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Canyonlands National Park

  • 74Audio Points
  • LocationUtah, USA
  • Suggested TimeAllow 1+ Days
What to Expect

Canyonlands offers a vastly different experience even though it is only across the valley from the more famous Arches National Park. Starting in Moab, we travel to the Island in the Sky District exploring along Grand View Point Rd and Upheaval Dome Rd.

Enthusiastic photographers should get up early if they want to capture Canyonlands’ most famous image – sunrise through Mesa Arch.  If we start later in the day, arrange your time so you are still in the Park for a spectacular sunset.

Along the way we’ll examine perplexing elements at Upheaval Dome and how this has led to two different theories behind Utah’s “belly button”.

A view to the Merrimac and Monitor Buttes will have you imagining them as the American Civil War armor plated ships, or ironclads, that they resemble. Gaze down into the depths at Green River Outlook carved by the unrelenting Colorado and Green Rivers. 

Those fit and properly prepared should hike the Aztec Butte Trail to view ancestral Puebloan structures called granaries.

For those with limited mobility Canyonlands offers many easily accessible scenic viewpoints, and each one adds to understanding how this is an island in the sky.

Listen to the Tour Intro
  • Aztec Butte
  • Grand View Point
  • Green River Overlook
  • Merrimac and Monitor Buttes
  • Mesa Arch
  • Upheaval Dome

Suggested Start Location

Start in Moab. If arriving directly from the north, turn from 191 onto 313 to join the commentary on the way to Canyonlands Park entrance.

Suggested Time

Allow a minimum 1/2 day to a full day to enjoy the main sights along the drive and more time if you plan on hiking.

Driving Distance

Approx 75 miles return


Can you drive through Canyonlands?

Yes.  The 34 mile (round trip) Island in the Sky scenic drive provides easy access to viewpoints to gaze down into the ragged canyons. 

Other areas of the Park including Needles and The Maze are more remote or backcountry and require 4×4 vehicles and some technical experience.

How much time do you need to see Canyonlands?

Allow a minimum 1/2 day to a full day to enjoy the main sights along the drive and more time if you plan on hiking.

Is the commentary the same as in the Arches Canyonlands Combo tour?

Yes. If you plan to visit both Parks, the the Combo tour is the best value.

Is the Needles area included in the tour?

No. The tour for Canyonlands National Park covers the Island in the Sky portion of the Park, and this is the section that has the most things to see. The Needles part is worth visiting, but the entrance to this small area is located 60 miles south of Moab.

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