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Canyonlands National Park

Island in the Sky

Shafer Trail Road at Island in the Sky

Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands National Park entrances are located together a few miless north of Moab.  The extremeties of the parks involve driving up to the Island in the Sky area of the park and will take most of the day to visit.  As you enter the Island in the Sky area you have an overview of the Shafer Trail, leading back to Potash Road and Moab.  This road is only suitable for 4x4 vehicles and drivers with no regard for their own safety!

Shafer Trail

As can be seen from this photo, the Shafer Trail is narrow and has a sheer cliff alongside.  Not much room to pass another vehicle or to navigate in rain or snow!



You can hardly see this lizard amongst the browns of the wood, foliage and sandy soil.


Cryptobiotic soil crust at Canyonlands

The dark brown nodules on the sandy soil is Cryptobiotic crust.  Cryptobiotic soil crust is a living groundcover that forms the foundation of high desert plant life throughout canyon country. This knobby, black crust is formed and loose soil particles are joined together, and an otherwise unstable surface becomes very resistant to both wind and water erosion.

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands

Best photographed at sunrise, Mesa Arch provides a grand view of Dead Horse State Park.  We arrived around lunchtime, but still enjoyed the vista.

Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands

Upheaval Dome was caused by either salt erosion or a meteorite - nobody knows which.  It is within a massive hole and forms a dramatic feature within the landscape.






Looking back towards Moab you can see the La Sal Mountains and the emerald blue evaporation ponds from the salt company's excavations.

Back to 2008 Holiday

On to Capitol Reef National Park