Scenic USA - Utah
Green River Overlook
|Photos by Andy Cook
Andy Cook Photography
Even though it's an hour's drive from Moab to the Island in the Sky's most popular viewpoints, the ride into Canyonlands National Park is far from ho-hum, as it introduces visitors to the park's impressive scenery. Immersed in a wilderness of rock, three surrounding mountain ranges break the pattern of flat topped mesas and buttes. The majority of this immense section of the Colorado Plateau remains out of reach of all but the heartiest back-country explorers. But the majestic overlooks at Grand View Point and the Green River Overlook (pictured here) may spark the imagination of all who peer down into the depths of this gaping chasm. Minds may wander along primitive pathways and down the major rivers where mountain bikers, hikers and float trippers will explore the heart of this incredible park.
Carved by the relentless Colorado and Green rivers, the Island in the Sky District covers a triangular mesa where the two rivers join. Water and gravity are the prime sculptors of this land, cutting through layers and layers of sedimentary rock. The end result is 527 square miles of canyons, mesas, buttes, arches and one of the most primitive national parks in the Southwest.
This overlook view, from 6000 feet elevation, looks out across Soda Springs Basin towards the Green River. Seeing this viewpoint for the first time may catch visitors by surprise. Those not accustomed to wide open spaces and great heights, this overlook view will live up to the term breathtaking experience. Here, the Green River is a tiny ribbon of water in one awe-inspiring canyon. An incomprehensible distance, the vista stretches out for a hundred miles to the horizon. A sandstone viewing area, sparsely decorated with Utah juniper, marks the canyon rim and signals where a 2200 foot drop-off begins to the river far below.
About halfway down into the canyons, a pencil-thin primitive White Rim Trail follows the edge of the Green River bench for 100 miles. This challenging four-wheeling drive allows for close-up exploration of the area's natural arches, Indian ruins, petroglyphs, Anasazi granaries, towers and buttes. And more amazing Island of the Sky scenery will unfold over this two day adventure.
Island in the Sky Map
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