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What to take, where to eat, where to stay, what to do, and a few little secrets on the side. Not unlike your own personal Jiminy Cricket, (minus the worries of the little guy getting smooshed) the Moab Insiders Guide will provide you with all the essentials for a perfect Moab experience

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Canyonlands National Park

Moab, Utah » Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park preserves a colorful landscape of sedimentary sandstones eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Colorado and Green rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and learning.

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What to See in Moab

Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Deadhorse Point State Park
Manti-La Sal National Forest
Moab Scenic Drives



» Tours in Canyonlands » National Park Contact Information
» Hiking Trails in Canyonlands » Canyonlands Photo Gallery
» Nature and Science » National Park Contact Information
» History and Culture  



Tours in Canyonlands National Park

Because of the enormity of Canyonlands National Park, a scenic flight over all 3 districts or a river trip through the heart of Canyonlands is often the best and easiest way to see the park.

National Park Tours »
Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah

Canyonlands Scenic Flight

See all 3 districts of Canyonlands National Park in just 1 hour! Soar over Dead Horse Point, the Confluence, and Angel Arch. (1 hour)

» Scenic Flight Details

Rates:

Adult: $150
Youth: $150

Book Now »

Cataract Canyon at dusk - view from camp

Cataract Canyon - 2 Day Express

Discover areas of Canyonlands National Park that are accessible only by river. Experience the fun of some of the most exciting whitewater on the Colorado River.

» Cataract Canyon 2 Day Trip

See rates & availability »
Cataract Canyon at dusk - view from camp

Cataract Canyon - 4 Days

Discover areas of Canyonlands National Park that are accessible only by river. Experience the fun of some of the most exciting whitewater on the Colorado River.

» Cataract Canyon 4 Day Trip

See rates & availability »



Hiking Trails in Canyonlands National Park

Utah's largest park, Canyonlands National Park provides ample hiking opportunities. From sheer cliffs in The Island in the Sky district to Elephant Hill, hikers may enjoy the beautiful sandstone landscape of Utah throughout the park's hiking trails. But a word of warning, the three districts of Canyonlands are very large within themselves and do not have connecting roads. Therefore, hiking trails in all three districts within a short amount of time is impossible.

Island District

TRAILS MILES/KM AVG TIME DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTION
Aztec Butte Trail 2 mi/ 3 km 1.5 hours Easy Slickrock view/Ancestral granary
Grand View Point 2 mi/ 3 km 1 hour Easy Panoramic View
Mesa Arch .5 mi/ 8 km 30 min Easy Arch, Sunrise hike
Murphy Loop 1.3 mi/ 1.9 km 1 hour Easy Panoramic View
White Rim Overlook 1.5 mi/ 3 km 1 hour Easy View of White Rim Formations
Gooseneck 1 mi/ 1.5 km 30 min Easy View of Taylor Canyon
Moses and Zeus 1 mi/ 1.5 km 1 hour Easy View of Taylor Canyon
Upheaval Dome Overlook 1 mi/ 1.5km 30 min Moderate Crater, Upheaval Canyon
Upheaval Dome Second Overlook 2 mi/ 3 km 45 min Moderate Upheaval dome area
Whale Rock Trail 1 mi/ 1.5 km 1 hour Moderate Upheaval dome area
Neck Spring 5 mi/ 8 km 3-4 hours Moderate Springs
Fort Bottom Ruin 4 mi/4 km 2 hours Moderate Tower ruin of ancient times
Lathrop Canyon to Colorado River 17 mi/ 27 km Overnight Strenuous River Access, Cottonwoods
Lathrop Canyon to White Rim Road 10 mi/ 16 km 5-7 hours Strenuous View of Colorado River and La Sal Mountains
Syncline Loop 8 mi/ 13 km 5-7 hours Strenuous Mesa
Syncline Loop Upheaval Canyon 3 mi/ 4 km 2 hours Strenuous Scenic
Syncline Loop Upheaval Crater 6 mi/ 10 km 2-3 hours Strenuous Scenic
Murphy Loop 9 mi/14 km 5-7 hours Strenuous View of White Rim formations
Taylor Canyon 20 mi/32 km Overnight Strenuous Scenic
Gooseberry 6 mi/ 10 km 4-6 hours Strenuous View of cliffs and La Sal Mountains
Alcove Spring 10 mi/ 16 km 6-7 hours Strenuous View of Taylor Canyon


