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Canyonlands National Park

The largest National Park in Utah, with spectacular views!

Distance from Moab 32 miles (51.5 km)
Directions from Moab Take Highway 191 10 miles (16 km) north to Highway 313, and then drive southwest 22 miles (35 km).  Driving time to the visitor center from Moab is roughly 40 minutes.
Park Hours Open year-round, 24 hours/day
Entrance Fee $25/vehicle – Good for 7 days (Subject to change)
Visitor Center & Hours Canyonlands is open year-round, 24 hours a day. Visitor center operating hours vary depending on the season.  The visitor center is closed on December 25th and January 1st. (435) 719-2313

Canyonlands National Park is the largest national park in Utah, and its diversity staggers the imagination.  The easiest way to see the park is with a visit to the Island in the Sky district, only 32 miles (51.5 km) from Moab.  The Island in the Sky offers many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive.  Hiking trails and four-wheel-drive roads access backcountry areas for day or overnight trips.

The Island in the Sky sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa, quite literally an Island in the Sky.  Twenty miles (32.2 km) of paved roads lead to many of the most spectacular views in Canyon Country.  From these lofty viewpoints visitors can often see over 100 miles (161 km) in any given direction, resulting in panoramic views that encompass thousands of square miles of canyon country.   Take a short day-hike or spend a relaxing late afternoon enjoying the sunset. Whether you have a few hours to spend or a few days, the Island in the Sky provides an unforgettable Canyon Country experience for the entire family.

Canyonlands National Park is divided into three sections by the Green and Colorado River. The most accessible section is the Island in the Sky section. It’s called the Island in the Sky section because you’re up on top of the plateau looking down into all the canyons. The view points are spectacular! The southern part of Canyonlands National Park is called the Needles section and involves a lot of driving. The Needles section is known more for its 4×4 opportunities and you’ll be down inside of the canyons looking up. The last section of Canyonlands National Park is called the Maze and is the most remote section of the park. To access the Maze section, you’ll need to plan to camp as traveling there is remote and rugged. Most people enjoy traveling to the Island of the Sky portion of the park in order to see a long distance and get a taste of what Canyonlands has to offer. If you’d like to see Canyonlands National Park and are short on time, consider seeing the sights by plane. A one hour Canyonlands air tour is the perfect way to see all three sections of the park and see all the amazing places visitors never get to visit.

Download the Island in the Sky Map Here!

Explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The three districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.

Suggested Activities

A Few Hours Drive the park’s 20 miles (32.2 km) of paved roads and enjoy the spectacular views.  Sunrise and sunset are particularly beautiful times of day to enjoy these lofty panoramic views of canyon country.
1/2 day Drive the paved scenic drive and hike some of the shorter trails, such as the Mesa Arch or Upheaval Dome Trails.  A recent theory suggests that Upheaval Dome was created by a meteor impact.
Full Day Drive the paved scenic drive and hike some of the longer trails in the park, such as the 5 mile (8 km) round trip Neck Spring Trail.  Those with high clearance/4WD vehicles can drive down the Shafer Trail to the White Rim and explore Musselman Arch, or drive all the way down to the Colorado River via Lathrop Canyon.
Several Days Backpackers can experience the solitude of Canyonlands by hiking some of the trails from the mesa top to the White Rim (steep & strenuous) and spend the night in the backcountry.  4-wheel drive enthusiasts or mountain bikers may want to travel the 100 mile “White Rim Trail” which loops below the Island in the Sky mesa.  Reservations for White Rim campsites and backcountry permits are required.  (435) 259-4351

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