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

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

Natural Features & Ecosystems

photo: Ephemeral pools (potholes) in the Needles District
Ephemeral pools (potholes) in the Needles District
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

To many, the most outstanding natural features of Canyonlands are the park's geologic formations. In each of the districts, visitors can see the remarkable effects that millions of years of erosion have had on a landscape of sedimentary rock.

Beyond the big rocks, many other natural features also factor into the Canyonlands landscape. From unusual components, such as biological soil crust and ephemeral pools (also known as potholes), to the rivers and streams that create riparian habitats, Canyonlands preserves a rich variety of desert ecology.

Did You Know?

Biological Soil Crust

The dirt is alive! A living crust called "Biological Soil Crust" covers much of Canyonlands and the surrounding area. Composed of algae, lichens and bacteria, this crust provides a secure foundation for desert plants. Please stay on roads and trails to avoid trampling this important resource. More...