Press "Enter" to skip to content

Island in the Sky

Christmas Weekend in Moab | Saturday. December 24, 2016

Sunset Fins
Warm evening light makes the fins of the Behind the Rocks area glow below the La Sal Mountains.

On Saturday morning, Diane and I left home and headed down to Moab so we could spend Christmas Day in Arches National Park like we do every year. Since the holiday fell on a weekend this year, we decided to spend the entire weekend around Moab starting with a visit to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park on Saturday. While Diane has been to The Maze and Needles Districts a bunch of times with me, she had actually never visited the Island in the Sky, which happens to be the most accessible of the three. We would spend the day visiting most of the overlooks and going on a few short hikes.

As we were driving through Utah on I-70 along the base of the Book Cliffs, I could tell that there was going to be a nice sunrise this morning. I quickly got off at the Sulphur exit to take a few photos before the light was gone. There wasn’t much to see from this exit, but I did the best I could.

My Jeep on a snow-covered road during the best colors of the sunrise.

Sulphur Sunrise

As we continued down the side road we passed a large group of pronghorn.


A little light across the Grand Valley on the Book Cliffs.

Book Cliffs Light

Book Cliffs Sunrise

Tracks in the fresh snow when the color in the sky was gone.

Snow Tracks

I stopped to show Diane the intricate Intestine Man pictographs.

Intestine Man

Since Diane had never been to the Island in the Sky before, we had to make the short hike out to Mesa Arch first.

Mesa Arch

We visited the ruins on Aztec Butte.

Aztec Ruin

A nice view from the Buck Canyon Overlook.

Buck Canyon Overlook

Potholes full of water on Grand View Point.


I had never been out to the White Rim Overlook, so we hiked out to the end.

White Rim Overlook

A view of Whale Rock behind the sandstone point on the left as we took the Crater View Trail to an overlook of Upheaval Dome.

Whale Rock

It was very windy and busy at the Upheaval Dome overlooks this afternoon.

Upheaval Dome

We did have the Green River Overlook to ourselves for a little while.

Green River Overlook

Turks Head in the light next to the Green River.

Turks Head

After leaving Canyonlands we took Long Canyon Road out to the rim of Long Canyon for a view of the La Sal Mountains over the sandstone fins that make up the Behind the Rocks area.

Long Canyon Road

It was a great view to end the day with before we headed back into town and had our Christmas Eve dinner at Pasta Jays.

Sunset Fins

>> Island in the Sky Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. Jeff Mitton
    Jeff Mitton January 18, 2017

    I have just found your trip reports–I feel like I just found treasure. This is going to take me a while

Leave a Reply