The 3.6-mile round trip hike to Murphy Point provides a peaceful outing with excellent views off the western end of the Island in the Sky. This is an excellent morning hike, when the sun first strikes the expansive canyons below the mesa. Alternatively, the wide western view also makes this a recommended sunset trail. The trail is downhill most of the way with only 150 feet of elevation to contend with.
The route to Murphy Point starts as a wide dirt road and finishes as a cairn-lined sandstone track. Half a mile from the start, and not far past the remains of an old corral, you will come to a junction. The left fork descends 4.2 miles off the side of the mesa to White Rim Road. Turn right instead, and begin a straight course down the center of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky. There is a slight uphill grade as the land narrows, providing excellent early views off both side of the mesa.
The trail eventually turns left down a slope before turning back to the right and straightening out. Gravel is scarce now, so keep an eye on the cairns as the trail becomes less pronounced. One last left turn puts you on course for the mesa’s edge at the southern face of Murphy Point.
The view from here is enormous. You can look all the way down the mesa toward Grand View Point, and beyond at Junction Butte. Below is an immensity of canyons designed by the Green River.
If you simply turn back here, you will miss out on some of the views that Murphy’s Point has to offer. Put in a little overtime and forge an off-trail clockwise loop along the edge of the point. This will expand your view to the south and west and expose new views to the north. After completing the bonus loop, retrieve the cairn lined trail and head out the way you came in.
To get to the trailhead: From the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, drive south for 8.6 miles and turn right into the parking area for Murphy Point.
Trailhead address: Grand View Point Road, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT 84532
Trailhead coordinates: 38.35497, -109.8638 (38° 21′ 17.9″N 109° 51′ 49.7″W)
|White Rim Overlook |
This gradual 1.8-mile hike visits the end of a peninsula in the Island in the Sky with 300-degree views of the canyons below.
|Mesa Arch |
This 0.7-mile loop visits a picturesque arch spanning across the mesa's edge.
|Grand View Point |
This 2-mile hike travels along the mesa's edge from Grand View Overlook to the southernmost point on the Island in the Sky.
|More trails in Utah |
Explore other hikes in Canyonlands National Park and elsewhere.