Desolation Canyon, United States
Nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon, Desolation Canyon is one of the largest unprotected wilderness areas in the American West. In this Landsat 7 image from 2000, the Green River in Utah flows south across the Tavaputs Plateau (top) before entering the
canyon (center). Desolation Canyon has a rich history. Geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell named the canyon. During two river expeditions in 1869 and 1871, Powell’s team mapped the Green River for the first time before heading down the Colorado River to the Grand
Canyon. People of the Fremont culture inhabited the canyon and the plateau from about 200 to 1300 C.E. The present-day Ute Tribe owns the land along the east side of the river. Fremont and Ute pictographs and petroglyphs are abundant in Desolation and its numerous tributary canyons. The U.S. declared Desolation Canyon a National Historic Landmark in 1968.