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Whale Rock Trail

Whale Rock is a rounded, eroded sandstone fin that is fun to climb. Handrails are provided to help people reach the top, where you are rewarded with impressive views out over Upheaval Dome. Many people enjoy free climbing the rock, bypassing the handrails.

Trail Head: 38.4268, -109.914
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 1 mile round-trip
Difficulty: Easy


The trailhead is located near the end of the Upheaval Dome Road, in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. From the trailhead you can see the rock, which does somewhat resemble a beached whale.

Base of Whale Rock

Follow the wide, sandy trail to the eastern edge of Whale Rock. From there you will see the recommended route up the rock, using the handrails. You'll also see that people have walked along the base of the rock, looking for spots where they can climb to the top.

Viewpoint on Rock

The rock is rounded, but it is easy to walk along the top. The best views are found about half-way along the rock, but you can continue along the top to the western edge.

When you are ready to return, just retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

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