The most commonly visited part of Canyonlands National Park is Island in the Sky because it is close to Moab and Arches National Park. We spent a day there exploring and doing some fun new hikes and loved every minute of it. The next day, we went down to The Needles part of Canyonlands and had a lot of fun there too! Today I am sharing about Island in the Sky and next week I will cover The Needles. I will also be sharing more about places like Newspaper Rock, Wilson Arch, Hole N’ The Rock, and a few other places you can stop on the way to have a whole day of fun and adventure.
Ideas for what to take with you:
- light jackets
- water (lots of water)
- a cooler with food for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) depending on when you are going and how long you will be there. We took lunch supplies and had food “on the go” so we could keep exploring.
- charger for phone
- GPS directions downloaded (there is very little if any signal out there) You will get a map of Canyonlands but not until you get to the park entrance (about 20 miles from Highway 191).
All of the places below are easy and great for families of all ages. We also have pictures of our trip and the places we stopped. I have titled all of them so you know what is where. These are the most Instagram worthy spots in the park! There are a few more hikes I didn’t list because they were several miles long. You can always research the hikes and other things available in the park at https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/hiking.htm
Before you actually get into Canyonlands, you will be able to stop at the Monitor and Merrimac Buttes viewpoint – this is very cool and only takes a few minutes. You can also do a little side trip and go see Dead Horse Point State Park. I HIGHLY RECRECOMMEND this! It is so beautiful. It is very similar to Horseshoe Bend in Arizona.
How to spend 1 day at Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky:
- Island in the Sky Visitors Center
- These are always fun to stop at and look around. If you have kids, be sure to get the books for the Junior Ranger Program. They also have souvenirs for a great price in the visitor centers at all the National and State Parks.
- Whale Rock
- Upheaval Dome
- Holeman Spring Canyon Overlook
- Green River Overlook
- Short paved path to a vista point overlooking a vast plateau deeply chiseled by the Green River.
- Buck Canyon Overlook
- Mesa Arch
- Mesa Arch is a spectacular arch perched on a cliff edge. You can get views of the White Rim Road, canyons, and the distant La Sal Mountains. Mesa Arch is a popular spot for sunrise photographers, but it’s an excellent visit any time of day.
- Grand View Point Overlook
Island in the Sky – Canyonlands National Park
GREEN RIVER OVERLOOK
BUCK CANYON OVERLOOK
GRAND VIEW POINT OVERLOOK
Monitor and Merrimac Buttes
We had so much fun spending a day here. We actually were in and out of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point state park in about 7 hours (and that included waiting about 30 minutes to get into Canyonlands). So if you head out early you can spend the afternoon/evening doing a couple of other things like we did!
I will be including more details about these later, but you can drive down Pot Ash Road (there are petroglyphs, dinosaur prints, rock climbers, etc on the west side, or hikes and arch viewpoints on the east), hike Corona Arch, explore downtown Moab, walk across the bridge at Lions Park, see the Courthouse Wash Rock Art, and so much more!
Here are more posts about what you can do in the area:
Double Arch Arches National Park
Sand Dune Arch Arches National Park
Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers – Arches National Park
The Windows Arches National Park
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Balanced Rock Arches National Park Utah
Have you been to this area before? What is your favorite place to visit?
Here are a couple of pins you can choose from if you want to save this for later!