Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park was formed when the Colorado River and its tributaries wound their way through Utah’s soft sandstone, leaving towers and pinnacles of striped red rock in their wake. The park itself is divided into four sections: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and Horseshoe Canyon Unit, each of which is separated by the Colorado or Green Rivers (and there aren’t bridges in the park) so they each have to be accessed separately—it definitely takes a few days to explore the park fully. Island in the Sky, a mesa that rises more than 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape, is great for hiking and Jeeping; it’s also home to Willow Flat, an accessible campground in the park. Experienced bikers might try biking the Island’s White Rim Road, a famously scenic bike and four wheel drive road that can be covered over the course of a few days. The Needles (which looks just as its name would have you suspect) is home to Squaw Flat Campground, which is a great basecamp for hikes to famous rock formations like Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, and Elephant Hill. As with all National Park campsites, be sure to book well in advance.