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Planning a Trip

Planning ahead will help you save time so you can spend more time enjoying yourself!

How much time should I spend in Canyonlands?

Some visitors come to Canyonlands and after seeing the spectacular scenery and they never want to leave!  At minimum I suggest staying 2 hours to see some of the highlights of the park, including the Grand View Point and Green River Overlook. If you have a 1/2 day, you can drive the paved road and hike Mesa Arch or Upheaval Dome, a unique meteor impact.  If you have a full day, then you can hike some of the longer trails such as Neck Spring Trail or 4×4 Shafer Trail to White Rim to visit Musselman Arch. If you plan on doing staying several days, then consider doing the full White Rim Trail by bike of 4×4.

General Tips

Talk to other people who have done a similar trip.

If you don’t know anyone personally, try any of the dozens of online travel web sites full of first-person travel stories covering every possible type of trip.


Plan ahead and if you want to spend all day in the park, make sure to take food and water with you. In the desert temperatures can soar to 110 degrees F or 43 C, which can lead to dehydration. Carry at least one gallon (four liters) of water per person per day!


Island in the Sky Water is available outside the visitor center only spring through fall; in winter, it is only available inside the building during business hours. No water is available at Willow Flat Campground.

The Needles
Water is available year-round at Squaw Flat Campground. A drinking faucet at Needles Visitor Center operates spring through fall.

The Maze

There is no running water available at The Maze.

Food, Lodging, and Gas

There is no food, lodging, or gas available in Canyonlands National Park.
Campgrounds are available at Island in the Sky and The Needles.

The nearest food, lodging, and gas to each district:

Island in the Sky:

Nearest services are in Moab, Utah, 32 miles (51 km) from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center.

The Needles:
Nearest services to The Needles are in Monticello, Utah, 48 miles (77 km) from the Needles Visitor Center. (There are currently no services at Needles Outpost.)

The Maze:
Nearest services to the Hans Flat Ranger Station are in Hanksville, Utah, 61 miles (98 km), or Green River, Utah, 84 miles (135 km).Visit Discover Moab or Utah’s Canyon Country for more information about area services.


Park roads are narrow and winding. Don’t stop in the road, sightsee at viewpoints. Watch for pedestians and bicyclists. Keep a safe passing distance (3 ft. away). Stay on designated roads.

Parking is permitted only in designated spaces. If a particular parking lot is full, please return at a later time.
ATV, UTV and OHV use is prohibited in the park.

Pets in Canyonlands

Activities with pets are very limited at Canyonlands. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or anywhere in the backcountry. Pets may not accompany groups traveling by four-wheel-drive vehicle, mountain bike or boat.

Pets may accompany visitors in the developed campgrounds and may be walked in the park along paved roads. Pets may also accompany visitors traversing the Potash/Shafer Canyon road between Moab and the Island in the Sky. Pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle.

The desert can be deadly for pets. Car temperatures rise quickly in the sun, even on cool days. Your pet can easily die of heat exhaustion. If you are leaving a pet in a car, crack the windows as much as possible and leave water to drink. We recommend you not leave pets in the car at all when temperatures are above 68 degrees, even with the windows cracked.

The following kennels offer boarding services in Moab:

Karen’s Canine Campground
2781 S. Roberts
(435) 259-7922

Moab Veterinary Clinic
4575 Spanish Valley Drive
(435) 259-8710

Ask locals before you go.

Before planning a trip, maybe you have a friend-of-a-friend who’s been to Moab, or just find a customer service agent; almost everyone is happy to welcome you to and give you advise on Moab. You can call of our friendly representatives at 435-259-5261 for help information or visit the Moab Information Center.

Canyonlands Visitor Center

Canyonlands is open year-round, 24 hours a day. Each district has its own visitor center with operating hours that change with the seasons.

Island in the Sky
Spring through fall, the Island in the Sky Visitor Center is open daily from at least 9 am to 4 pm, with longer hours during the summer. Backcountry permits are issued up until one hour before closing. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and from late December through February.

Hans Flat Ranger Station is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

The Needles Visitor Center is currently open from 8 am to 5 pm daily. The visitor center is typically open from early March through November.

Moab Information Center

Once you arrive in Moab, your first stop should be the Moab Information Center (MIC). Conveniently located at the corner of Main and Center Street in Moab, the MIC offers information on recreational opportunities and visitor services throughout southeastern Utah. Allow some time for the interpretive displays and large gift shop featuring guide books, maps, videos, DVD’s, postcards, and much more.

Info Center GPS Address & Coordinates:

25 E Center St, Moab, UT 84532

Lat/Long 38.572933,-109.550064

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