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

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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    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 »

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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?

Detail of the Great Gallery pictograph panel

Some of the rock art in Horseshoe Canyon was painted over 3,000 years ago. Now known as "Barrier Canyon" style rock art, it was painted by nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers that roamed throughout the southwest. More...