Guide to Canyonlands National Park
Home to over 300 thousand acres of canyons, arches, mesas and buttes, Canyonlands National Park will take your breath away! The park with it’s beautiful rugged landscape is split into 3 districts; Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze. With no roads linking them together, you’re looking at up to 6 hours drive between each. Thankfully, most of the easily accessible viewpoints and trails are located in Island in the Sky (and The Needles) and so if your time is limited, like ours was, there’s no need to worry. Whether you’re visiting for 1 day or 3, Canyonlands National Park has plenty of options to keep you and your camera busy!
Here are a few things to help you plan your own trip to Canyonlands National Park…
Established: September 12, 1964
Size: 337,598 acres
HOW TO GET THERE:
Drive 10 miles north of Moab on US 191, or 22 miles south of Interstate 70, then take UT 313 southwest for 22 miles. You’re looking at about a 45 minute drive from Moab (or Funstays LLC Glamping Set Up) to the visitors centre and 60 minutes drive to Grand View Point.
P.S. We used google maps and had no problem finding the way to the park or any of the viewpoints.
Park Entrance: $30 (per vehicle)
Fuel Up! The nearest gas stations can be up to 50 miles away once you’re inside the park.
WHERE TO STAY:
Funstays LLC Glamping Setup
We loved our stay at Funstays LLC Glamping Setup. Located in OKRV Park, you’ll have access to great showers, free parking, wifi in your tent, a bbq, and a fire pit. Both ice and firewood are available at the reception.
The tent itself was lovely! A cosy space with a comfy queen size bed. It was a relatively short drive to the Canyonlands Visitor Centre and even closer to Arches National Park.
Check-in time: 4:00pm
Check-out time: 11:00am
Family rooms available.
What to do:
Canyonlands is divided into a number of districts. Most of the day hikes and trails are found in Island in the Sky and The Needles. We stuck to Island in the Sky and did two of the most popular short hikes.
Watch Sunrise at Mesa Arch
Catching a sunrise at Mesa Arch is a must if you’re visiting Canyonlands National Park. It’s only a short walk from the parking lot and though a very well known view, it’s still special to see it in person. We wrote a story about our early morning at Mesa Arch which you can read here.
Distance: 0.5 miles (0.8 km)
Time: 30 minutes
Hike Grand view Point
For amazing panoramic views of the canyon, drive to the end of Grand Viewpoint Road and do the Grand View Point out-and-back hike.
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Time: 1.5 hours
We only spent a couple of days in Canyonlands before heading to our next stop! Here are a few other hiking options to choose from if you have more time…
Other Popular Hiking Destinations:
White Rim Overlook
Murphy Loop (Full Day Hike)
Gooseberry Trail (Island in the Sky’s Steepest Trail)
WHAT to PACK:
Drink at least one gallon of water a day.
You won’t find anywhere to get food inside of Canyonlands National Park. Make sure you pack enough to keep you going for the entire length of your trip.
Hat and Sun Screen
There is minimal shade and cover from the sun, anywhere in the park.
Park Opening Times:
The park is open all day and night year round.
Visitor Centre: 9:00am - 4:30pm
Official Visitors Guide:
Click here for the official Canyonlands Visitors Guide.
You can also camp inside of Canyonlands National Park. Click here for more information on other places to stay.
THANK YOU FOR READING!
Canyonlands National Park was the second stop on The Big Trip. Click here to follow the rest of our journey as we spend 3 months exploring America’s most beautiful National Parks. You can also become a patron for The Big Trip and help support us as we continue our adventure, sharing more photos, stories and travel guides as we go.