The USA’s National Parks are some of the country’s greatest assets and today the National Park Service celebrates its birthday – when entry to every park across the country is free for the day. Each National Park has so much to see that you’d ideally want to spend at least a couple of days there – and hikers could easily spend a week in each. But what if you’ve only got a day to spare, or even less? My visits to five of the southwest’s National Parks earlier this year were all on a fairly tight timescale, with a day or sometimes only half a day to spend in each.
Utah’s biggest national park, Canyonlands was also the park on my road trip route that I knew the least about. I’d seen plenty of photos of Arches, the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon and Zion‘s red rocks, but what about Canyonlands? It gets less than half the number of visitors of nearby Arches and a tenth of the number that visit Zion, but if you bypass this one you’ll be missing out. Of all the parks we visited, Canyonlands had the most breathtaking views. Literally if you’re afraid of heights – the edge of the mesa top here drops 1000 feet straight down from the viewpoints.