Canyonlands National Park
WIDE OPEN SPACES
Much of the western edge of Canyonlands National Park is most accessible from highway 24 near Hanksville and Goblin Valley State Park. This is just one more example of how visitors to the Capitol Reef area are able to experience adventure and scenery within a close geographic area. To the east of Capitol Reef National Park is Canyonlands National Park, which is part of the most stunning national parks in the United States.
THE MAZE SECTION OF CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK is one of the most untamed and remote areas in all of Utah. This section of the park can be reached from Hanksville or Goblin Valley State Park via UT-24. Traveling north on UT-24, turn right onto the unpaved Lower San Rafael Road/County Road 1010 (the road is just shy of the turn-off to Goblin Valley State Park). A 48-mile drive along this isolated road will bring you to the Hans Flat Ranger Station, which is open year round.
TWO-WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLES are fine up until this point but road conditions are difficult from the ranger station to the Maze section at the base of the Orange Cliffs. From here on out, a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary for the roughly four-hour drive into the Maze. The sheer canyons and ravines of the Maze feature difficult trails leading to Shot Canyon, Water Canyon, Horse Canyon and other areas in the “Land of the Standing Rocks.” Expect to spend several days exploring this area and come well-prepared as there are no amenities or potable water here.
THE HORSESHOE CANYON section of Canyonlands is twenty miles northwest of the Maze. Hundreds of ancient Indian pictographs dating back as far as 2,000 B.C. highlight this area of the park. Getting to this five-mile area of the park requires a 31-mile trip along the unpaved road also known as Robbers Roost Road, which can be reached from UT-24.
A FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE is recommended for the turn-off onto the rocky and narrow two-mile spur road that leads to the trail head to the four pictograph “galleries.” A difficult 3.25-mile trail leads to the some of the greatest rock art on the Colorado Plateau. The winding trail drops 600 feet below the slickrock canyon rim and follows a soft sand dry wash. This area of the park can also be reached via a four-wheel drive track from the Maze district.
Click on the link to view a Canyonlands Map.
Lake Powell is also accessible through this region. Click on the link to learn more.