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Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky

Views from Island in the Sky reach from the depths of the Green and Colorado rivers to the heights of distant mountaintops and above. They stretch across canyon after canyon to the horizon 100 miles distant. A broad, level mesa wedged between the Green and Colorado, Island in the Sky serves as Canyonlands" observation tower. From its many overlooks sightseers absorb overwhelming vistas of almost incomprehensible dimensions. Closest to the mesa"s edge is the White Rim, a nearly continuous sandstone bench 1,200 feet below the Island. Another 1,000 feet beneath the White Rim are the rivers, shadowed by sheer canyon cliffs, and beyond them lies the country of the Maze and the Needles.

Outside the park's boundary three jagged mountain ranges abruptly break the patter of the flat topped canyon landscape. To the east rise the La Sals; to the south, the Abajos; to the southwest, the Henrys. Rain that passes by the arid soil of Canyonlands keeps these mountains mantled in forests of pine and fir. On the Island, vegetation is much sparser.

The many trails around the Island are good places to encounter wildlife, especially at dawn, at dusk, or during the cooler months. Trails also lead to striking vistas, arches and other outstanding geological features. Geologists would probably single out Upheaval Dome as the oddest geologic feature on the Island in the Sky. Measuring 1,500 feet deep, the Dome does not look like a dome at all, but rather a crater.

How to explore the Island in the Sky district:

From US 191 take Utah 313 south to the Island. A paved road continues across the Island. No water is available on the Island and an entrance fee is charged.

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