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Discover Sandstone Wonders in Canyonlands National Park

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Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.

Canyonlands National Park

Imagine tall spires of sandstone rising like trees high above your head, flat cliffs that lay 1,000 feet above their surroundings, and some of the best lifesize rock carvings in North America all in one place. That place exists - in Cayonlands National Park.

The park, a wide expanse filled with countless canyons and fantastic rock formations, is separated into three land districts by the Green and Colorado Rivers, that are also responsible for having eroded the rock, creating the natural wonders. The districts, in addition to the adjacent Horseshoe Canyon, each offer something unique and beautiful.

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Image description: Sandstone cliffs at Canyonlands National Park.

Travel to Island in the Sky, sandstone cliffs that give breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery and offer numerous day-hikes for fun exploration.

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Image description: The Needles.

Visit the Needles, found in the southeast corner of the park, named for the Cedar Mesa sandstone that rises like needles into the sky, creating impressive towers of solid rock.

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Image description: Horseshoe Canyon.

Check out the ancient rock carvings found in Horseshoe Canyon, which illustrate thousands of years of human history. Artifacts from as early as 9000-7000 BC, possible left from the Paleoindians, have been uncovered in the area!

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Image description: White Rim Road.

Or - just take a drive down White Rim Road, a 100-mile stretch that navigates through the countryside, also doable in a three- to four-day mountain bike ride.

Check out the NPS’ guide of things to know before traveling to the Canyonlands to be prepared, and also be sure to secure permits if your plans require them.

All photos from the National Park Service.