Canyonlands National Park, established in 1964, holds a vast wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Water and gravity shaped the land cutting flat layers of sedimentary rock into
hundreds of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, arches and spires.
Two great canyons are the life force of the park, those carved by the Green and Colorado rivers. Surrounding the rivers are three very different regions of the park: Island in the Sky District, the
Maze District, and the Needles District.
Canyonlands is located within a geologic region called the Colorado Plateau. It is a great section of continental crust that has endured millions of years of rock building and erosion.
Canyonlands National Park cave - large image
Advancing and retreating oceans left thick deposits of beach sands and marine limestone. Great river systems moved tons of sediment from ancient eroding mountain ranges such as the Ancestral Rockies
(forerunners of today's Rocky Mountains) and deposited that sediment in low-lying areas. Buried sediment became solid rock as pressure from overlying layers and filtering water cemented them.
After millions of years of predominantly rock-building processes, the erosion that continues today began. Roughly 10 million years ago, plates in the Earth's crust moved in such
a way that the western edge of the continent began to rise.
Canyonlands rafting and inflatable kayaking - large image
The slowly rising land mass, including the Colorado Plateau became higher and therefore more susceptible to erosion. Newly elevated highlands captured rain and snowfall and gave
birth to the Colorado River system. The uplifting land caused rivers to down-cut more rapidly, entrenching themselves in solid rock. The results are the 2,000 foot deep canyons of the
Colorado and Green Rivers cutting through the heart of Canyonlands.
Considered 'Wild America', the 527 square miles within the park hold many untold stories and have been relatively untouched by man! Learn about the first
Discover the magical treasures of this wilderness on your next Colorado river rafting and inflatable kayaking adventure to