Canyonlands National Park vs Great Basin National Park

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If you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, look no further than Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park. These two parks, located on opposite sides of the country, offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the American West. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time park-goer, both Canyonlands and Great Basin have something to offer. From the towering mesas of Canyonlands to the ancient bristlecone pines of Great Basin, you’ll find yourself awestruck by the diversity of landscapes these parks have to offer. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget.

Hiking Trails in Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are both popular national parks in the western United States, but they offer different types of hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.

Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah, is known for its rugged wilderness and offers a variety of hiking trails, including:
-Mesa Arch Trail: This is an easy hike that is 0.5 miles round trip and leads to a scenic arch that offers views of the surrounding canyons.
-Upheaval Dome Trail: This is a moderate hike that is 3.2 miles round trip and leads to a unique geological formation created by a collapsed salt dome.
-Angle Trail: This is a strenuous hike that is 7.5 miles round trip and leads to a scenic viewpoint that offers views of the park’s canyons.

Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, is known for its diverse landscapes and offers a variety of hiking trails, including:
-Lehman Creek Trail: This is an easy hike that is 2.5 miles round trip and leads to a scenic waterfall.
-Bristlecone Pine Trail: This is a moderate hike that is 2.5 miles round trip and leads to a grove of ancient bristlecone pines, some of which are over 4,000 years old.
-Wheeler Peak: This is a strenuous hike that is 13 miles round trip and leads to the summit of the park’s highest peak, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Both parks offer a wide range of hiking trails suitable for all ages and skill levels. Visitors should be aware of the park’s rules and regulations when it comes to hiking and safety, and also check the park’s website for trail conditions.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Canyonlands National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Mesa Arch Trail 0.60 mi 62.32 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Grand View Point Trail 1.80 mi 173.84 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Chesler Park Loop Trail 11.57 mi 1,935.20 ft loop Moderate 5/5
False Kiva Trail 1.90 mi 449.36 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Upheaval Dome via Crater View Trail 1.50 mi 301.76 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Aztec Butte Trail 1.30 mi 219.76 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Druid Arch Trail 9.48 mi 1,374.32 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Shafer Trail 19.16 mi 3,116.00 ft point to point Moderate 4.5/5
White Rim Overlook Trail 1.80 mi 160.72 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Syncline Loop 8.58 mi 1,630.16 ft loop Very Hard 4.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Great Basin National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Wheeler Peak Trail via Stella Lake Trail 8.18 mi 2,906.08 ft out and back Hard 5/5
Bristlecone Pine Glacier Trail 4.49 mi 1,059.44 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Alpine Lakes Trail 2.69 mi 469.04 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Lehman Cave 0.40 mi 45.92 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Bristlecone and Alpine Lakes Loop 5.29 mi 1,013.52 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive 23.25 mi 3,857.28 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Baker Lake Trail 10.38 mi 2,669.92 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Teresa Lake 1.50 mi 305.04 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Baker Lake-Johnson Lake Loop 12.87 mi 4,365.68 ft loop Hard 4.5/5
Lexington Arch Trail 2.89 mi 1,118.48 ft out and back Moderate 4/5

Wildlife in Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are both home to diverse wildlife.

Canyonlands National Park is home to a variety of animals, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, and mountain lions. The park also has a variety of bird species, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures. The park is also home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians, such as lizards and snakes. The park also has a variety of plants, including cacti, Joshua trees, and sagebrush.

Great Basin National Park is home to a variety of animals, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, and mountain lions. The park also has a variety of bird species, including golden eagles, great horned owls, and peregrine falcons. The park is also home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians, such as lizards, snakes and the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad. The park also has a variety of plants, including sagebrush, aspen, and juniper.

Both parks offer great opportunities to see a variety of wildlife. However, Canyonlands National Park is known for its desert animals and plants, while Great Basin National Park is known for its mountain animals and plants.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Canyonlands National Park Great Basin National Park
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Canyonlands National Park Great Basin National Park
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Big Brown Bat
Bobcat Bobcat
Striped Skunk Striped Skunk
Little Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Deer Mouse Deer Mouse
Raccoon Raccoon
Black Bear Porcupine
Porcupine Silver-Haired Bat
Silver-Haired Bat Hoary Bat
Hoary Bat Red Fox
Red Fox Long-Tailed Weasel
Long-Tailed Weasel House Mouse
House Mouse Lion
Mountain Lion Mink
American Mink Mule Deer
Mule Deer Gray Fox
Common Gray Fox Gray Wolf
Long-Legged Myotis Long-Legged Myotis
Long-Eared Myotis Long-Eared Myotis
American Badger Badger
Ermine Ermine
California Myotis Californis Myotis

Fish

Canyonlands National Park Great Basin National Park
Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout Brook Trout
Largemouth Bass Brown Trout
Green Sunfish Mottled Sculpin
Bluegill Speckled Dace
Fathead Minnow Cutthroat Trout
Common Carp
Northern Pike
Speckled Dace
Yellow Bullhead
Channel Catfish
Kokanee Salmon
Black Crappie
Black Bullhead
Mosquitofish
Smallmouth Bass

