Canyonlands by Night and Day

Our guest post comes from Danni Scully, who has lived near the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona for the last forty years.  She enjoys writing, painting, and spending time camping with family and friends. Her website is

photos courtesy of Danni Scully

As we cross the bridge, rolling waters flow below us and the building comes into view.  It’s a beautiful building that fits right into the red rock walls that surround it.  The gravel parking lot crunches beneath our tires as we park the car.  Before us is the entrance to the dining area and on our left we find the gift shop.

With tickets in hand we make our way back to the dining area.  Rows of tables and chairs greet us and we look around to find a row of dutch ovens at the front of the room.  Soon “Dee” announces dinner and introduces our servers.  Quickly we form a line and it is evident that they have done this many times before.  We make our way past the salad bar and place the cold part of our dinner on a tin plate as instructed, to keep the heat off of our fingertips.  They serve us quickly and place before us, heaping spoon fulls of potatoes with savory herbs and cheese, whole kernel corn, barbecue chicken, barbecue beef, roast beef and spicy pork.

The cheesey potatoes are just the right balance and a welcome companion with barbecue that slides off the fork if we tried to spear it; it is very tender.  I tried the chicken and both dishes of the beef.  After inquiring with my neighbor, I was assured that the spicy pork was equally yummy and I reached for another dinner roll.  Soon the meal was complete and we all agreed that we had eaten way too much.  Seconds are encouraged and while I knew better, I wished I had not eaten that last dinner roll.

Once on the boat we found our seats among the many rows, slight years of wear were evident as we listend to instructions to please stay seated and to enjoy the ride.  Slowly the boat left the dock, gliding into the current of the Colorado River.  A gentle breeze reminded me that I was glad I had grabbed my jacket.

Moving slowly up the river, “Dee” pointed out various rock formations that looked like cartoon characters and fish on the canyon walls.  Redrock towered over both sides of the river and I wondered about the forces of nature that it must have taken to forge this river through these hardened walls.  Gliding up the river we smiled at the stories and snapped a picture now and then of some interesting formation or character that graced the canyon walls.

photos courtesy of Danni Scully

Slowly night fell and Dee took out his pointer light and continued to point out more interesting places and pictures on the canyon walls.  As night fell and those pictures were obscured from view, Dee excused himself and the boat came to a stop.  He introduced the sound and light show and soon a booming voice came over the speakers and the boat began to turn.  I focused my eyes on the canyon wall on the opposite side of the river as lights were shown on the towering shadows.  The voice over the loudspeakers told the stories of the ancient Indians and the settlers that had forged this beautiful country.

Slowly the boat moved back down river, stopping from time to time to focus on yet another crevice in the canyon walls and give us time to hear another story of the settlers  who died to make this area one that we could come and enjoy many years later.  Leaning against Steve I pulled the blanket closer around me and stared up at the stars.  Pointing out the Big Dipper I yawned a bit.  The peacefulness of the river was making me sleepy and I knew I would sleep well that night.

Canyonlands by Night is a combination of tours up and down the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. You can simply see the sights and get sleepy under the stars or take the jet boat tour for some really great pictures.  Canyondlands by Night is a must see in the Moab, Utah area.  The food is exceptional and there is something for every enthusiast.  Don’t forget your camera as you have many opportunities for some really great shots.  You can go tho their website and view their own album.

The Canyonlands Sound and Light Show cruised the river for the first time in 1963 and is now located North of the Colorado River Bridge at 1881 N. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah.  You can call ahead at 435-259-5261, or online. Combine with a hike, Hummer or ATV ride for a day of fun at a better price.   This is a “do not miss” trip for your vacation in the Moab, Utah area.