Canyon Country: a geologic guide to the Canyonlands travel region (PI-34)

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National and State Parks

By: S. N. Eldredge

This vast rock desert in southeastern Utah showcases deep, colorful canyons, majestic natural monuments pictured in western movies, a fantasy land of towering pinnacles and slot canyons, rock arches and bridges, and breathtaking vistas atop mesas. Much can be seen by car, and more of this endlessly intriguing country is accessible by foot, mountain bike, four-wheel-drive vehicle, or watercraft.

You do not have to be a geologist to enjoy or interpret the scenery, for the rocks easily divulge their stories of forming in seas or on land, in deserts or in deltas, in rivers or along beaches. What a fascinating heritage: dinosaurs once sauntered through lush lowlands leaving huge footprints in mud that has now turned to rock, vast sand dunes that drifted across the area are preserved as large sweeping lines in sandstone walls, and oceans that once covered this region left fossilized corals and seashells embedded in limestone.

This guide introduces you to the rocks’ stories, to enhance your travels and your appreciation of the region. Along designated scenic byways, which are portrayed at the end of this pamphlet, look for the specific features described here and learn what their journey has been as you make yours. During your visit, tread lightly on this delicate land so that the pristine and unique landscape remains unchanged. Desert soils are extremely fragile; minimize your impact by staying on roads or marked trails.

Other Information:
Published: 1996
Pages: 25 p.
Location: Grand County and San Juan County
Media Type: Paper Publication

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