Confluence Overlook Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Confluence Overlook Trail
Canyonlands National Park
The Confluence Overlook Trail is in the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. This trail passes through open, rugged desert before reaching the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. All three sections of Canyonlands (The Needles, The Maze and The Island in the Sky) are easily distinguished from the dramatic overlook.
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The Green River is 730 miles long with headwaters in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming while the Colorado River is 1450 miles long and empties into the Gulf of California.
A giant red sandstone fin adjacent to the Confluence Overlook Trail
Above the confluence, the Colorado River was formerly known as the Grand River. In July of 1921, Congressman Edward T. Taylor of Colorado petitioned the government to change the name to the Colorado River and in July of 1921 the name change was sealed.
Paying close attention to rock cairns through the indistinguishable landscape is essential for staying on course.
Until about 15 million years ago, most of the canyonlands area was near sea level. Geologic uplift, volcanic activity and erosion have since sculpted the beautiful landscape.
Canyonlands was formed by the deposition of various types of sediment. Over millions of years, these soft sediments harden to form sedimentary rock layers which comprise the entire area.
National Park Service biologists monitor plants in 27 vegetation transects in Canyonlands - including these wildflowers in the Confluence Overlook area.
Eleven species of cactus are found in Canyonlands including this flowering prickly pear cactus.
The Confluence Overlook Trail runs through an ancient sea bed formed millions of years ago
The Confluence Overlook Trail is entirely exposed - wear a wide brimmed hat and take plenty of water. Despite views of the Green and Colorado Rivers, there is no water on this trail.