Surrounded by Sandstone
Red Cliffs Lodge
The whole park is a redrock woodcut engraved by wind’s and water’s big, slow chisels. The Green and Colorado Rivers trisect the Colorado Plateau, etching Canyonlands into distinct districts. The mesas you see at Island in the Sky look like a mountain range lopped off by a broadsword. The Maze is gorges, gorgeously gouged. Needles is a pincushion, pointy-sides-out. Chopped buttes, scored sediment and carved petroglyphs. Lots of sculpting, scraping and dividing asunder. Read more...
Most people visiting Canyonlands drive to Moab, Utah, and then explore the Park's Island in the Ski District or Needles District. Access to those areas is relatively easy, as described below. The Maze District and Horseshoe Canyon are not accessible from Moab.
No form of public transportation serves any part of Canyonlands National Park.
Access is via Utah Hwy 313. From Moab, drive north on US 191 for about 9.75 miles to the signed junction with Hwy 313. Drive west on 313 toward Dead Horse Point State Utah Park. Instead of following 313 south into the park, follow the signs west into Canyonlands.
Access is via Route 211, which intersects Hwy 191 about 37.5 miles south of Moab. From 191, turn west onto Route 211 and follow it into the Park.
Access is via the Flint Trail, a rugged four-wheel drive route. You can get on the trail from Hwy 95 near Hite on Lake Powell, or from Hwy 24 via Hans Flat; the Hwy 24 turnoff is located north of Hanksville. Get a good map and detailed information before attempting to explore this area.
Most start here, the district closest to Moab. Park and gawk at the Grand View Point turnoff, or take the easy two-mile hike for even more perspective. Mesa Arch is also quick & pretty. The 100-mile White Rim Road is famous among 4WDrivers, motorcyclists and mountain bikers. It’s fairly intensive, so whether you’re spending a few days doing the whole thing or tackling a section on a day trip, you’ll need a permit. Check road conditions at the visitor center and make sure you’re properly equipped.
Southeast of the Colorado River, Needles holds a hundred stunning hikes and world-class off-roading. Plenty to see on day hikes (Pothole Point, Cave Springs) or drive and camp a few days for even more (Chesler Park Loop). Research the roads, reserve your park permits, tune up your 4WD and cut as deep into the Canyonlands map as you dare.
The (wild) west district. Don’t go here. It’s too remote and you’re not tough enough. And it’s too beautiful to tolerate (see: Doll house; Maze Overlook). Okay, fine. If you insist. But take extra water, extra gas, sensible shoes, a GPS and a topo map of Canyonlands. Your phone can’t save you here.
In Canyonlands National Park, Utah goes wild. All of the above, plus gnarly whitewater at Cataract Canyon, life-size petroglyphs and pictographs at the Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, and permit-only camping, off-roading, hiking and rafting. Sleeping in true, silent darkness.