Utah has named them “The Mighty Five.” Admittedly, I’d only recognized a couple of names on The Mighty Five list when we mapped out the final days of our three-week-long teardrop trailer trip — a trip meant to include visits to as many national parks in the western U.S. as we could manage.
We charted a route from Southern California up through the state of Washington, across to Wyoming, down through Utah and back across to our home base in Cali. Utah was to be the grand finale, a chance to revisit and further explore Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, which we’d briefly done in Spring 2014, and take in three others that complete what Utah has designated their top five national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches.
Lots of folks have some idea of the existence of Arches National Park, especially due to one particular arch which shows up often in TV commercials and tourism promotions . . .
Mostly, though, folks recognize Arches because the name easily reminds them what Arches is all about . . . ARCHES!! (If you’ve never heard of Arches, check out my recent post: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Arches National Park, Utah–Simply Speechless.)
Zion and Bryce Canyon get a lot of attention as well because they each feature stellar scenery and unique hiking and/or rock climbing experiences.
Canyonlands and Capitol Reef, however, are lesser known, which is a bit of shame. As you’ll see in this and my next post, they’re both worth the visit.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Funny enough, after an entire day at Arches National Park the day before, one of our first hikes in Canyonlands led us to . . . an arch. 🙂
But there was so much more to Canyonlands–so much that stood apart from Arches. I struggled with the camera to squeeze vast ragged canyons, towering monoliths, and endless sky into tiny frames, one after the other.
I marveled at Canyonlands’ multiple personalities as we drove from one stop to the next–from dark and gritty . . .
to light and breezy . . .
from bold and vivacious . . .
to subdued and timeless . . .
As has been the case all along on this three-week trip, I continue to be amazed by the diversity of our national parks. And though some of my pictures may seem aesthetically pleasing, nothing compares to being at each of these locales in person. The experience is often breathtaking.
Whatever plans you make from this point forward in your life, please, by whatever means possible, include in them a visit to some of this nation’s awe-inspiring parks and monuments. Find a way to arrange it. Find a way to afford it. Whether you have to haul your children on your back . . .
or sell your favorite sneakers and make the trek barefoot . . .
I promise it’ll be worth your while!
As for us, we look forward to another visit to Canyonlands some day. At day’s end, though, we were happy to settle in at our campsite, reuniting with our teardrop trailer and with our dog. As you can see, we didn’t suffer. 🙂
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To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:
Or any of our stops so far on the way . . .