Canyonlands Hiking Trails, National Park Hikes

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Hiking Trails

Hikers come to Canyonlands National Park for an opportunity to experience the seemingly endless number of scenic overlooks, strange stone spires, unique geological formations, and sweeping canyon vistas.

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  • Upheaval Dome Overlook trail is an easy 1.4 mile hike with a view of Upheaval Dome.
  • Grandview Trail is a 2 mile easy trail that boasts one of the best views in the park.
  • Druid Arch, Canyonlands answer to Stonehenge, is a 10 mile walk through Elephant Canyon.

Overview

Canyonlands National Park is a hikers Mecca as virtually everywhere you go there is terrain to be explored. From sweeping views of the vast sandstone canyons, to scenic overlooks of the Green and Colorado Rivers, and unique rock formations unlike anywhere else in the world, virtually anyone can find a trail they’ll enjoy in Canyonlands.

Most of the shorter, more popular day hikes are found in the Island in the Sky District. The Needles is the most developed area, but much of the terrain is only accessible via extended walks. Due to the remoteness of the Maze, most of the terrain is only accessible via backpacking trips.

Druid Arch
Trail Overview: Canyonlands answer to Stonehenge, this scenic trail begins by cresting Elephant Hill and then dropping down into Elephant Canyon. At the end, visitors get a chance to see Druid Arch, a large stone monolith similar in construction to its famous cousins at Stonhenge.
Trailhead: The arch is accessible via several routes, but the most popular hike begins at the Elephant Hill trailhead. 

  • Distance:10.8 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 6-7 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Trail Type Out and back

Grand View Trail
Trail Overview: This trail is a perfect introduction to Canyonlands Hiking. The walk is short, so it’s great with kids or seniors, and the pay-off in views is worth every step. You’ll get sweeping views of Monument Basin, White Rim Canyon, and Junction Butte.
Trailhead: The trailhead is located at the Grandview Overlook, 13 miles south of the Island in the Sky Visitors Center. 

  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 1 hour
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Out and back

Confluence Overlook
Trail Overview: Though the hike is difficult, the pay-off in views in more than worth the trek. Located in the Needles district of the park, this hike treats visitors to a scenic tour of Big Springs Canyon, and a scenic overlook of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.
Trailhead: From the Needles Entrance, drive 6.6 miles and park at the end of the road. 

  • Distance: 11 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 5 -7 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal 
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trail Type: Out and back

White Rim Overlook
Trail Overview: This short trail begins from the picnic area parking lot, and ends at the end of the Island in the Sky Mesa. You’ll stand on the edge of a peninsula and enjoy one of the most impressive views anywhere in the park, with the main attraction being white rim canyon directly below you.
Trailhead: Head 11.2 miles south from the Island in the Sky visitors center, then turn left into the picnic area. 

  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 1 -2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Out and back

Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail
Trail Overview: Located in the Island of the Sky District, this short hike provides views of the Upheaval Dome, a strange geological formation consisting of a huge circular pit surrounded by rings of uplifted rock.
Trailhead: Drive south from the Island in the Sky visitors center for 6.4 miles, where you’ll turn right on Upheaval Dome Road, and continue for another 5 miles to the Upheaval Dome Picnic Area and Trailhead. 

  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Average Time of Hike: 1 hour
  • Elevation Gain: 100 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Type: Out and back

Plan & Prepare

  • Always carry a topographical map
  • Do not disturb the small rock piles next to the trails. They are called cairns and they mark the trail.
  • Pets are NOT allowed on any trails.
  • Bring plenty of water. The area is extremely dry and hot and water is only available at the visitor’s center.
  • Many of the remote trails may not be well marked or maintained.
  • Permits are required for any backcountry or overnight hiking.

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Grand Canyon Hikes

Hiking information for Grand Canyon National Park.