descend toward the earth’s surface. Deserts also form where localized high pressure zones result from warm, dry air flowing off mountains. The interior of continents tend to be drier than coastal areas, so deserts are common in these regions as well. Canyonlands lies in the interior of the North American continent, in the rain shadow of mountains to the west. The park sits near the center of a region known as the “Colorado Plateau.” As the name suggests, the Colorado River drains this region, much of which is over a mile above sea level. Elevations inside the park range from 3,700 to 7,200 feet. Animals The natural quiet of Canyonlands often creates the impression of lifelessness. Yet many animals live here. Birds, desert cottontails, kangaroo rats and lizards are common and may be seen by a majority of visitors. Many desert animals are either inactive during daylight hours or wary of humans, so sightings can be special events. Canyonlands’ hot climate and lack of water seems to favor small mammals. Because of their size, these animals have an easier time finding shelter and require less food and water to live. Rodents are numerous, with nine species of mice and rats alone. Beavers, the largest North American rodent, are found along the Colorado and Green rivers. Desert bighorn sheep One animal uniquely adapted to life in the desert is the kangaroo rat. This rat lives its entire life consuming nothing but plant matter. Its body produces water by metabolizing the food it eats. However, even the kangaroo rat is prone to spending the hottest daylight hours sleeping in a cool underground burrow and The park averages 9 inches of rain annually, more than most deserts. However, much of this moisture falls as snow which cannot be used by plants. Some rain falls during summer monsoons which drop so much water so quickly that much of it washes away. Extreme temperatures further complicate life in Canyonlands. Summer highs frequently exceed 100 degrees, while winter lows can dip below zero. In a single day, air temperatures may fluctuate as much as 40 degrees. Additionally, clear skies, sparse vegetation, strong winds and low humidity all encourage evaporation. Water can disappear before it hits the ground. The animals and plants in Canyonlands have many adaptations that enable them to survive these conditions. may even plug the opening with dirt or debris for insulation. The desert climate also favors reptiles like lizards and snakes. Reptiles are cold-blooded, regulating their body temperature with sunshine and shade rather than internally. Since keeping warm in the desert requires little work during summer, reptiles can use their energy to find food and reproduce. During cold months, reptiles hibernate. Large mammals like mule deer and mountain lions must roam vast territories in order to find food and water, and sometimes migrate to nearby mountains during summer. Desert bighorn sheep live year-round in Canyonlands. These animals make their home on the talus slopes and side canyons of the rivers, foraging on plants and negotiating the steep, rocky terrain with ease. Once in danger of becoming extinct, desert bighorns are making a tentative comeback thanks to the healthy herds in Canyonlands. Plants Many visitors are surprised at the amount of vegetation in Canyonlands. Plants are critical components to all ecosystems, and Canyonlands is no exception. Plants capture particulate dust in the air, filter gaseous pollutants, convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, provide animal habitat and possess raw materials useful to humans. A variety of adaptations in leaves and roots enable plants to survive the moisture and heat stresses here. Plant survival strategies are grouped into three basic categories: drought escapers, drought resistors and drought evaders. Drought escapers are plants that make use of favorable growing conditions when they exist. These plants are usually annuals that grow only when enough water is available. Seeds may lie dormant for years if conditions are not favorable. Spring annual wildflowers are escapers. They sprout following winter and early spring rains, and sometimes again after late summer rains. Prickly pear cactus Cryptobiotic Soil Crust In addition to other functions, soil crusts provide a haven for seeds. Potholes Potholes in the Needles District. Tadpole shrimp Drought resistors are typically perennials. Many have small, spiny leaves that reduce the impact of solar radiation, and some may drop their leave

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