PARK and POINT: A Driving Tour of Canyonlands National Park, UT: Island in the Sky District

The “world famous” Mesa Arch

On our second to last evening in Utah, Mary declared, ” I am not getting up for sunrise and I am not going hiking tomorrow.  I will do a park and point and that’s it.”  So, I gave up my idea to do the Mesa Arch for sunrise and I changed our plans to a simple driving tour, i.e. a “park and point day.”  By the way, we have a new website,, that will begin to catalog all of our favorite “park and point” spots.  Here is what we saw on our driving tour of Cayonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District.

Cayonlands, Island in the Sky District is a short 45 minutes drive from Moab.  The area can be seen very well with a driving tour that has several outstanding lookout points.  The highlight of the area is the Mesa Arch.  This is one of the iconic images in the southwest and comes after an easy 10 minute walk.  This is usually a sunrise shot, but is absolutely a morning shot.  In the AM the sun bounces off of the stone “floor” and creates the glow under the arch.  Once the sun passes overhead, the glow dissipates.

Black and white is always a great option to highlight texture – Mesa Arch

After jumping back into the car, we hit all of the look-outs.  It was a very bright day with a bad sky, so we knew we would be making black and whites.  These stunning scenes remind me of fractals or Mandelbrot sets.

Grand View Point Overlook
Buck Canyon Overlook
Green River Overlook
Shafer Canyon Overlook
Grand View Point Overlook
Mary shooting at the Shafer Canyon Overlook

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