Located in the middle of the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah, Canyonlands National Park is a preservation of a huge wilderness of rock. Canyonlands Park consists of 337,570 acres which is where it was expanded from 257,640 acres in 1971. The size translates to roughly 527 square miles. Canyonlands National Park is known primarily for its colorful mesas, buttes, canyons, spires, and other rock formations.
Canyonlands Park, despite its rough terrain and climate, has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. The first people known to call Canyonland area home were the hunter-gatherer tribes from about 10,000 years ago to about 2,000 years ago. We know of these people and their living conditions because of the artifacts they have left in Canyonland: hieroglyphic-like paintings in caves, fire hearths, arrow heads, and spear throwers. These artifacts tell us that these people were not just the first humans in the area, but also that they thrived in what is now Canyonlands National Park.
With all of the rich geological and anthropological history it harbors, Canyonlands National Park offers wonderful education programs for its visitors. The National Park Service, local school districts, and several nonprofit organizations have formed a cooperative venture called Canyon Country Outdoor Education. The organization leads groups from schools on field trips through several parts of Canyonland. In addition, educators can download an educational guide for first through sixth grades. By simply contacting the park's management, you can plan an educational trip for your school or youth organization that will not only teach the children about the park and its history, but allow them an opportunity to experience, first hand, one of the west's most beautiful areas.
Besides simply gaining an education, Canyonlands National Park offers many activities for you to enjoy during your visit. The most common activities are hiking, boating, four-wheeling, or biking in the vast backcountry of the park. The Island in the Sky is the best district for visiting if you are interested in more modern amenities. Often the destination of park day trippers, Island in the Sky has fantastic panoramic views from breathtaking overlooks. All are accessible via paved scenic drives or short trails for amateur hikers. If you are adventurous enough to head out to the backcountry, you may want to stay overnight. This is not uncommon, but just be sure you are prepared for the trip.
Preserving an incredible landscape of color and sandstone worn away by nature into mesas, buttes, and canyons, Canyonland is a treasure tucked away in Utah. The park, divided into four districts, offers unique and varied views for nature lovers everywhere. In addition, educational and adventurous activities such as hiking, biking, and ATV exploration make for a park the whole family can enjoy whether you make Canyonlands National Park your weekend, week-long, or day trip destination.
So, pack up the family and head to southeastern Utah to experience the beauty and education offered by Canyonlands National Park, a true natural treasure of North America.