Canyonlands Photos May30


Related Posts

Share This

Canyonlands Photos

After 5 days of pretty demanding hikes at Capitol Reef and Arches, Ali and I wanted to give our legs a bit of a break, so we put our bikes on the back of the SUV and drove them into Canyonlands National Park with us. We were closest to the Island in the Sky area which was about a 30 mile drive from our RV camp. We woke up that morning to a very grey sky, so we knew there was a chance we might be car-bound, but the rain held off – only sprinkling on us here and there.



Canyonlands is absolutely not to be missed. The contrast from Arches is marvelous, going from big beautiful things poking up out of the land to the beautifully scalloped edges of a massive hole as far as they eye can see. Even though the sun wasn’t out, our eyes were well-rewarded with stunning vistas that seemed infinite.




We ate our lunch on a ledge up above Mesa Arch and watched all the people taking photos and a few silly men/boys who actually climbed on top of the arch to be adventurous. We were joined by several families with small kids also picnicking there. One in particular was dealing with a multi-child meltdown over some chips, so the serenity of the experience was slightly frayed at the edges. But we stayed in our zen as best we could.




After lunch it was time to ride the bikes. We’d gotten some advice from the ranger at the Visitors Center about which road would be the easiest for us – we explained that our bikes were just cruisers and that we had wussy legs. For the incredibly avid mountain biker there is the White Rim Road which switchbacks all the way down into the canyon and out into the basin to the river. That was clearly a big no for us. Instead we decided to try to ride the 6 miles on the paved road from the Mesa Arch parking area out to the Grand View Point Overlook.

Only minutes into the ride we were severely questioning the ranger’s definition of “pretty flat”. I guess in comparison to the White Rim Road, sure. In comparison to actual flatness, no freakin’ way. We slogged 4 miles that were essentially a constant climb requiring us to stay in first gear before we threw in the towel and turned around. This was not the break for our legs that we had envisioned. However, the ride back to Mesa Arch was pretty enjoyable, since we were able to coast down most of the way.


We made it back to the car, loaded up the bikes again and drove out to Grand View Point Overlook. We walked the mile long rim trail there and it was amazing. With rubber legs and eyes full from feasting on such beauty, we were about to rock, paper, scissors a choice between driving out to the Upheaval Dome or heading home, when it started raining.