Canyonlands National Park is located just a short drive from Arches National Park. If you plan to visit Arches, Canyonlands is an easy add-on to your trip. Canyonlands is maybe one of the most unknown National Parks to many people. Despite this, it has a diverse landscape with trails that can keep you entertained for weeks if you have the time.
White Rim Road
My husband wanted to tackle this trail by vehicle for almost a decade. After finally accomplishing the feat, I can see why he had this on his bucket list. This 100-mile dirt trail takes you for the journey of a lifetime inside the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands.
The trail will show you low valleys near the river, as well as tall cliffs with your vehicle mere feet from a drop-off. If you attempt this trail, you must be self-sustaining. Bring your own water, spare tire, emergency kit, and more. The park’s website does an excellent job at outlining what you will need. Due to how remote this trail is, there is no help nearby. But that is what makes it so special. You will have an experience that most people will never get to encounter.
Our journey was two nights on the trail. I would plan for two nights minimum, preferably three. We felt slightly rushed due to us wanting to stop every 5 minutes to take pictures. You will want to stop frequently….and you should. These views are not available anywhere else. Book your sites and obtain your permit months in advance!
Island in the Sky
There are three districts in Canyonlands National Park. The Maze and Needles are the most remote and therefore the least visited. Island in the Sky is the most accessible and close to Moab, Utah. Unless you have at least a week to visit the park, I suggest only visiting one of the districts and focusing your time to explore as much as you can. If time is limited and you are only visiting because you came to Arches, Island in the Sky is your best option.
You truly do feel like you are on an island in the sky once you reach a viewpoint and see multiple layers of canyons beneath you. If you have time for only one hike, do not miss the Grand View Point Overlook. If your day permits, swing by the nearby Dead Horse Point State Park which is located between the park and highway 191 in Moab.