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Canyonlands National Park, Exploring and Camping!

I love traveling and exploring! I just can’t get enough of seeing new sights and places. I recently left Colorado National Monument and hurried on over to Moab with the intent of checking out Canyonlands National Park. It had been on my un official bucket list for a while.

Upon arriving in Moab I did a little inventory check and made sure I had everything I may possibly need in the park. I planned to camp inside or at least very near the park. I made a stop at GearHeads, my favorite outdoor shop in Moab, you can read about it here in my previous post My favorite outdoor store is in Moab, Utah! Then I ventured into Canyonlands.

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My favorite outdoor store is in Moab, Utah!
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Dirty windows from a long trip, I’m working my way into Canyonlands.
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One of many views into Canyon lands, I took the road in to the Island in the Sky area. You can see into the canyons and the White Rim Trail below.

I really wanted to check out this White Rim Trail but you needed a permit and quite a bit of other gear that I did not bring and was not prepared for. I was only staying a night anyways, then headed home for Phoenix the next day. I made the most of my time and drove the road into the park that was paved and stopped at a lot of pull offs to see the canyon.

I did however take a hike to Upheaval Dome, You can read more in depth of that hike on my post Upheaval Dome Hike | Canyonlands National Park which was an awesome hike. The incomming thunderstorms were a sight to see off in the distance. I could tell they were going to produce rain over me shortly.

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This was the Upheaval Dome Hike I did.

After that hike I jumped back into my truck and headed for the next lookout points.

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The canyons were wicked looking from afar.
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Closer shots of the canyon with the rain falling in the background.
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This is the end of the Island in the Sky road, there is a small lookout and a little trail that goes off from the parking area.
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Down the small trail, I didn’t get to go too far as it started raining pretty quickly.
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Looking back at my small trek to get into this little overlook.
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Time for a relaxation and reflection break here. I’ll hang my feet over the edge. Make sure you get close to the edge sometimes in life.
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The rain came on a bit heavier over me and I could see the clouds rolling over fast.

I started jogging back to my truck at the top of the trail as it started to become extremely windy and I was nearly being knocked over. The storm continued to get gnarlier over me, dropping hail large enough in size, that it was leaving welts on my arms!

 

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Waiting out the storm in my truck. Photo with my GoPro.

I sat in my car as the storm got more intense, within minutes the parking lot was flooded, and I was debating if I should leave the spot or not, the rain came down hard mixed with the hail, I was worried I was going to get pit marks in my truck from how hard the hail was coming down.

Luckily that did not happen, and I decided to wait until it chilled out because I wanted to see if it caused any flash floods below in the canyon that I could see from above. After a while the rains calm enough to get out of my truck and go look back over the edge.

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It may be difficult to see but the rain definitely started running down all the small drainage ways into the deeper canyons below.
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It was still raining even!

The storm had calmed enough and I had the fresh smell of rain and dirt in my nose, and I love that smell, being that I live in the desert and we don’t get a lot of rain so I enjoy every minute of it when I am in the rain anywhere!

I was at the Grand Veiw Point area and I decided to head back toward the exit of the park to search for a place to camp out for the night. I needed to explore some more of the pull offs on the way out.

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One of the viewpoint areas I got out and hiked around checking out the area.
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Lots of dead trees along this trail, the desert is usually dry, but not this glorious day!
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Yet another view of the White Rim Trail below. At this point I am really wishing I was able to take that drive, but it is around 100 miles long round trip.

I continued along this little hiking trail, well the trail ended, but I wanted to see and search around all the little nooks and crannies, so I did for a little while.

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The “trail” continued this way.
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Beauty around every corner.
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Getting close to those edges again looking at all the natural drainage ways down in the bottom of the canyon.
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Gotta climb into those cracks to see what’s there.
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The White Rim Trail view again down below and the sun setting off in the distance.
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What an awesome place!

After exploring this area for a while I noticed the sun was starting to set and I knew I needed to go find a good camp site for the night.

I was looking for freebies, and I found a great spot. I didn’t spend a single dime on camping sites this entire adventure. It really cut down big time on costs for the trip.

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I found this great campsite for the night and it was perfect.
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Not much tree shade. I’ll stay in my truck, clear from the elements, all I could hope was that it didn’t rain that night.

There was nobody around me and I was completely alone, I wanted to make sure that I was safe for the night before actually falling asleep. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t going to be caught up in a flash flood incase it had started to pour again in the night and it was a pretty flat area so I was confident that I would be fine.

I wasn’t far from the edges of some smaller canyons and rock mounds, and it was a cool campsite I had stumbled upon. I did happen to look up at the clouds and noticed there were still storm clouds in the distance and I actually saw a few funnel clouds start to reach for the ground.

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This is a terrible picture and not the biggest funnel cloud but I caught one trying to come down.

I watched the skies for a few hours to make sure these funnels didn’t turn into something worse. I wanted to make sure I didn’t need to get out of there in a flash.

It seemed that the storm after a while had passed over and there wasn’t going to be a worry, I got packed up and ready to crawl into the back of my truck for a good night sleep. It had been a very long day of driving, hiking and sight seeing. As usual I made some tasty grub on my skillet and settled in for bed.

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Getting ready for bed and watching the sunset, while watching out for any signs of dangerous storm clouds.
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Goodmorning world.

As you can see I made it through the night and woke up to a beautiful warm and dry morning in the desert. It was time to pack up and get ready to hit the road again and head for home in Phoenix, AZ.

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Driver views headed out from my site.

On my way out, I got to find out where I stayed just in case I ever want to go there again, it was a small place called Dubinky Well Road. It took me to a very secluded area and no one else was around, it was perfect and most importantly, free!

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The entrance area to the backroad that took me to my camp site.

After a very long trip it was time to head out of Moab and make my way home to Phoenix to end another amazing long trip through Colorado and Utah. It was a strange day in Canyonlands with the constantly changing weather, with the rain, and hail and threats of small tornados, not to mention the endless opportunities for exploration.

This post would be quite long if I showed every little place I went to and saw. I had an amazing time in Canyonlands National Park and next time I visit I plan to take the Needles Area Entrance and see what that side has to offer.

Goodbye for now Canyonlands, ill be back for your White Rim Trail road!

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. – Jim Watkins

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