I still remember the breathless feeling I had when I first stepped out onto the north rim of the Grand Canyon over ten years ago. The awe at first sight from the Island in the Sky entrance at Canyonlands is comparable to that. Stepping out onto the rocks, you can see canyons all around for miles, and I felt like just a tiny speck of dust sitting atop the universe. I just had to sit down for a few minutes and absorb the view, burning it into my memory forever.
As I was sitting there a couple of mountain goats walked right past, just a couple of feet away.
The park was definitely in the down season. We saw only a few other visitors in the entire park. Our first stop was a walk along the Grandview Viewpoint. We ventured out beyond the safety barrier onto the slick rock edge of the steep canyon cliffs for a better view.
We also went to the Green River Viewpoint. This is the best view of the Green River snaking through the canyons just before its confluence with the Colorado River.
We hiked up to Mesa Arch next. I found this to be the real gem of the park. A view into the canyons, perfectly framed by nature.