Canyonlands is an adventure park that is home to towering rock formations, epic hiking trails, and scenic drives. This Utah national park is located less than an hour from Moab, making it an ideal destination for families and outdoor lovers. Although the Park is open year-round, the best time to visit is in spring or fall. During these months, visitors enjoy mild temperatures, reduced crowds, and greater accessibility.
There are five main sections to the Park. Each district is unique in its own way. The Needles, Island in the Sky, and Maze are each a great day trip, while the Maze is a more difficult and challenging option. For more information about the Park, visit the National Park Service website.
The Needles is the best place to start for those who aren’t quite ready for a more demanding hike. A short walk will lead to an overlook that offers excellent views of the surrounding canyons and mountains. Depending on the time of year, you may want to take advantage of the Junior Ranger Program. It’s a great way to learn more about the Park while earning a badge.
There are no hotels in the Park, but there are plenty of privately operated campgrounds. Make sure you check the current conditions of the river before you leave. Many outfitters offer white water rafting trips. You’ll need to secure a permit if you plan on doing so. If you are camping, you’ll need to get a campsite in a designated area.
One of the most exciting aspects of visiting the Park is seeing the otherworldly sandstone rock formations. These awe-inspiring cliffs were carved by erosive forces of water. Scientists and cowboys have explored this pristine land, and you can find evidence of native tribes still thriving today.
Another must-see is the Grand View Point. This viewpoint is located on the southern end of the main road. Though it’s not as high as some other vantage points, it offers an impressive view of Canyonlands. Also, you won’t want to miss the White Rim Road.
Those who have a little more time to spare should also check out the Island in the Sky district. This is the most visited section of the Park, and it’s easy to access. While the hike is short, you’ll find many pullouts that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. At the end of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with another half-mile of awe-inspiring views.
There are also several shorter hikes around the Island in the Sky district. Some of these include the Mesa Arch trail, which is less steep. All of these routes are only a couple of miles round-trip. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add a few more hikes into the mix.
While the Islands is the most popular part of the Park, there are also several other worthwhile areas to explore. To get to the Needles, you’ll need to drive about an hour. In the Maze, you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and you’ll have to venture off the beaten path.