Canyonlands National Park: False Kiva

Access to False Kiva difficult and the trail not well-marked in places. It’s a sacred, ceremonial site. The park will not tell you how to get there unless you know about the site and asked.

This site was on my bucket list for a long time. If it is on yours, forget about it.

Some idiots vandalized the site and it is now totally off limits as of August 2018.

Fstoppers reports Vandalism at False Kiva: Canyonlands Closes Access

The image by Ryan Smith is very similar to mine.

Feature Image Details

This is a panorama composite of six vertical images taken with a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.

Not even a 14mm wide angle lens can capture this view. I took my sequence in April of 2018, three months before the July vandalism.

The light contrast inside vs outside was huge. The six frames were three pairs of two (one image was at 1/10 of a second,  the other at 1/40 a second). Thus there were two stops of light difference between the images. It a bit more complicated because the left side was better lit than the right, but you get the idea.

My goal was a milky way panorama but there were too many clouds.

There was also another photographer at the site with three clients. He had different view as to how to light the scene for nighttime images. He was there first so he got to choose (badly IMO, but there were too many clouds anyway).

His clients were novice hikers and one was very afraid of heights. The lead photographer himself was not in good shape physically. Thus none of them should have been up there.

He had one important thing going for him: He knew the trail better than I did. I was glad he was there because I did not want to walk out at night alone.

It took hours to get down. I had to hold the hand of one of the clients or she never would have made it down to the base of the cliff. The lead had difficulty on his own and was of no assistance to the others.

Other Canyonlands Images

Mesa Arch, Murphy Point, and the Grand View Overlook are all easy hikes.


If you are at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky district, then Arches National Park is nearby.

For most, it’s probably the reverse, visiting Arches then going to Canyonlands as a side trip.

Arches National Park Images

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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