How do you visit a National Park on their busiest day of the year? You go to the most remote corner of an out of the way park that you can find! I worked on the van all week, and by the holiday weekend it was ready to go on the road, and ferry my friends and me to Canyonlands – the Needles District. This part of the park is located about an hour’s drive from the more popular Island in the Sky section, and gets much fewer visitors. We rolled in around noon and felt like we had the entire place to ourselves – plenty of dispersed camping alongside dirt roads not even 15minutes outside the park, no lines at the pay booth, and barely any tourists at the Visitor’s center. A part of me is sad that this beautiful part of the park is so little traveled, but the selfish hiker in me is glad of the space and solitude. I split from the group for an 8 mile run over and through some canyons and we all met up back at the car later that evening. Our car camping spot was superb – nestled in the bushes below a rock face. The greenery gave us privacy from neighboring RV’s, and scrambling to the top of the rocks yielded a lovely view of the setting sun. The next day we hiked to Druid Arch in the park, and after snacking and taking in the view I split from the group for the second half of the day and ran around through the canyons. It was tons of fun and the undulating landscape presented challenges in scrambles and descents. The 80 degree heat made me nostalgic for all the runs back in Arizona.
For the last day of our trip we decided to check out the more touristy
and do a few short hikes with stellar views. The park didn’t disappoint, and made me hungry for more. I was already planning the next trip before we even left the park. In true Colorado fashion, it snowed over Vail Pass on the way home. From 80 degrees to freezing temps, that’s #ColoradoLife for ya.