Posted on: December 4, 2017 4:49 pm
by: Doug Smith
There are 4 Districts of Canyonlands National Park. The most accessible is Island in the Sky, a 40 minute drive on good roads from Moab, Utah. The drive climbs to the top of a large mesa which just out between Green River and the Colorado River. There are a number of hikes along the Island in the Sky Parkway which can be divided into two types. The more challenging trails descend from the rim of the mesa down to a benchland called the White Rim Trail and then back up. All of these hikes are long and a hard climb back up. Most of the other trails of Island in the Sky are on top of the mesa and are shorter and easier. Near the end of the Island in the Sky road a right turn goes west to Upheaval Dome and along that road are a number of fine shorter hikes like the Aztec Butte Trail.
Retracing our route we come back down Aztec Butte then climbed up the next butte, traversing across the top and down the north side into an alcove. Inside is the remains of a 900 year old Puebloan granary.
The Aztec Butte hike is short (about 3 km), but some of the route is slow going with some light scrambling. There are a number of shorter trails on Island in the Sky that can be combined for a wonderful day of hiking in Canyonlands National Park.