Our Vantage Points
Needles Overlook
       
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n the road again early the next day, we traveled US-191 for 32 miles south, out of Moab, to the Needles Overlook turn off.  Then we headed west another 22 miles on a nicely paved road across the flat lands to the Needles Overlook.  According to my maps, this point is outside the official boundary of Canyonlands National Park. 
However this serves as a fine place for a good look from the east side of the canyons.  Off to the north, in the distance, we managed a glimpse of the Colorado River and it's banks of green within a canyon notch. 

Otherwise, this view consists of a generally non-descript, but amazing, network of chasms as far as the eye can see, all set in a flat-topped netherland with nothing higher than 1000 feet below us.  Indeed the Canyonlands "Maze" district is off in the distance to the west.  The dramatic side canyons and dominant features, such as we saw from the Island in the Sky, do not exist here.  It's really quite ugly down there. 

Lock Hart Road, an unimproved dirt road for 4-wheel drive explorers, runs just below this overlook.  This road provides access to the Colorado River about 12 miles north of here.

It's interesting that the elevation of Needles Overlook is exactly 6000 feet and Grand View in Island in the Sky district is only 200 feet higher.  Both are on the same plateau.  Further, the road below Needles overlook is at 5000 feet on the level of the vast nether land mesa.  It's the same elevation as White Rim, but here you do not see the white except far across the canyon below Island in the Sky.

Topographical maps verify this and the similar elevation of the bench or mesa called "White Rim" nearer to Grand View.
Grand View Map Needles Overlook Map


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