Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park Travel Blog

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Upheaval Dome

It was early afternoon when we arrived at Canyonlands National Park.  Our first stop (after the obligatory entrance sign photograph) was the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. After learning a little about the park, (and getting our passport stamps!) we headed off on our first hike, up the Upheaval Dome Trail.

Upheaval Dome is a large, somewhat controversal crater formation in the park.  All around here is flatlands with eroded canyons, and here is something large, round and uplifted.  One theory to its creation is that there was a large salt deposit here left by the evaporation of an ancient sea.  As sedements layered on top of the salt, eventually the pressure caused the salt to move and "uplifted" a large dome, which eventually eroded away to reveal the crater and ridges we see today.

I think I saw this in a John Wayne movie!
  Another conflicting theory states that a meteor or comet hit this site head on (straight down) and created an impact crater that lifted the ridges up, and eroded away to what it is now.   However it was created, it's still a nice view! Not a difficult hike, either. A stone path is clearly marked up the ridge. 

We followed another trail to the edge of the canyon, with Tyler leading the way, running ahead of course. The scenery here reminds me of old west cowboy movies, in fact, I think I remember this vantage point from an old John Wayne film!  I wonder if they actually filmed here in the park?

The next viewpoint was the Green River Overlook, which offered a marvelous view of the river that created the canyon.  I'm surprised this park is not as popular as some others...the views are terrific!  Why is this place so empty, and the Grand Canyon so crowded?  I guess with so many wonderful parks in the area, this one gets lost in the shuffle.

Green River Overlook

We proceeded to all the various viewpoints and overlooks, finishing up at the Mesa Arch Trail.  A short, easy, half-mile loop trail led to Mesa Arch, which I remember seeing photographs of in travel magazines.  The arch frames the LaSal Mountains to the Northeast, and this must be a wonderful spot to view the sunrise.  Too bad we are not staying here...there is still plenty of daylight left, and we are on our way to Arches National Park, not that far away!

kensac says:
My favorate park. I drove the Shafer trail this year which was an unbelievable experience. Take a look at my report from there.
Posted on: Jan 25, 2008
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Upheaval Dome
Upheaval Dome
I think I saw this in a John Wayne…
I think I saw this in a John Wayn…
Green River Overlook
Green River Overlook
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
The entrance sign
The entrance sign
just inside the park
just inside the park
heading towards Upheaval Dome
heading towards Upheaval Dome
this way!
this way!
A rocky but well maintained trail
A rocky but well maintained trail
Upheaval Dome
Upheaval Dome
Upheaval Dome
Upheaval Dome
Walking towards the edge of the rim
Walking towards the edge of the rim
great views!
great views!
Green River overlook
Green River overlook
Green River Overlook
Green River Overlook
eroded water pockets in the rock
eroded water pockets in the rock
Mesa Arch Trail
Mesa Arch Trail
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch
Next stop, Arches National Park!
Next stop, Arches National Park!
Canyonlands National Park
photo by: halilee