• Kevin Esser

Canyonlands NP

After spending one night in Salt Lake City, we drove 4 hours to Moab. This little town is located 40 minutes from Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky district). We stayed in a very nice place we can highly recommend: St. Danes Cabins. We took it easy the first day, bought some groceries, washed our clothes and so on. Later we went to Canyonlands in the evening, to watch the sunset. The first spot we chose, was obviously only accessable for the NP staff. We didn't see any signs and walked towards the "forbidden area" not knowing our mistake. A friendly but strict park ranger asked us to leave the area and go back to the public area. So we lost quite some time and had to hurry to still get to another spot to enjoy the sunset. Luckily we made it.


Canyonlands - Island in the Sky
Canyonlands - Island in the Sky
Canyonlands - Island in the Sky
Canyonlands - Island in the Sky

After dark, we marveled at the stars. The area is famous for very low light pollution, so we were able to admire the night sky in its full glory. I also seized this opportunity to try my first pictures of a starry night ever.


Night sky
Night sky

The next day we drove 1.5 hours south to the Needles district. This part of Canyonlands NP is further off to Moab and the Arches National Park entrance, so it is visited by far less people than the Island in the Sky district. Even better than the few people in the park, were the critters we found. My favourites were a juvenile Great Basin Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and a Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii).


Canyonlands - Needles
Canyonlands - Needles
Gambelia wislizenii - Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Gambelia wislizenii - Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Pituophis catenifer deserticola - Great Basin Gopher Snake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola - Great Basin Gopher Snake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola - Great Basin Gopher Snake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola - Great Basin Gopher Snake
Canyonlands - Needles, sunset
Canyonlands - Needles, sunset

Several Ord's Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys ordii) and a cute Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii), we found on the road on our way home, were the conclusion of our trip to Canyonlands NP.


Ord's Kangaroo Rat - Dipodomys ordii
Ord's Kangaroo Rat - Dipodomys ordii
Anaxyrus woodhousii - Woodhouse's Toad
Anaxyrus woodhousii - Woodhouse's Toad
Anaxyrus woodhousii - Woodhouse's Toad
Anaxyrus woodhousii - Woodhouse's Toad