Canyonlands National Park is an extended American national park famous for its spectacular desert landscape in southeastern Utah near Moab, United States. The park protects picturesque, multicolored sceneries eroded into multiple mesas, canyons, buttes by the Green River, the Colorado River, and their respective branches. It’s composed of five sections, each putting forward a distinctive experience for visitors. The host of art of the Ancient Pueblo peoples is the largest national park in Utah, covering 337,000 acres. Yet, with only 733,000 visitors in 2019, Canyonlands National Park is known as the least visited park in Utah, comparing over one million visitors to its nearby neighbor, Arches National Park.
Where is Canyonlands National Park?
The US largest national park, Canyonlands, is located in Moab, Utah, and is approachable by car or air from Salt Lake City, Grand Junction, and Las Vegas. The surrounding area is covered with state history, charming towns, and adventure. Among Utah’s national parks, the hidden gem consists of five different regions, including Island in the Sky, The Needles, Horseshoe Canyon, The Maze, The Colorado, and Green Rivers.
What to See in Canyonlands National Park?
Filled with adventures, Canyonlands welcomes every different taste as the largest national park in Utah. So pack your packs up and plan your trip with us in this guide to know what to see here. Canyonlands National Park is a must-see destination for backpackers and hikers. Enjoy the best hiking trails in the three different island regions in the Sky, the Needles and The Maze.
Island in the Sky
Island in the Sky is the most visited area of Canyonlands covered with exceptionally stunning overlooks and a pleasant combination of short and long, easy and challenging hiking trails. Hike around and enjoy the views and sceneries on top and below the mesa.
The Needles is a uniquely formed sandstone rock less populated and visited than the crowded Island in the Sky. It houses the most recognized hiking trails welcoming visitors with its scenic views and great hike trails.
The Maze is a network of twisted sandstone canyons and the most remote area in the park suited for seasoned hikers. Watch out! Visiting The Maze requires self-sufficiency and backcountry experience. So, you’re seriously suggested to consult with a ranger before visiting The Maze.
Colorado & Green Rivers
White water rafting is another great activity you can enjoy while visiting the Canyonlands carved out by the Green and Colorado Rivers. The rivers unite at the Confluence, where you can kayak or canoe the rivers. So don’t forget to take out your swimsuit!
Grand View Point
One of the unique viewpoints at Island in the Sky is Grand View Point overlooking the vast canyon. You can see the Needles area from here.
Hike to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, resting at the edge of a cliff to watch the beautiful sceneries of the White Rim and the La Sal Mountains. Don’t miss out on visiting this stunning natural arch.
Green River Overlook
Green River Outlook is a must-visit destination where you can see the Green River, Orange Cliffs, Ekker Butte, White Rim Road, and the Maze district.
This bowl-shaped pit offers visitors a unique, different experience of visiting Canyonlands. The distinctive shades of colors make this huge crater a peculiar surreal piece of art in nature. In addition, the Upheaval Dome has two overlooking viewpoints.
White Rim Overlook
The Canyonlands National Park houses another short hike with expansive sweeping panoramic views known as White Rim Overlook. If you’re looking for a leisurely walk with minor elevation change and less population, head straight up to this hidden gem in the park which only takes 1 hour. It offers stunning views with no crowds comparing the Grand View Point Trail.
Other Places to See
- Visitor Center Viewpoint
- Shafer Canyon Viewpoint
- Shafer Trail Viewpoint
- Buck Canyon Viewpoint
- Aztec Butte
Activities to do in Canyonlands National Park
- Mountain Biking
- Whitewater Rafting
- Guided Tours
- Scenic Drives
- Hiking & Backpacking
How to Get There?
The easiest way to access Canyonlands National Park for first-time visitors is through the Needles and Island in the Sky. You’ll get to the Canyonlands by driving Highway 191 north to Highway 313; then, rush to the southwest 35 km. It almost takes 40 minutes to move to the visitor center from Moab.
When is the best time to visit Canyonlands?
If you want to avoid soaring temperatures and large crowds of long hot summer days and freezing and snow of winter, the best time to visit Canyonlands National Park is spring and fall months when weather conditions are friendly and pleasant.
Tips for Traveling Canyonlands
- Ensure to pack snacks, food, and lots of drinking water while visiting as there are no food stores or restaurants in Canyonlands.
- Don’t miss out on the unforgettable experience of sunrise at Mesa Arch and sunset at Dead Horse Point State Park.
- Remember that the last petrol station is in Moab, so fill up your car before heading up to Canyonlands.