• 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 some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

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

Southeast Utah Mountains

The snowy peaks of the La Sal Mountains near Moab.
The snowy peaks of the La Sal Mountains near Moab.
NPS photo by Neal Herbert
 

A feature common to the landscape of the Colorado Plateau is the Island Mountain Range, represented in southeast Utah by the Abajos, Henrys and La Sals. These ranges formed during the late Tertiary Period (15 to 40 million years ago), long after the local sandstones had been deposited and cemented into rock.

Commonly called Laccolithic Intrusions, these mountains were created when molten rock flowed up from the earth's mantle, causing the overlying sandstones to bow up. These flows never erupted, however, and only after millions of years of erosion have the igneous rocks within them been exposed.

Sedimentary rocks can still be found on top of some the peaks today.

Did You Know?

Kangaroo Rat

One animal uniquely adapted to life in the desert is the kangaroo rat. This rat lives its entire life consuming nothing but plant matter. Its body produces water by metabolizing the food it eats. More...