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Canyon Country

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Canyon Country

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Canyon Country is a region in the state of Utah in the United States of America. It is a wild, sparsely populated area along the southern boundary of the state, with an extraordinary concentration of national parks and monuments offering scenic opportunities galore and an inexhaustible array of hiking trails and canyoneering routes. It includes the counties of Kane, Garfield, San Juan, Wayne, and Grand.

Regions[edit]

Cities[edit]

  • Big Water — a middle of nowhere hamlet with a Libertarian and polygamist history, by the southwest end of Glen Canyon
  • Boulder — a pretty cowboy town west of Capitol Reef National Park that is right by some of the most spectacularly beautiful stretches of highway in the world
  • Blanding — a small gateway town to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Kanab — the only real desert town for miles in the Vermilion cliffs and the only piece of civilization south of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; on the way south to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, east to wild canyoneering opportunities, or northwest to Zion National Park
  • Escalante — a small town on the northern border of in Grand Staircase with some good eatin', located near beautiful canyons
  • Hanksville — you know you're nowhere when you arrive to Hanksville, far to the east of Capitol Reef, where you can refuel, eat, sleep, and get on your desert way
  • Moab — a desert tourist hub for visitors to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and a good place to buy gear or rent an ATV, also a mountain bike "cult spot"
  • Monticello — a very small town north of Blanding which boasts the region's sole Mormon Temple
  • Mount Carmel Junction — an often overlooked junction town east of Zion, near some very beautiful wilderness lands
  • Panguitch — a small town that is the largest in Garfield County and is surrounded by spectacular, mountainous National Forests
  • Thompson Springs — a small town that is home to the Sego Canyon Pictographs and Petroglyphs
  • Page, AZ — regional hub city. Plenty of lodging, food and outfitters. Close to Antelope Slot Canyon on Navajo Tribal Land.

Other destinations[edit]

There's a reason why they call it Canyon Country.

Understand[edit]

Canyon Country is home to Utah's most visited parks, with Zion National Park at the top of the list with millions of visitors each year, and while Bryce Canyon National Park is smaller in comparison, it has its fair share of driving through and logs in as the second most visited park in Utah. Northern Arizona boasts of Grand Canyon National Park, with the North Rim being close to Zion and Bryce, and the South Rim near more of a metropolitan area, and receiving the bulk of the visitors there. Favorite fare includes scenic drives along southern Utah's multitude of scenic byways including Historic US-89 that connects Zion, Bryce Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Paria Canyon, and Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park. Close to these parks is Scenic Byway 14 traveling between Cedar City, Utah and Long Valley at the junction of SR-14 and US-89, with a side spur to Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Ashdown Gorge Wilderness area. Scenic byways near Zion include the spectacular avenue from Virgin, Utah found along SR-9 through the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, and the season road that continues to SR-4 and Cedar Mountain, a gorgeous area of Utah's Dixie National Forest. In this section of the forest, there is hunting, gathering, fishing, boating, allowable pets and colorful autumn leaves on the multitude of aspen trees that line SR-4 and the dirt side roads. The visitor center for that section of Dixie National Forest is near Navajo Lake, which feeds the head water via Cascade Falls to the most spectacular and popular slot canyon in the world - the Zion Narrows.

The Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park is a few miles southwest of Cedar City and although there are not a lot of trails listed, the visitor center can help you with routes that are off the beaten path including hiking to old cabins, a free-standing arch, waterways and even technical slot canyons like Icebox that take the intrepid canyoneer all the way back to the Kolob Canyons part of Zion, arriving at the world's second longest free-standing arch - Kolob Arch. Kolob Arch has toggled back and forth with Arches National Park's longest span, but, at last, measurement Kolob Arch lost the title. Utah's backways are fun and adventurous as they travel between National Parks, National Monuments, state parks like the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, located 12-miles from Mount Carmel Junction, the junction are SR-9 and US-89 that connects Utah's most visited parks, Zion, and Bryce to Arizona's, the Grand Canyon. The small town of Rockville on the south side of Zion National Park has a couple of scenic backways with one leading to Graphton Ghost Town, and the other travels to US-389 near the towns of Hildale, Arizona and Colorado City, Utah - both known well for their involvement in the polygamist community, but Hildale sports an excellent hiking area called Water Canyon and Canaan Mountain that goes to rounded mountains of solidified sand, and a well of sandstone hiking areas.

Also within Canyon Country area lesser known places: Arches National Park, known for having the longest arch in the United States, and Zion National Park's Kolob Canyons section has the second longest arch at 290 feet. Landscape arch is near the end of its life-span, while Kolob Arch, just 3 feet shorter than Landscape Arch, will surpass the longer arch by thousands of years. Canyonland National Park has interesting capacity for hiking, but is better known for its waterway, and nearby Capital Reef National Park due to the influence of the same waterway has some fun technical magnificent slot canyons.

Talk[edit]

Get in[edit]

The nearest major airport is in Salt Lake City. Interstate highways 15 (connecting Salt Lake and St. George and 70 (intersecting with I-15 on the west and leading into Colorado on the east) flank the region on the west and north, respectively. Few highways actually lead into this region because of its rugged topography, and most of the ones that do (e.g. US 191 and state roads 24, 95, 72 and 12) are reached from I-70 or from similarly minor highways on the east side. Access from the south is very limited owing to the impassable Grand Canyon just across the Arizona state line.

Get around[edit]

Drive. If there was ever an area that justifies having a 4-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, this is it, but don't make the mistake of believing that an "urban" 4WD will suffice to get you everywhere you want to go. Many of the "roads" in this area, particularly in Canyonlands and Grand Staircase-Escalante, are almost unimaginably rough. Know your limits as a driver, and those of your vehicle, before venturing into the boonies here.

See[edit]

Itineraries[edit]

Do[edit]

  • Water Recreation Tours, 888-205-7119. [1] You can enjoy the area in Canyon Country that has several boating areas with luxury vacation rentals and guided watercraft tours including; boats, jet skis, waverunners, stand up paddle boards, wakeboards, water skis, other water toys, water sport lessons, and private tours.

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • If you're looking for still more canyoneering, just cross the state line into Arizona, Colorado or New Mexico, as the canyon-and-mesa terrain continues into all three.
  • Navajo Nation is primarily in Arizona, and a number of interesting sites there are fairly near the state line.




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