Reptiles

Canyonlands National Park Great Basin National Park
Gophersnake Racer
Terrestrial Gartersnake Greater Short-Horned Lizard
Eastern Racer Rubber Boa
Prairie Rattlesnake Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard
Common Sagebrush Lizard Eastern Collared Lizard
Greater Short-Horned Lizard Eastern Fence Lizard
Side-Blotched Lizard Long-Nosed Snake
Common Kingsnake Desert Spiny Lizard
Nightsnake Western Fence Lizard
Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard
Striped Whipsnake
Smith’s Black-Headed Snake
Tree Lizard
Western Whiptail
Eastern Collared Lizard
Desert Spiny Lizard

Amphibians

Canyonlands National Park Great Basin National Park
Northern Leopard Frog Tiger Salamander
Tiger Salamander Woodhouse’s Toad
American Bullfrog Red-Spotted Toad
Woodhouse’s Toad Canyon Treefrog
Red-Spotted Toad
Canyon Treefrog

Beautiful Landscapes in Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are both known for their beautiful landscapes and natural features.

Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah, is known for its vast canyons and mesas. The park is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers and each one of them offers unique landscapes. The Island in the Sky district offers visitors the opportunity to see panoramic views of the surrounding canyons and mesas, including the famous Mesa Arch. The Needles district offers visitors a chance to see colorful rock formations and spires, as well as ancient cliff dwellings. The Maze district is known for its remote and rugged terrain, offering visitors an opportunity to explore the park’s backcountry. Lastly, the rivers district is known for its white-water rafting opportunities and spectacular views of the Colorado and Green Rivers.

Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, is known for its ancient bristlecone pines, limestone caverns, and high-elevation landscapes. The park’s most famous landscape is the Lehman Caves, a limestone cave system with intricate rock formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. The park’s high elevation also offers visitors the opportunity to see the alpine landscapes, including the Wheeler Peak, the highest point in the park, which provides a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Additionally, the park is also home to ancient Bristlecone Pine trees which are some of the oldest living organisms on the planet.

Both Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park offer visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of landscapes and natural features, from towering mesas and ancient bristlecone pines to limestone caverns and high-elevation landscapes. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned park-goer, you’re sure to be awestruck by the natural beauty of these parks.

Things To-Do and Activities in Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park offer a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Canyonlands National Park is known for its hiking and backpacking trails, as well as its off-road vehicle and mountain biking opportunities. The park’s main attraction is its spectacular canyons, which can be explored via various hiking trails, including the famous Chesler Park Loop Trail, the White Rim Trail, and the Island in the Sky Trail. Additionally, visitors can enjoy scenic drives, photography, rock climbing, and backpacking.

Great Basin National Park, on the other hand, is known for its hiking and backpacking trails, as well as its stargazing opportunities. The park’s main attraction is the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, which takes visitors to the summit of the tallest peak in Nevada. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a hike to the Lehman Caves and the Bristlecone Pine Trail, which takes visitors through the oldest living organism on earth. The park also offers camping, fishing, and ranger-led activities.

Both parks offer great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but the main difference is that Canyonlands National Park offers more off-road vehicle and mountain biking opportunities, while Great Basin National Park offers more stargazing opportunities and cave exploration.

Best Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are both located in the western United States, but they have different climates and weather patterns that affect when is the best time to visit each park.

Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah, has a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. The park is at its best in spring and fall, when the temperatures are mild and the wildflowers are in bloom. Summer temperatures can be extremely hot, making it difficult to hike and explore the park, while winter temperatures can be cool and snow is possible, which can make some of the park’s trails impassable.

Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, has a high-desert climate with cool summers and cold winters. The park is at its best in the summer, when the temperatures are mild and the wildflowers are in bloom. Winter temperatures can be extremely cold, making it difficult to hike and explore the park, and snow can make the park’s roads impassable.

Both parks offer different activities and experiences depending on the season. Visitors should check the park’s website for weather forecasts, trail conditions, and any other information before planning a trip.

Family Friendliness of Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park

Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are both great destinations for families looking to explore the natural beauty of the American West. However, depending on your family’s interests and the ages of your children, one park may be more family-friendly than the other.

Canyonlands National Park offers a variety of activities and attractions that are suitable for families. The park’s Island in the Sky district offers visitors an opportunity to see panoramic views of the surrounding canyons and mesas, including the famous Mesa Arch, which is an easy hike and accessible for most ages. The park also offers ranger-led programs and guided tours that are designed to educate and entertain visitors of all ages. Additionally, the park has several campgrounds which can be a great way to spend some quality time with family in nature.

Great Basin National Park, on the other hand, is a bit more remote and less developed than Canyonlands National Park, which can be a bit more challenging for families with young children. However, the park’s Lehman Caves is a fascinating destination for families, with its intricate rock formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. Additionally, the park offers several easy hiking trails, including the Bristlecone Pine trail, which can be a great way for families to explore the park’s natural beauty. The park also offers ranger-led programs and guided tours that can be a great way to learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.

In conclusion, both Canyonlands National Park and Great Basin National Park are family-friendly destinations, but Canyonlands National Park may be more appropriate for families with young children due to its accessibility and variety of activities, while Great Basin National Park may be more suitable for families with older children who are interested in exploring the natural beauty of the park and the Lehman Caves.

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