I was in Moab in 2008 but didn't get to Canyonlands National Park so it was a must see this time around. Canyonlands is divided into three sections, Island in the Sky which is the most popular, the Needles about 60 miles south of Moab and the Maze which has no paved roads. You can't pass through any of the districts within the park by car, you have to drive all the way around, which could take 2 to 6 hours.
Enjoying the view
My first stop was to the Needles District because it is less frequented by visitors and from what I heard, the hikes were better there than in the Island of the Sky. I didn't really plan anything in particular, so I looked at the suggested short hikes in the newspaper I got at the pay station and selected the Slickrock Trail which is 2.4 miles and they claim 2 hours; I'd say we did the trail in 3.5 hours. This was the first 'real' hike my friend ever did, so we went at a very slow leisurely pace. My friend saw her first cactus, and had many other firsts.
The trail is an easy walk over sandstone and offers four 'view points' with each being more beautiful than the next, if that is possible.
The first over look offers views of six shooter peak, Elaterite Butte, Cathedral Butte, Ekker Butte, the Needles, La Sal Mountains and the Abajo Range. Although this was within minutes of starting the trail, this is where we had a small picnic lunch. The second view point looks over Upper Little Spring Canyon, where they claim you have a good chance of seeing big horn sheep; we didn't see any. At the third viewpoint you see Lower Little Spring Canyon. And the fourth viewpoint, is the most spectacular and there is a short path off this that requires a little more climbing, but it is well worth it.
Island in the Sky view
The following day we headed to Island of the Sky mesa, which is the northern part of the park, we were only here about 2-3 hours because of other plans, but we still were able to see magnificent views due to all the pullouts and over looks. The mesa is over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain.