Friday, November 9, 2007

Shafer Canyon Overlook

The "Island in the Sky" is the north district of Canyonlands National Park, an area carved by the Green River from the north and the Colorado River coming from the east. There is only a narrow neck, wide enough for a road, that lets you get out there.

This remote island is in southeast Utah near Moab, a little north of the entrance to Arches National Park.

Near the Visitor Center is the Shafer Canyon Overlook Trail, a short 0.4 mile round trip walk that serves as a lookout tower ranging from the 1000 ft. deep canyons to the three mountain ranges that are visible in the normally very clear air.

In the distance to the left is Dead Horse Point within the Utah State Park. Further and to the right is the Anticline Overlook Point in the Canyon Rims Recreation area. All these view points are spectacular.

The scary looking Shafer Trail Road leads down to the White Rim Road that circles around and goes on for miles, overlooking the Colorado and Green Rivers. The cap rock along the Shafer Trail road is Navajo Sandstone and the route descends through the red Kayenta formation and towards the Wingate Sandstone

The White Rim Road is popular with mountain bikers and for 4WD but seems too long for hiking. From the same parking lot for the Shafer Canyon Overlook, there is the Neck Spring Trail Head. The end of the Neck Spring Trail also has some overviews of Shafer Canyon from a different angle.

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