Legislation creating the park was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 12, 1964.
The park is divided into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves. While these areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character.
Two large river canyons are carved into the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado River and Green River.
Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere.