double clickCelebrate 60 Years of Canyonlands National Park

​Celebrating 60 Years of Majesty: The Creation of Canyonlands National Park

As we step into 2024, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Canyonlands National Park, an awe-inspiring testament to the power and beauty of nature. Established in 1964, this national treasure in southeastern Utah has been captivating hearts with its dramatic desert landscape, carved over millions of years by the Colorado River and its tributaries.

Canyonlands Island Sky 1709169615

​The Birth of a National Park

The journey to Canyonlands' designation as a national park is as winding and profound as its river-carved canyons. The idea was first proposed by Bates Wilson, then superintendent of nearby Arches National Monument. Wilson, often called the "Father of Canyonlands," led tours for scientists, conservationists, and politicians, showcasing the area's unique beauty. His passion and vision were instrumental in the creation of the park.

In September 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that officially designated Canyonlands as a national park. This momentous act preserved a landscape of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of the Colorado Plateau.

​A Land of Staggering Size and Splendor

Canyonlands is vast, covering over 337,000 acres of rugged and remote landscape. It is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves, each offering its own unique adventure and scenic beauty.

  1. Island in the Sky: The most accessible district, offering breathtaking vistas and a panoramic view of the park's remarkable landscape.
  2. The Needles: Named for its colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone, this area provides opportunities for extensive hiking and backcountry camping.
  3. The Maze: The most remote and least accessible district, The Maze is a challenging and isolated wilderness for the most intrepid explorers.
  4. The Rivers: The Colorado and Green rivers wind through the heart of Canyonlands, carving the landscape and offering rafting and kayaking adventures.

Explore this landscape the easy river! Cataract Canyon, in the heart of Canyonlands National Park, is accessed on our Cataract Canyon Classic 4-Day Expeditionincludes a flight back to Moab, Utah over Canyonlands National Park. There is also a2-day Cataract Express tripthat travels the same 100 miles of river through the park.

Cataract Canyon Paddlers Smile Rapids 24 Copy

​A Landscape Sculpted by Time

Canyonlands is more than just a feast for the eyes; it's a geological wonder. The park's myriad formations tell stories of millions of years of earth's history. The layers of rocks reveal a time when seas, deserts, and rivers dominated the landscape.

A Haven for Wildlife and Flora

Beyond its geological wonders, Canyonlands is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park's high desert ecosystem supports a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, coyotes, and numerous bird species. The plant life is equally diverse, with a range of species adapted to the arid environment.

Celebrating Six Decades of Wonder

As we mark the 60th anniversary of Canyonlands National Park, let's remember the visionaries who saw the value in preserving this unique landscape. It's a place that reminds us of our small place in the vast timeline of the earth, offering perspectives and experiences that are both humbling and enriching.

Canyonlands Meander

More Ways to Explore Canyonlands National Park

Because we love working in these incredible landscapes, we love helping others to get the most out of their plans to visit. Please call us (866-904-1160) if you have any questions about Canyonlands. There are other ways to immerse yourself in the canyon country - without even getting wet! Ask us about Jeep Rentals, Scenic Airplane Tours and more!

Kam Wixom
Kam began guiding in the Grand Canyon in 1991, met & guided with his wife in 2000, and is the proud daddy of 5 kids. He now works as the Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions.
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