Needles District

TRAILS MILES/KM AVG TIME DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTION
Roadside Ruin .3 mi/ .5km 20 min Easy Puebloan granary
Cave Spring .6 mi/ 1km 45 min Easy Historic cowboy camp, pictographs
Pothole Point .6 mi/ 1km 45 min Easy Slickrock, panoramic view
Elephant Hill Chesler Viewpoint 6 mi/10km 3-4 hours Moderate Scenic overlook, sandstone spires
Elephant Hill Chesler Loop 11 mi/18 km 5+ hours Strenuous Needles formations
Confluence Overlook 11 mi/18 km 5-7 hours Strenuous Overlooking Colorado and Green Rivers
Druid Arch 11 mi/18 km 5+ hours Strenuous Arch
Big Spring-Squaw 7.5 mi/12 km 3-4 hours Moderate Routes between canyons
Big Spring-Elephant 10.8 mi/ 17km 4-6 hours Strenuous Slickrock, mesa, rock formations
Squaw-Lost 8.7 mi/ 14km 4-6 hours Moderate Scenic, plentiful wildlife
Peekaboo 10 mi/ 16.5km 5-6 hours Strenuous Scenic views, petroglyphs
Lower Lake Red Canyon 18.8 mi/ 30km Overnight Strenuous Elephant Hill, Colorado River
Salt Creek Canyon 45 mi/ 68km Overnight Strenuous Cathedral Butte, arches
Slickrock Trail 2.4 mi/ 4 km 2-3 hours Easy Slickrock, panoramic view

Nature & Science

Canyonlands National Park preserves one of the last, relatively undisturbed areas of the Colorado Plateau, a geological province that encompasses much of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Carved out of vast sedimentary rock deposits, this landscape of canyons, mesas, and deep river gorges possesses remarkable natural features that are part of a unique desert ecosystem.

The foundation of Canyonlands' ecology is its remarkable geology, which is visible everywhere in cliff profiles that reveal millions of years of deposition and erosion. These rock layers continue to shape life in Canyonlands today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains.

Known as a "high desert," with elevations ranging from 3,700 to 7,200 feet above sea level, Canyonlands experiences very hot summers, cold winters and less than ten inches of rain each year. Even on a daily basis, temperatures may fluctuate as much as 50 degrees.

The plants and animals in Canyonlands have many adaptations that enable them to survive these conditions. Some species are found only in this area. The diversity of organisms reflects the variety of available habitat, which includes lush riparian areas, swift rivers, ephemeral pools, dry arroyos, mixed grasslands and large expanses of bare rock.

 

History & Culture

People have visited what is now Canyonlands National Park for over 10,000 years. Over time, many different groups have moved in and out of the area in concert with the availability of natural resources and the technology for exploiting those resources.

 

Preserve Your Heritage

Cultural sites and artifacts are irreplaceable. Please observe the following guidelines when visiting sites in Canyonlands and other National Parks.

View sites from a distance. Ancient walls crumble easily. Never enter structures or human-made enclosures as your movements may damage the foundation or other structural elements.

Leave things where they lie. Resist the temptation to collect artifacts and allow future visitors the joy of discovery. Also, archeologists can determine a great deal from the presence and location of artifacts.

Enjoy rock art with your eyes only. Pictographs and petroglyphs should not be touched as the oils in human skin will destroy them. Never spoil cultural sites or natural features with modern graffiti.

Contact Information

Island in the Sky Visitor Info
8:00am–4:30pm Daily
Closed Christmas Day
Needles Visitor Center
8:00am–4:30pm Daily
Closed Christmas Day
Maze Ranger Station
8:00am–4:30pm Daily
Closed Christmas Day

Information on Canyonlands National Park courtesy of the National Park Service.

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