• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to the Lavender Canyon road, Colorado Overlook road, and the Salt/Horse road. The White Rim Road is impassable from Hardscrabble camp to Upheaval Bottom. Roads will be closed until repairs can be made. More »

  • Extreme Fire Danger

    Due to extremely dry conditions, fire restrictions are in effect in all national park units in Utah. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

Environmental Factors

The roots of a blackbrush exposed by soil erosion
The roots of a blackbrush exposed by soil erosion
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

Although Canyonlands may appear harsh and unchanging, the desert ecosystem is continually evolving. Weather, climatic shifts and geologic processes continue to shape this environment as they have for millennia.

More recently, human-caused factors such as air, noise and water pollution, as well as introduced species, have had a much greater impact on natural resources world-wide.

The undeveloped landscape of Canyonlands provides an ideal place to study how various environmental factors affect desert ecosystems, and predict what changes might be expected in the future.

Did You Know?

Juniper Berries

The Utah juniper, one of the most common trees in the southwest, has the ability to self-prune. During droughts, these trees will cut off fluids from one or more branches so that the rest of the tree can survive. More...