Hikes in Canyonlands National Park

Below is a collection of trails in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. These hikes are listed from north to south, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these trails. You can also view hikes around Canyonlands National Park on the Hike Finder Map.

Highlights of Canyonlands National Park

  • This 0.5-mile loop visits a picturesque arch spanning across the mesa’s edge in the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park.
  • This 1.8-mile lollipop loop in the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park ascends a dome-shaped butte that boasts Puebloan granaries and a nice view of Taylor Canyon.
  • This 0.6 to 1.7-mile hike visits two overlooks along the rim of a puzzling three-mile wide crater in the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park.
  • This 3.6-mile hike visits a west-facing point on the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park that overlooks canyons carved by the Green River.
  • This 2-mile hike travels along the mesa’s edge from Grand View Overlook to the southernmost point on Canyonland's Island in the Sky for views of the canyons framing Junction Butte.
  • This 1.8-mile hike visits the end of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park with 300-degree views of the canyons below.

Hiking Canyonlands National Park

Imagine expansive canyons stretching clear to the horizon. Now place a towering mesa 1,000 feet above the canyon rim, and picture the view. That is the experience from the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park. This vast park protects over 500 square miles of wild canyon country to the west and south of Moab, Utah, making it the largest national park in the state. Canyonlands is divided into three districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. There is a $10 vehicle fee to enter Canyonlands National Park.

The northernmost district, Island in the Sky, is just a thirty-mile drive from Moab (and the entrance to Arches National Park). There is a paved road into the Needles Area from Monticello, Utah, but 4X4 roads are the only way to access the Maze (except on foot or boat). The trails through these remote river-carved landscapes possess a pristine beauty all their own.

Island in the Sky is a triangle-shaped mesa north of the confluence of the earth-shaping Colorado and Green Rivers. The broad island mesa provides lofty panoramic views. Park roads allow quick passage across the mesa, making it easy to experience a variety of short trails in just one day. Upheaval Dome, Mesa Arch, and Grand View Point are the island’s most prominent landmarks. In addition to trails, the park offers many fine scenic overlooks. Dramatic lighting enhances the views from the mesa, making early morning and late afternoon the best times to hike. Summer temperatures frequently cross into the triple digits, so plan accordingly.

Campgrounds
Camping in the Island in the Sky district is scarce, limited to one twelve-site first-come first-serve campground. Fortunately, there are numerous campgrounds operated by the Bureau of Land Management around Moab. Horse Thief Campground is ten miles north of the Island in the Sky Visitor Center and offers sixty sites.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Canyonlands Upheaval Dome400Upheaval Dome
This out and back hike visits two overlooks along the rim of a puzzling three-mile wide crater.
0.6 - 1.7 miles
200 feet
38.4264,
-109.926113
Canyonlands Whale Rock410Whale Rock
This out and back hike ascends a whale-shaped sandstone formation near Upheaval Dome.
1 mile
250 feet
38.426851, -109.914159
Aztec Butte Canyonlands420Aztec Butte
This lollipop loop hike ascends a dome-shaped butte that boasts Puebloan granaries and a nice view of Taylor Canyon.
1.3 - 1.8 miles
250 feet
38.393685, -109.882171
Mesa Arch Canyonlands430Mesa Arch
This loop visits a picturesque arch spanning across the mesa’s edge.
0.5 miles
100 feet
38.389084,
-109.868143
Murphy Point Canyonlands440Murphy Point
This out and back hike visits a west-facing point on the Island in the Sky overlooking canyons carved by the Green River.
3.6 miles
150 feet
38.342484, -109.889731
White Rim Overlook450White Rim Overlook
This out and back hike visits the end of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky with 300-degree views of the canyons below.
1.8 miles
170 feet
38.322754,
-109.849509
Canyonlands Grand View Point460Grand View Point
This out and back hike travels along the mesa’s edge from Grand View Overlook to the southernmost point on the Island in the Sky.
2 miles
80 feet
38.31091,
-109.857135
View Utah trails and campground in a larger map
Or explore hikes around Canyonlands National Park on the Hike Finder Map
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Watchman Trail Zion National Park hike
The closest trail to the south entrance of Zion Nation Park, and one of the best introductions to Zion, is Watchman Trail. This 3.5-mile lollipop loop climbs 500 feet to a rocky bench on the east side of Zion Canyon. The destination serves up stunning views of a nearby tower named The Watchman and several standout rock formations on the walls of Zion Canyon.From the... Read more.
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Distance: 3.5 miles – Elevation change: 500 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 23, 2014
Canyon Overlook Trail Zion National Park hike
Rarely is a mile-long hike as action packed and rewarding as Canyon Overlook Trail. The overlook sits on the rim of Pine Creek Canyon, which adjoins Zion Canyon to provide massive views of thousand-foot tall sandstone bluffs. There are ravines and overhangs along the short trail that will keep you entertained along the way. This excellent hike is appealing to all,... Read more.
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Distance: 1 mile – Elevation change: 150 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 19, 2014
Riverside Walk Zion National Park trail river narrows hike
Riverside Walk accesses the notorious narrows north of Zion Canyon, making it one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. To the end of the trail (at the start of the narrows) and back is a 2.8-mile hike over a level walkway bordering the Virgin River. Those looking to escape the Utah summer heat can leave the trail at any of several river access points to take... Read more.
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Distance: 2.8 miles – Elevation change: 60 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 22, 2014
Moab Campgrounds
If you are visiting Arches or Canyonlands and are planning to camp, you should know that there is very limited camping within these national parks. Fortunately, the Bureau of Land Management operates 25 developed campgrounds (with over 400 individual sites) outside these parks around the city of Moab. All campgrounds are first-come first-serve, so it is best to arrive... Read more.
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By: hikespeak Last updated: September 26, 2013
Utah Hikes Negro Bill Canyon Trail Morning Glory Bridge hike Colorado River Moab Utah Hike
This 6-mile round trip hike starts above the banks of the Colorado River east of Moab, Utah, and travels up a scenic canyon alongside a much smaller stream. The trek terminates at a stunning 243-foot long natural bridge, the sixth largest natural rock span in America. The level dirt trail to Morning Glory Bridge ascends just 330 feet and offers plenty of serenity along... Read more.
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Distance: 6 miles – Elevation change: 330 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 21, 2014