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Just ahead, you will be entering Canyonlands National Park. If you'd like to continue into the park, you will be required to pay a park entrance fee of $30.00 per private vehicle, $25.00 per motorcycle, or $15.00 if you are traveling by bike or by foot. This admission is good for all districts of the park for the next seven days. Canyonlands National Park expands over 337,598 acres of southeast Utah's high desert. The large preserve is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and Horseshoe Canyon. All four districts share the high desert landscapes, Colorado and Green Rivers; however, they retain their own character and opportunities for adventure. From looking at a map of the park, these districts may appear close, but no roads directly link them, making inter-district park travel very long and challenging. Most visitors prefer to visit only one area in a single trip. Right now, you are in Island in the Sky--the most accessible of the four districts. This tour will share more about the Island in the Sky District in the next few sites along the route. The Needles District is an hour and a half south of Moab in the Southeastern corner of Canyonlands. It was named for its white and red striped sandstone spires that somewhat resemble the rock hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. Just past The Needles District Visitor Center is a short walk to an ancient Puebloan granary--dating back to the very first settlements around Moab. The Needles district offers many backcountry and full-day hiking experiences. Four-wheel drive vehicles and hiking supplies are required to see most of its attractions. The Maze district is even more remote than the Needles. You can access it from two different dirt roads. One is from the Hans Flat Ranger Station, which is a 2.5-hour drive from Green River, Utah. From the ranger station, the Maze is another 3 to 6-hour drive with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The other road comes from UT 95 and has a driving time of over three hours. Due to its remoteness, visitors must be prepared for difficult roads and bring the proper equipment. Once in the district, visitors will spend days or weeks exploring the interwoven canyons that give the district its name. Not surprisingly, the Maze sees far fewer visitors than where you are now, with fewer than 2,000 per year. The final district is a day-use area of Horseshoe Canyon. Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the most significant rock art in the world. The "Great Gallery" is a stone panel that includes well-preserved life-sized figures with detailed decoration. The hike to the Great Gallery is seven miles round-trip and consists of a steep 780-foot (238-meter) descent into the canyon. The four districts of Canyonlands National Park leave a lifetime of exploration. Driving the Island in the Sky road today is an excellent introduction to the many wonders this park has to offer.
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